S BATEMAN1,2, O PEARSON3, K O’DONNELL1, K OWEN2, N SINCLAIR2, R TSETSAKOS2, I WILLIAMSON2, S MCDONALD1,2,5, S JESUDASON1,2,4, J KELLY1
1University Of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia, 2Central and Northern Adelaide Renal and Transplanation Service, Adelaide, Australia, 3Wardliparingga Aboriginal Research Unit, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, Adelaide, Australia, 4Kidney Health Australia, Adelaide, Australia, 5Australia and New Zealand Dialysis and Transplant Registry, Adelaide, Australia
Aim: For many researchers, achieving meaningful and respectful engagement and consultation with Indigenous communities is perceived as a barrier. This work aims to provide a guide to achieving meaningful community engagement and co-creating partnerships that reposition and value community members knowledge(s) and lived experiences to strengthen relationships, research processes and outputs.
Background: Indigenous Australians have the oldest continuous culture in the world, yet due to past and ongoing colonisation, experience some of the world’s worst health outcomes. Research ‘on’ Indigenous Australians has too often been unethical and exploitative. To change this landscape and improve health outcomes for Indigenous Australians, researchers must work alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and be committed to think beyond the biomedical view of health research.
Methodology and Results: Using Indigenous methodologies of Ganma and Dadirri within community-based participatory action research (PAR), an engaged core advisory group of Aboriginal people with lived experiences of kidney disease worked in consultation with the research team to co-create a series of community consultation workshops. The result was the creation of brave spaces that valued Indigenous time and knowledge and supported community participants. Critical self-reflection by non-Indigenous researchers was actively encouraged. From this, community members have come together to form a reference group, establish partnerships with the research team and influence health research, policy and service provision.
Conclusions: Meaningful consultation with Indigenous communities enriches and values the generation of knowledge(s) and guides research processes in culturally safe ways. Deeply respectful community engagement through collaborative, community-based PAR and co-creation can result in lasting positive impacts that strengthen the working relationships between community members, health care professionals and academics.
Dr Samantha Bateman in a nephrologist at the Central and Northern Adelaide Renal and Transplantation Service. She is a PhD candidate researching the Benefits and Burdens of Kidney Transplantation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people through the University of Adelaide. Sam has worked and studied in rural and remote communities across Australia from the Western Dessert of WA to Far North Queensland. With her research, Sam hopes to improve access to and outcomes of kidney transplantation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as this is an area, identified by the community, to be of significant need.