A PROJECT from South Australia has been recognised for forging ties between indigenous and medical research communities for better health outcomes in aboriginal Australians.
A National Award in Indigenous Health Ethics was presented to the joint project between the Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia and the Wardliparingga Aboriginal Research Unit within the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI).
The winning project is entitled “Next Steps for Aboriginal Health Research: How research can improve the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal people in South Australia.”
The tarrn doon nonin award – meaning ‘trust’ in the Woiwurrung language of central Victoria – comes from the Lowitja Institute, Australia’s National Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Health Research. The award recognizes excellence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research ethics, and provides $10 000 towards project research funds.
"Research into health and wellbeing needs to be driven by and involve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people."
Dr Rosie King from the Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia said the philosophy underpinning the project was founded quite simply on asking the South Australian Aboriginal community what they thought research should focus on.
“People told us they want research to focus on their everyday health and wellbeing needs, but importantly they also want approaches that respect and engage with a view of life that is holistic and interconnected with cultural, spiritual, social and physical needs across the lifespan,” she said.
“Research into health and wellbeing needs to be driven by and involve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and provide a tangible benefit back to community and to develop an understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander resilience, diversity and community needs.”
The winning project was informed by an historic accord for negotiated health outcomes between indigenous South Australians and medical health researchers, launched at SAHMRI in 2014.
SAHMRI also recently published details of its exemplar Closing the Gap health project ESSENCE to address cardiovascular health in indigenous Australians based on a foundation of evidence and standards for equitable care.
Kim Morey, the manager for Knowledge Transition and Exchange in SAHMRI's Aboriginal Research Unit, said that SAHMRI was thrilled to be recognised for the project.
"SAHMRI was most excited about this first partnership with ACHSA on the Next Steps project because it developed Aboriginal Community driven research priorities. SAHMRI welcomes recognition for Next Steps project, which refocuses the research agenda so that those issues most important to South Australian Aboriginal Communities begin to receive the attention that they deserve. Moreover, the majority of the researchers on the Next Steps team are Aboriginal."
The online resource EthicsHub was also launched at the Indigenous Health Ethics award ceremony. This initiative will support individuals and organisations working or participating in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research.
The award coincided with National Close the Gap Day.