Description of the artwork
NHMRC is committed to improving the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This commitment covers all aspects of NHMRC's responsibilities: pursuing activities which raise the standard of individual and public health throughout Australia, fostering the development of consistent health standards between the states and territories, supporting medical and public health research and training and promoting consideration of ethical issues related to health.
NHMRC’s long standing commitment to improve the health of Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders through the support of health research and its translation is set out as a priority in each year’s Corporate Plan.
As part of its strategic approach the NHMRC has developed Road Map II: A strategic framework for improving the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through research. Launched in June 2010, Road Map II focuses on seven action areas aimed at building capacity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers and investing in research that addresses issues of importance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The seven action areas are:
- Improving the participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in NHMRC programs
- Capacity exchange
- Promotion of NHMRC’s role in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health
- Close the Gap
- Evaluation research
- Intervention research
- Priority-driven research.
In line with this, the NHMRC commits to spending at least 5% of funding under the Medical Research Endowment Fund on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health each year.
- Road Map II: A strategic framework for improving the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through research
In 2016, the NHMRC commenced the development of Road Map 3, providing an opportunity to update the strategic framework from the previous Roadmaps, and look at NHMRC investments and activities to improve the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
In developing Road Map 3 NHMRC will seek community engagement and feedback through various consultations including stakeholder consultations, national workshops and public consultation.
Research Translation in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health
NHMRC Translating Research into Policy and Practice (TRIPP) Forum
On 17 May 2016, NHMRC held a forum bringing key researchers and stakeholders together to discuss research translation in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. This looked to identify evidence practice and policy gaps, effectiveness of interventions and other health questions relevant to Indigenous Australians. Advice was provided to the CEO on appropriate courses of action.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research Funding
There has been a steady increase in the proportion of NHMRC funds spent on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research. In 2016, expenditure was 6.3% of the MREA, or approximately $52 million.
Summary of Expenditure: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research
Funding for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, Medical Research and Researchers
NHMRC funds Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and medical research across all its funding schemes. In addition, it has established specific funding schemes to support research in priority areas and to build capacity in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.
Indigenous Advisory and Stakeholder Engagement
The NHMRC has established an advisory committee to seek advice on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and health research issues: Principal Committee Indigenous Caucus (PCIC).
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research Ethics
In implementing its mandate to foster consideration of ethical issues relating to health, NHMRC has undertaken specific activities to address concerns articulated by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in relation to the ethics of health research.
In 1991, the NHMRC developed the Interim Guidelines on Ethical Matters in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research. These were reviewed and in 2003 replaced by Values and Ethics: Guidelines for Ethical Conduct in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research. In 2005, NHMRC published Keeping research on track: a guide for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples about health research ethics.
In 2013, the NHMRC commenced its review of the Values and Ethics Guidelines to ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research is being conducted in an ethical and culturally safe and appropriate manner as to protect the health, safety and well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their communities.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Advice
NHMRC develops or endorses national guidelines and provides health advice to the Australian people and Government. It has implemented a number of initiatives that address health priority areas for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
- Strengthening Cardiac Rehabilitation and Secondary Prevention for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples – A guide for health professionals was endorsed by Council in September 2005.
- Australian Drinking Water Guidelines: Community Water Planner - A tool for small communities to develop drinking water management plans has been developed to support the implementation of the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines' management approach in small communities. It does this by assisting local drinking water managers to develop risk management plans tailored to their community.
- The Australian Clinical Practice Guidelines portal provides a single entry point for access to clinical practice guidelines developed for use in Australian health care settings. With over 2,400 documents, the search function can help to find Indigenous-specific guidelines.
On 11 June 2012, a tripartite agreement between NHMRC, Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC), and Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) was established. The aim of the agreement is to support research in the area of Indigenous health with the goal of improving the health of Indigenous peoples in these three countries. The Tripartite Agreement will provide the opportunity to develop a coordinated approach to sharing innovative best practices, information and expertise.
The NHMRC participated in a Mentorship Workshop with HRC and CIHR in Melbourne in May 2013 to identify effective ways to build capacity and mentor Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medical health researchers.
Capacity Building of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Researchers
National Forum – Research Excellence through Building Capacity of Indigenous Researchers
On 8 April 2014, NHMRC held a national forum to bring Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers and key stakeholders together to; develop a model to build and strengthen the capacity and research excellence of Indigenous health researchers; encourage applicants to apply to NHMRC schemes; and seek feedback on Chapter 3 of the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research.
Reconciliation Action Plan
The NHMRC has developed a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) in collaboration with Reconciliation Australia about turning good intentions into real actions and rising to the challenge of reconciling Australia. A RAP is a business plan that uses an holistic approach to create meaningful relationships, enhance respect and promote sustainable opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.