The core business of Wardliparingga Aboriginal Research Unit of the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) is to improve health outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through high quality community driven research. Wardliparingga employs 56 staff, of which 26 are Indigenous.
Despite increasing awareness among researchers, universities, organisations and institutes working in the area of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, research remains a sensitive issue for many communities. The Indigenous Staff Collective at the SAHMRI has been established to create a forum to encourage all research involving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities to follow the direction highlighted in the South Australian Aboriginal Health Research Accord (Accord) and the NHMRC Values and Ethics Guidelines.
Informal approaches are often made to Indigenous staff of SAHMRI to guide the development and conduct of research and health policy relevant to Indigenous communities. The background, history and expertise of Indigenous staff, as is the case with our communities, is diverse. Therefore, we have established a process by which we can discuss and inform the priorities, activities and mechanisms of SAHMRI. The Collective provides a manageable and transparent structure to better manage and respond to these requests, and ensures the likelihood that the SAHMRI work follows the Accord principles and NHMRC Values and Ethics guidelines.
The Collective is the mechanism for Indigenous staff within SAHMRI to discuss cultural issues, research strategy, community engagement, leadership and workforce development in a culturally safe space. We provide guidance and leadership to develop a sector leading organisation for Indigenous employment, professional development, and mentoring of Indigenous and non-Indigenous staff working in Indigenous research. We partner in high quality research with multiple agencies and other SAHMRI research themes, to maximise opportunities on translating research into practice that better meet the needs of Indigenous peoples. We are positioned well to provide strategic guidance and cultural advice to the SAHMRI Executive and Management teams on the development of SAHMRI-wide Indigenous policies. The Collective assists SAHMRI and collaborating partners in designing and delivering research that is accountable to Indigenous communities in South Australia.