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Draft Road Map 3: A Strategic Framework for Improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health through Research submission

This submission reflects the views of
Organisation Name: 
Rheumatic Heart Disease Australia
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Specific Questions
Question 5: Are there any other comments you would like to make regarding Road Map 3? Please provide details: 
Congratulations to the authors, the document is well written, easy to understand and clearly sets out the NHMRCs strategic direction for the next 10 years in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research. Accountability and outcomes that will make a difference to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health are critical. It is pleasing to see that an action plan will be required at 3 years with key achievements plus focus areas and targets for the next three years. The RoadMap aligns with current policy, initiatives and thinking in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health in particular; the importance of unpacking the social and cultural determinants; creating strong partnerships and community engagement at all levels of research. RHDA acknowledges that all research funded should provide the best value and outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and that the outcomes are those which have been identified by communities throughout Australia. It was welcoming to see that this was clearly stated in the principles and priorities. It was good to see that RHD was identified as a health priority, RHDA recommends that Acute Rheumatic Fever (ARF) be added alongside RHD. There is no other disease that highlights the importance of the social determinants and primordial intervention both at a population and public health level. RHDA acknowledges that institutional racism has detrimental effects on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples health and well being. RHDA also knows that it will take time and effort to better understand how we can influence and change health systems so they become free of racism and unconditional bias. We welcome and support research in this area particularly as those living with RHD require frequent contact with multiple service providers. RHDA concurs with the principles around building workforce capacity, with early career researchers at academic institutes and community- based researchers at the community level. RHDA and Menzies have experience in the development and support of community -based workers. There have been 65 CBW that have been trained by Menzies in a certificate II in community research. Some of these CBW are from very remote areas where English may be their 4th or 5th language. There needs to be partnerships with other agencies outside of Universities such as Menzies, Lowitja and Baker IDI and other organisations that have a track record working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Within category 2, Research areas where there is a significant burden of disease and/or the highest differential quality of life in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities research into trauma informed care and self- harm including suicide should be identified as priority areas.

Page reviewed: 31 July, 2018