Guy Cameron

PhD, Bbiomedsci(hons), Bmedsci

Research our way, video and strategy now live!

May 06, 2024

I am thrilled to share a landmark development in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research, a passion close to my heart and central to my work as part of the Wakal Yabang Aboriginal Health Research Community Panel. Recently, we launched our 'Research Our Way' strategy, an initiative poised to transform how health research is conducted in our communities across the Hunter, New England, and Central Coast Regions.
This innovative strategy is more than just a research guideline; it's a new ethos for conducting health research. 'Research Our Way' ensures that our communities are not merely subjects of research but active directors of the studies affecting their health. It's about empowering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to have a say on who conducts research, what it's about, and how information is used and stored.

Our approach flips the traditional power dynamics in research. For too long, decisions about research in Indigenous health have been made from the top down. Now, we are ensuring that power rests with the community. The strategy outlines that all research projects must receive approval from our Aboriginal Health Research Community Panel before they begin. This panel, which I am proud to be part of, comprises local Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander members who bring a wealth of cultural and community expertise. Our role is to ensure that any research is ethically sound, culturally appropriate, and, above all, beneficial to our people.

The Office of Indigenous Strategy and Leadership at the University of Newcastle has been instrumental in piloting this strategy. Their commitment, along with contributions from Awabakal Limited, the Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI), and the Hunter New England Local Health District, has set a new standard for collaborative health research. This strategy not only respects but prioritises our cultural knowledge and understanding, integrating it seamlessly into scientific inquiry.

Our first engagement sessions with community members and top medical bodies have been filled with vigorous discussions and insightful exchanges. The energy is palpable, and the commitment to this cause is unanimous. We are all driven by a shared goal: to see tangible improvements in the health outcomes of our communities.

This strategy is dynamic and evolving, reflecting the needs and aspirations of our communities. It's a living document, a testament to our ongoing collaboration and commitment to not only keep pace with changes but to lead them.

I am incredibly hopeful and excited about what 'Research Our Way' will achieve. It marks a significant shift towards a more inclusive and respectful way of conducting research, where the benefits genuinely flow back to the communities that need them most. As we move forward, I am committed to ensuring that this strategy remains robust and responsive, truly embodying the principle of 'nothing about us without us'.

As we continue to advance this crucial work, I look forward to updating you on our progress and the positive changes we are driving in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research.


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