First Nations research and engagement

The School of Rural Medicine is passionate and dedicated to support First Nations health research.

Any research involving First Nations Australians must involve collaboration with First Nations communities, empowering them to define their research questions, methodologies, and outcomes. This participatory approach ensures that research benefits First Nations communities directly and respects their rights and sovereignty.

In supporting First nations health research, we acknowledge the unique cultural, social, and historical contexts of First Nations communities. We respect traditional knowledge and practices while integrating them with modern healthcare approaches, ensuring that interventions are culturally appropriate and effective.

It is well documented that First Nations Australians experience significant health disparities compared to non-First Nations Australians. Research in First Nations health will contribute to identify these disparities, to understand their root causes, and develop strategies to address them, ultimately working towards health equity, and ‘closing the gap’.

The SRM is developing collaborations with First Nations communities and organisations to ensure that our medical students, should they wish, are enabled to undertake research in First Nations research projects.  In our first year of student research projects, we have 3 students working on First Nations research projects.

Support for First Nations students

What we hope to achieve through our First Nations research program:

  • Improvements in the health and wellbeing of First Nations Australians, by addressing the unique challenges they face, such as disparities in healthcare access, higher rates of chronic disease and socio-economic inequalities.
  • Promotion of diversity and inclusivity within the academic and research community, and to foster a more inclusive and equitable research environment.
  • Promote the concept of data sovereignty, which asserts First Nations rights to control, access, and utilize their health data. Respecting data sovereignty ensures that research benefits First Nations communities directly and that data are used ethically and responsibly.
  • In December 2023, the SRM Research and Evaluation team welcomed Ms Lynette Bullen. Lynette, a proud Wiradjuri woman, is a clinician with over 30 years’ experience in the drug and alcohol field, and was awarded the Western Health Research Network (WHRN) Indigenous Researcher of the Year award in 2023.

Madelyn Johnson

SRM student, Year 2 2024

“I am a proud Gomeroi Yinarr from Moree. My decision to pursue Medicine as a career stemmed from my experiences from working in the Aboriginal Medical Service in my community. Having the exposure of seeing the struggle that people in rural communities face and the disparities between mob and others was really the driving factor for me. This artwork 'ngiyaani' (meaning 'we all') tells the story of our journey in Medical school and how 'we all' are on this journey together. The main camp in the middle being here in Orange and then branching out to our clinical schools/smaller camps.”

Doctor of Medicine student Madelyn

Madelyn Johnson

student first nations artwork

This artwork 'ngiyaani' (meaning 'we all') tells the story of our journey in Medical school and how 'we all' are on this journey together.