GabrielleM Dr Gabrielle McCallum

Menzies School of Health Research

Dr Gabrielle McCallum is a Senior Research Fellow, Clinical Nurse, and Program Leader of Menzies’ Child Health Respiratory team in Darwin. Having worked in the NT for the last several decades, Gabrielle’s passion is to improve the health and wellbeing of children through evidence-based research, culturally appropriate educational resources for First Nations families, and translating research findings into meaningful and culturally appropriate outcomes. Gabrielle’s work extends nationally and internationally to improve lung health outcomes for children.

Project Status: Completed 2020
Grant Type: Project Grant

Why was funding this research important?

In 2016, Asthma Australia provided funding to Dr Gabrielle McCallum at the Menzies School of Health Research for the development and evaluation of a culturally appropriate mobile app for Indigenous Australians.
This project followed on from Dr McCallum’s previous research, which found Indigenous carers of children hospitalised for a respiratory illness had poor respiratory health knowledge and use of educational flipcharts improved their knowledge. The community requested the information be provided in a digital format and with local language.

What did the researchers do?

The Menzies team adapted the current asthma flipcharts into a mobile application with voiceover in local Indigenous languages. The app includes interactive images, audio and quizzes. Currently there is voiceover in English and the following seven Indigenous languages; Tiwi, Murrinh Patha, Yolngu Matha, Kriol, Ptijantatjara, Western Arrente and Warlpiri

“The financial support from Asthma Australia not only enabled us to develop the Asthma App, but also employ a First Nations Nurse who was instrumental in leading this project. This funding has provided the platform to broaden the Asthma App to other First Nations languages, to reduce the language and context barriers often faced by First Nations people, particularly those who live in remote communities, or have limited access to specialist services.”      Dr Gabrielle McCallum

What was the outcome?

The app was evaluated with 80 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander carers from Darwin and Queensland. It found that knowledge of asthma significantly improved after using the asthma app, particularly how asthma is treated and the steps in asthma first aid. Carers found the language option novel and were overwhelmingly positive about the content and images used.

Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with seven Indigenous health professionals who described the app as an innovative and effective method of providing asthma education to culturally and linguistically diverse groups.

The asthma app will be integrated into the Menzies “Kids Lung Health App,” which will also include other lung conditions such as bronchiolitis, pneumonia bronchiectasis.

You can download the app for free from both Google Play and the Apple Store.

If you are interested in having your local Aboriginal and Torres Islander language included on the, please contact the Menzies team via email


Through our innovative, multi-lingual Asthma App, First Nations people can access important information about asthma in their home and at their own pace that is culturally appropriate. We are hopeful that the Asthma App will help support health professionals with up to date information on asthma, particularly those working in remote areas.” Dr Gabrielle McCallum