Professor Louise Maple-Brown Elected Fellow of AAHMS

Rebecca Krispin Uncategorised

A leader in the field of intergenerational diabetes among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

CRE HiPP is thrilled to congratulate Professor Louise Maple-Brown, on her wonderful achievement of being elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences (AAHMS). 

Professor Maple-Brown is one of 29 new Fellows welcomed into the AAHMS in October 2021. According to Academy President Professor Ingrid Scheffer, “Academy Fellows are elected by their peers for their outstanding and ongoing contributions to health and medical sciences…Our Fellowship encompasses the nation’s research and science leaders.”  

Professor Maple-Brown is Head of Endocrinology at the Royal Darwin Hospital, a Senior Principal Research Fellow with the Menzies School of Health Research, Chair of the NT Diabetes Network and an Associate Investigator with CRE HiPP.

“I’m incredibly honored and humbled to be recognised by my peers in this way. Becoming an AAHMS Fellow is a very high honour,” she said. 

“It’s an opportunity to advocate for my areas of passion around addressing inequities in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, and also in rural and remote health. 

“It’s also an opportunity to give back to the next generation. I was lucky enough to be a mentee on the Academy’s mentorship program, and ultimately I would like to give back as a mentor.” 

Professor Maple-Brown has lived in Darwin since 2002. After completing her endocrinology training and honing her interest in diabetes in Sydney, she moved to the Northern Territory (NT) to pursue her passion for improving the health of Indigenous Australians. 

“I wanted to get out of the city and out of the big institutions and ivory towers, and help contribute to closing the gap,” she said.

She was the first to identify and describe the intergenerational nature of the diabetes epidemic among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, and pioneered the national response, including establishing clinical registers, defining research priorities and building capacity in health systems.

Professor Maple-Brown has established and grown a Darwin-based research program titled the Diabetes Across the Lifecourse: Northern Australian Partnership. This program is the first and largest Australian partnership between researchers, policy makers and health services on intergenerational diabetes, and the largest such program globally for First Nations people. 

The program, which now has 36 staff, students and early-career researchers, aims to improve the health and wellbeing of people in the NT and Far North Queensland (FNQ). It works to grow and share knowledge about diabetes, strengthen care and services for people with diabetes, and develop prevention strategies. 

Given the intergenerational cycle of diabetes, Professor Maple-Brown’s research spans populations of all ages. This includes mothers before, during and after pregnancy, children and communities as a whole.

Current research projects under her guidance include a groundbreaking study by Dr Angela Titmuss, which shows alarming rates of early-onset type 2 diabetes among young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. 

Through CRE HiPP she is also overseeing the research of Dr Diana MacKay and Dr Anna Wood, who are both working on improving health outcomes around diabetes in pregnancy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

In addition, she has been providing clinical diabetes services to urban and remote NT communities for the past 19 years, and is a wife and mother to two teenagers.

When asked how she manages to fit it all in, Professor Maple-Brown laughed and said “I do wonder myself.

“I am very lucky to have a very supportive husband who manages our home and family life. I also have an amazing team around me, and fantastic mentors.”

Professor Maple-Brown has certainly made outstanding contributions in both clinical impact, research and leadership in her field. We heartily congratulate her on this latest achievement, and look forward to the fruits of her ongoing partnership with CRE HiPP!