Indigenous Research Network
Mr Greg Pratt (Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health Research Manager at Queensland Institute of Medical Research Berghofer) presenting on Genomics Partnerships: Engagement for Community
On 27 and 28 February, the first Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research Showcase took place in Adelaide. Mr Greg Pratt, Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health Research Manager at QIMR Berghofer (BDHP Partner) and Ms Jennifer Kallie, BDHP Project Officer represented BDHP at the event.
Hosted by Health Translation South Australia and held at the South Australian Academic Health Science and Translation Centre building, the Showcase welcomed more than 180 people. They gathered to hear from, and be inspired by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers and to discover recent and current research projects.
Jennifer Kallie explained the clear message delivered throughout the event was that Indigenous Australian health is holistic. “It is not just the physical wellbeing of an individual, but is inclusive of the social, emotional and cultural wellbeing of the whole community,” she said.
“This means research requires appropriate engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities, acknowledgement of traditional healing and medicine, respect for cultural practices and cultural learning, and it must be ethical and community-driven.
“It was also clear that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers continue to feel they lack support and respect for the centrality of their culture, and that they mostly do not experience culturally-secure environments in which to develop the unique skills they need to bridge culture and science,” Ms Kallie said.
The Showcase was an outcome of the Indigenous Research Network (IRNet). IRNet was formed by the Working Group for the Australian Health Research Alliance’s Indigenous Research Network and Capacity Building initiative. BHDP and other AHRA members provide financial and in-kind support to this national system level initiative.
The IRNet has three priorities:
- Progress and strengthen a robust Indigenous Research Network
- Invest and develop the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce
- Enhance Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research capabilities.
The 2019-2021 IRNet Action Plan articulates the strategic actions required to achieve these priorities. One of the actions was to facilitate and coordinate an annual national showcase of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health research projects.
The Indigenous Research Network and Capacity Building initiative illustrates AHRA and the Australian Department of Health’s commitment to prioritising the voices and needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in research and research translation. It also acknowledges that building capacity and capability is essential to reducing the gap in health status and life expectancy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people compared to non-Indigenous Australians.