Transforming Lives and Regions

 Caring for Community banner 650 by 215 REVISED

Caring For Community

The Project

Indigenous Health Research Coalition Project 300 by 200

This project was awarded strategic funding in 2013 which was used to build research networks to engage key stakeholders in the Aboriginal Community. This resulted in the delivery of a successful workshop representing 12 regional Indigenous organisations and community leaders about research collaboration opportunities around the theme of Caring for the Community. The workshop included an in-depth discussion about social, health and economic disadvantage experienced by the Aboriginal community in the Illawarra.

The workshop resulted in the development of a detailed report entitled "Illawarra Aboriginal Community Profile: a snapshot of an urban Aboriginal community". It identified numerous examples of Indigenous led, or Indigenous community controlled organisations or initiatives that have been running successfully in the local area for more than 30 years.

In 2014 the project received further Global Challenges funding to explore how Aboriginal community organisations and leaders can build sustainable and resiliency strategies to help improve health and wellbeing in the face of complex and challenging social health programs and a climate of policy change. A key goal of this research will be to document processes, impacts and outcomes in order to develop an evidence-base around successful local initiatives, programs and projects.

There are a total of 10,763 Aboriginal people in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven region, constituting 2.9% of the total Illawarra population (388,424) across Wollongong, Shellharbour, Kiama and Shoalhaven. Sixty per cent of Aboriginal residents (6,445) live in the Illawarra region and forty per cent live in the Shoalhaven (4,318). They typically live in locations with entrenched high levels of social disadvantage, and experience high levels of employment, lower incomes, poorer educational outcomes and significantly worse health outcomes and access to services which are representative of other urban Aboriginal populations. 

Artist: Kevin (Kev) Butler 2015 

Project Outcomes and Publications 

 Illawarra Aboriginal Community Profile - April 2016  

The Researchers

This project brings together Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal researchers from four faculties within the University.Indigenous Health Research Coalition Researchers 300 by 200

Chief Investigator: Prof Kathleen Clapham, Australian Health Services Research Institute, Faculty of Business. Prof Clapham is an Aboriginal Anthropologist with research expertise in: social determinants of health; Indigenous injury prevention; Indigenous child health and resilience. Kathleen will provide overall leadership and connect Aboriginal research students to the National Indigenous Research and Knowledges Network (NIRAKN).

Mr Scott Winch, Academic Leader: Indigenous Health, School of Medicine, Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health. Mr Winch is an Aboriginal academic with a Masters in Applied Epidemiology and a PhD Candidate. His expertise is in Indigenous health, education, social determinants, health services development. Scott will contribute to the quantitative component of the mixed methods study and provide leadership in developing collaborative links with the key local organisations (including the IKMSG)

Darcelle Wu, Research Assistant. Darcelle works on research projects in Indigenous health and wellbeing.

Professor Valerie Harwood, School of Education, Faculty of Social Sciences. Prof Harwood has a PhD in Education with research expertise in Sociology of Education. She will contribute to the qualitative components of the mixed methods study, publications and with the capacity building program. Her research focuses on education and social inclusion. She is currently involved in a research partnership with the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME) and an ARC Future Fellowship investigating how to promote educational futures in early childhood.

Dr Peter Kelly, School of Psychology, Faculty of Social Sciences. Dr Kelly is a Clinical Psychologist with research experience in mental health & substance abuse treatment, prevention of cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Peter will contribute to the quantitative component of the study and publication.
study and publication.

Professor Paul Chandler, School of Education, Faculty of Social Sciences and Pro Vice-Chancellor (inclusion & outreach). Prof Chandler is a senior Aboriginal academic with expertise in Indigenous education, early childhood development & cognitive development. Paul will advise on the design & conduct of the research.

Associate Professor Kate Senior, School of Health and Society in the Faculty of Social Sciences. Assoc Prof Senior is an Anthropologist with extensive experience and expertise in social determinants of health, Indigenous health, sexual heath, adolescent heath, ethnography. Kate will contribute to the qualitative components of the study, publication and research capacity building.

Mr Dave Kampers, Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts. Mr Kampers is an Aboriginal Academic, lecturer in Indigenous Health and PhD Candidate with expertise in Indigenous men's health and leadership. He will contribute to fieldwork, data collection and analysis.

Associate Professor Bronwyn Carlson, School of Humanities and Social Inquiry, Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts. Assoc Prof Bronwyn is an Aboriginal sociologist with extensive research experience in Indigenous Health. She has previously worked for the local lllawarra Aboriginal Medical Service managing the substance Misuse Service and the Social & Emotional Wellbeing Services. Her current research looks at help-seeking on social media in relation to suicide and self-harm.

Last reviewed: 26 September, 2017