20 new research projects transform Indigenous health research in Australia

Lowitja Institute, Australia’s national institute for community controlled Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research, has unveiled a landmark program of 20 new research grants that changes the way Indigenous health research is done in Australia.

Lowitja Institute CEO Dr Janine Mohamed said the $4.32 million 2021-2024 Lowitja Institute Research Program delivers research that is truly community-led, culturally-safe and self-determined and puts the cultural determinants of health at the heart of each project.

“Last year, Lowitja Institute fulfilled our long-held vision of becoming an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community controlled organisation, allowing us to throw of the shackles of the old Cooperative Research Centres framework which had always required us to partner only with established research institutions,” Dr Mohamed said.

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“Being community controlled allows us to privilege our mob when it comes to allocating research funds. It means we can ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people drive our research agenda and that we do the research our people want and need.”

The 2021-2024 Lowitja Institute Research Projects range from the world acclaimed Melbourne-based Short Black Opera to a focus on aged care in the Torres Strait and on children by the Marinwarntikura Women’s Resource Centre in Fitzroy Crossing.

Projects will also explore the health impacts of out-of-home care and Indigenous community radio, and map Rainbow Mob cultures, knowledges, and experiences.

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“The program funds research that is not only diverse geographically but across age groups and the social and cultural determinants of health, and it has important systems reform on the agenda, including through health care delivery and data,” Dr Mohamed said.

Most importantly, the 20 projects are all designed and led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and deeply embedded in community and community outcomes.

“For too long, Indigenous health research in Australia was on and about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, not by and for us,” Dr Mohamed said.

“Lowitja Institute has always sought to disrupt that paradigm, and this Research Grant program turns it on its head.”

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See the full list of program recipients and their project outlines below and visit Lowitja.org.au/current-projects for full information.