Research into the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people has often been accused of being too observational and deficit-focused, with a dearth of interventional studies. Ten years ago, when the MJA editors were reviewing the Journal’s coverage of the topic, we even considered putting a moratorium on publishing the many observational studies that were crossing our desks.

In the past few years, the concept of closing the gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians has galvanised thinking in the area. Coming as it did from Indigenous leaders, and rapidly gaining widespread support, this movement has provided a much needed focus for all Australians. But as time has moved on, it has become increasingly obvious that we need to better understand the contributors to the gap in order to close it.