Privileging Aboriginal voices in infectious disease emergencies

What does this project mean for future pandemics?

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people account for 3% of Australia’s population yet continue to experience much higher rates of mortality and hospitalisation from infectious diseases than any other population group.
  • This project will provide some of the answers about “how” to improve equity and reduce the risk of infections during public health emergencies through meaningful and respectful engagement and two-way communication with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
  • The research will deliver a process that can be used by Commonwealth and state health departments and regional communities to consider public health emergencies in addition to pandemic influenza.

Project details

Central to the research is what some Elders have said to us: “If you get the process right, the outcomes look after themselves…”

The hypothesis underpinning this research is that the risk of harm from infectious disease emergencies can be reduced with Aboriginal people through self-determination, empowerment and the development of culturally appropriate family-based policy and practice.

The aims of this research are:

  • To explore understandings of ‘family’ within an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander context and how this understanding can inform infectious disease emergency strategies.
  • To design and evaluate a cultural governance structure that privileges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices and recognises the importance of families, to effect system change in infectious disease emergencies.

Related Broad Research Areas