27 March 2015 | General Interest
The Lowitja Institute has reaffirmed its commitment to promoting the importance of research ethics by awarding the Tarrn doon nonin ethics award and launching the newly developed EthicsHub website.
Australia’s national institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research made the announcements on national Close The Gap day, 19 March.
The inaugural Tarrn doon nonin award for Excellence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research ethics was awarded to the Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia (AHCSA) project Next Steps for Aboriginal Health Research: How research can improve the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal People in South Australia.
Tarrn doon nonin, which means “trust” in Woiwurrung language, comes with a $10,000 grant from the Lowitja Institute which can be used to further the winning project.
The Lowitja Institute CEO Romlie Mokak said, “The Lowitja Institute believes there is no point in doing research into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health unless it involves our people at every step along the way, and that we have a voice throughout the process. At the heart of health research ethics is listening. This ‘ground-up’ approach has been the underlying philosophy that has driven us from the very start.”
The winning AHCSA project was conducted in partnership with the Wardliparingga Aboriginal Research Unit within the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute. AHCSA researcher Dr Rosie King, representing the project, praised the scope of the new award, echoing the sentiments of Mr Mokak.
“By asking the South Australian Aboriginal community what they thought research should focus on, we learned a lot about their health needs and about their view of life and community,” Dr King said. “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. Other essential messages from the ‘Next Steps’ project were that 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 Lowitja Insititute also launched a new online resource that aims to support people and organisations working or participating in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research.
The EthicsHub will provide guidance for researchers, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, supervisors, students, ethics committees – anyone involved in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research.
Built on previous work undertaken by the Lowitja Institute, the EthicsHub will allow new researchers engaging with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health to be well informed of the principles and ethics of working in this space.
The newly developed website provides access to a range of valuable guidelines, contacts, case studies, and additional resources, along with a wealth of additional useful information.