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Breaking the Barriers: Transformative Research and Knowledge Translation to improve Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing Roz Walker, Juli Coffin, Dawn Bessarab,

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Presentation on theme: "Breaking the Barriers: Transformative Research and Knowledge Translation to improve Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing Roz Walker, Juli Coffin, Dawn Bessarab,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Breaking the Barriers: Transformative Research and Knowledge Translation to improve Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing Roz Walker, Juli Coffin, Dawn Bessarab, Pat Dudgeon, Rhonda Marriott Centre for Research Excellence in Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing at the AITSIS Breaking the Barriers in Indigenous Research and Thinking: 50 years on March 2014

2 Outline of presentation CRE rationale aims and objectives CRE - who are we? - 10 Chief Investigators/CRE Coordinator Transformative Methodologies – Participant Action Research (PAR) – Decolonising methodologies and approaches Projects Findings and Challenges

3 CRE Rationale – Inadequate engagement with Aboriginal people, communities and organisations, resulting in unsustainable, inappropriate, ineffective services and programs (Silburn et al 2006); – Lack of understanding of the variability of human capability and community readiness in Aboriginal populations as a consequence of poverty, illness, incarceration, low self esteem, stolen generation trauma (Stanley 2008; Zubrick et al 2005); – Lack of commitment, understanding and capacity among mainstream services and staff; – Pervasive systemic, organisational and individual racism (Coffin 2007; Dudgeon 2009).

4 CREAHW – Who are we Professor Fiona Stanley, Winthrop Professor Dawn Bessarab, Associate Professor Juli Coffin, Professor Pat Dudgeon, Professor Sandra Eades, Dr Cheryl Kickett-Tucker, Professor Rhonda Marriott, Mr Glenn Pearson, Associate Professor Roz Walker Dr Michael Wright Ms Chrissie Easton – CREAHW Coordinator

5 Objectives of the CREAHW Generate new knowledge that leads to improved health outcomes Research and Knowledge Translation Ensure effective transfer of research outcomes into health policy and/or practice Design, develop, apply and evaluate new tools. Facilitate collaboration Advance the training of researchers, with a capacity for independent research and future leadership roles Develop, recruit, support and mentor Aboriginal and non- Aboriginal postgraduate students

6 Methodologies Aim to develop and apply decolonising Aboriginal research methodologies which: - encompass both qualitative and quantitative research methods - emphasise community engagement and partnerships, and stakeholder collaboration.

7 Methodologies Transformative /Decolonising Methods and Methodologies – CPAR /advocacy Martin Nakata Linda Tuhiwai Smith Lester Rigney, Battiste Central to the discussion regarding the development of a truly transformative research agenda is the process of decolonisation. For Aboriginal people ‘research is inextricably linked to European imperialism and colonialism' (Tuhiwai Smith,1999).

8 De-colonising research ‘decolonising research isn’t about a total rejection of Western theory research knowledge. It is about changing focus, centring our concerns and worldviews and coming to know and under-stand theory and research from our own perspectives and for our own purposes.’ taking colonization seriously changes antiracism in powerful ways. Within academia, antiracist theorists need to begin to make ongoing colonization central to the construction of knowledge about race and racism. They must learn to write, research and teach in ways that account for Indigenous realities as foundational’. Lawrence, B. & Dua, E. (2005).

9 The process of decolonization requires our continual efforts toward questioning and revealing hidden colonial influences in the past and current beliefs and practices, those of the haole (or foreigner) as well as those of our own Kanaka maoli (indigenous people), including our kapuna (elders), our ancestors, and ourselves. Julie Kaomea, Dilemmas of an Indigenous Academic

10 CREAHW Research Program The individual programs of research will contribute to the evidence base regarding strategies to: – address racism, – develop models of engagement of Aboriginal people, – build the capacity of policy providers and receivers, – increase the knowledge of the social determinants of health impacting of Aboriginal health and wellbeing, and, – the implementation methods and strategies to address them.

11 CPAR PAR emerged in the 1960s and 1970s in work addressing disadvantaged and marginalised (disenfanchised or voiceless) groups /communities in developing countries, increasingly taken up in research with Indigenous groups in colonised. A fundamental premise of PAR is that community members are able to identify and analyse their problems and determine their solutions and empowered to facilitate them. An additional underlying concept of the PAR states that solutions that are proposed by members of the community and negotiated by all parties concerned are more likely to be applied, compared with solutions imposed by authorities or by external agents.

12 Core elements of CPAR Research includes the active participation of the members of the community Issue being studied is identified by the community – ground up, Periodic communication of findings to the participants and group discussions, and interaction between participants and between researchers and participants.

13 Recognising cultural connections Much of our research is embedded in Aboriginal peoples’ deeply complex connections to family and kinship networks, culture, land, spirituality and holistic understandings of health. Research approach works from where the community is at. Applies Indigenous knowledge lens.

14 Indigenous understanding of health and well being Physical Social Emotional Cultural = SPIRITUAL

15 Establishing Partnerships With communities and with our Aboriginal colleagues who conduct aspects of the qualitative research collection Developing relationships within which to negotiate the values, conceptual frameworks, methodologies, and control of research, as well as for deciding issues of ownership and dissemination of knowledge. These partnerships require that Recognition, Relevance, Respect, and Reciprocity are valued by all parties and characteristics of the research practice.

16 Chief InvestigatorProject Dawn BessarabDeveloping a Family Assessment tool to include family in an individuals treatment program with Milliya Rumurra a Aboriginal community based rehabilitation centre for Alcohol and Drugs in Broome. Roz WalkerStrengthening Maternal and Child Health in the Pilbara Embedding cultural competence in the health sector Rhonda Marriott (FS JC & RW) Promoting positive perinatal mental health, parenting, cultural and spiritual wellbeing, and resilience in young Aboriginal parents residing in three locations in Western Australia. Cultural security of Aboriginal mothers birthing in urban maternity facilities and the cultural competency, workforce and education needs of midwives. Julie CoffinSKSS Bullying Prevention Project Extension: Formative Social Marketing Campaign (SKSSII) Cultural Security across the health sector Pat DudgeonNational Empowerment (Mental Health and social and emotional wellbeing and policy advocacy

17 Practical examples Research using a strength-based approach to support and enhance the protective elements of good family functioning Holistic programs that work to simultaneously to strengthen Aboriginal family functioning and address risk factors

18 Key Findings and Challenges Indigenous culture, social reality and living circumstances add a layer of complexity when considering the broader influences when doing research in Aboriginal communities Indigenous people live in very diverse situations and settings – urban, remote and isolated Aboriginal communities of Australia Strategies need to be context-specific and therefore need consideration of the local situation.

19 Key findings and challenges Working with multiple stakeholders and their different agendas (including territory) Navigating the community politics Keeping the community involved Working with funders and other personnel to understand the issues and to agree to context relevant/appropriate measures of success

20 Key research challenges Keeping the project focused; staying on track; managing competing expectations; once people in the community raise issues they want something done; managing different role/relationship expectations (what do you with some of the stories people share).

21 Challenges These partnership processes can also be ambiguous, arduous and time consuming to get it right when working with Aboriginal communities – a fact that many funding bodies, grant institutions and ethic committees often fail to grasp.

22 Challenges What do we do with the hard stuff- the moral/ethical dilemmas; Working out when to take up advocacy work

23 Where to from here? So the challenge and opportunities for all of us is to determine how can we work together in ways that are empowering – that support both cultural continuity, connection and strengthen the capacity and capability of individuals and communities

24 Questions? Contacts: Roz Walker: Dawn Bessarab: Chrissie Easton:


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