Ten principles relevant to health research among Indigenous Australian populations

Lisa M Jamieson, Yin C Paradies, Sandra Eades, Alwin Chong, Louise Maple-Brown, Peter Morris, Ross Bailie, Alan Cass, Kaye Roberts-Thomson and Alex Brown
Med J Aust 2012; 197 (1): 16-18. || doi: 10.5694/mja11.11642

Working with Indigenous communities towards research that is relevant, effective and culturally respectful

Writing in the Journal about Indigenous health in 2011, Sir Michael Marmot suggested that the challenge was to conduct research, and to ultimately apply findings from that research, to enable Indigenous Australians to lead more flourishing lives that they would have reason to value.1 As committed Indigenous health researchers in Australia, we reflect Marmot’s ideal — to provide the answers to key questions relating to health that might enable Indigenous Australians to live the lives that they would choose to live.

Please login with your free MJA account to view this article in full

  • Lisa M Jamieson1
  • Yin C Paradies2
  • Sandra Eades3
  • Alwin Chong4
  • Louise Maple-Brown4
  • Peter Morris4
  • Ross Bailie4
  • Alan Cass5
  • Kaye Roberts-Thomson1
  • Alex Brown6

  • 1 University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA.
  • 2 2 University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 3 Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 4 Menzies School of Health Research, Darwin, NT.
  • 5 George Institute, Sydney, NSW.
  • 6 Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, Alice Springs, NT.


We gratefully acknowledge Sir Michael Marmot, University College London, who provided helpful comments on an earlier draft of this manuscript. Lisa Jamieson is supported by an NHMRC Career Development Award (605837), Louise Maple-Brown by an NHMRC Early Career Fellowship in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research (605837), Yin Paradies by a University of Melbourne McKenzie Fellowship, Ross Bailie by an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship (FT100100087), Alwin Chong by an NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship (457101) and Alex Brown by a Heart Foundation of Australia Fellowship.

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.

  • 1. Marmot M. Social determinants and the health of Indigenous Australians. Med J Aust 2011; 194: 512-513. <MJA full text>
  • 2. National Health and Medical Research Council. Values and ethics: guidelines for ethical conduct in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia, 2003. (accessed Jun 2012).
  • 3. Bailey J, Veitch C, Crossland L, Preston R. Developing research capacity building for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers in health service settings. Rural Remote Health 2006; 6: 556.
  • 4. Hughes J, Nickels M, Sharma S, et al. Implementing the eGFR study in a remote site: a case study. Aboriginal Islander Health Worker J 2010; 34: 6-8.
  • 5. Sibthorpe BM, Bailie RS, Brady MA, et al. The demise of a planned randomised controlled trial in an urban Aboriginal medical service. Med J Aust 2002; 176: 273-276.
  • 6. Riedy C. A dental intervention with an Alaskan Native population: lessons learned. Int Dent J 2010; 60: 241-244.
  • 7. Patten CA, Windsor RA, Renner CC, et al. Feasibility of a tobacco cessation intervention for pregnant Alaska Native women. Nicotine Tob Res 2010; 12: 79-87.
  • 8. Chino M, Debruyn L. Building true capacity: indigenous models for indigenous communities. Am J Public Health 2006; 96: 596-599.
  • 9. Gittelsohn J, Davis SM, Steckler A, et al. Pathways: lessons learned and future directions for school-based interventions among American Indians. Prev Med 2003; 37 Suppl 1: S107-S112.
  • 10. Gittelsohn J, Rowan M. Preventing diabetes and obesity in American Indian communities: the potential of environmental interventions. Am J Clin Nutr 2011; 93: 1179S-1183S.
  • 11. Altman J. The economic and social context of Indigenous health. In: Thomson N, editor. The health of Indigenous Australians. Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 2003: 25-43.
  • 12. Harvey PW. Science, research and social change in Indigenous health — evolving ways of knowing. Aust Health Rev 2009; 33: 628-635.
  • 13. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Population distribution, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 2006. Canberra: ABS, 2007. (ABS Cat. No. 4705.0.)
  • 14. McGregor R. Imagined destinies: Aboriginal Australians and the doomed race theory, 1880–1939. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1997.
  • 15. Nelson A, Abbott R, Macdonald D. Indigenous Australians and physical activity: using a social-ecological model to review the literature. Health Educ Res 2010; 25: 498-509.
  • 16. Panaretto K, Coutts J, Johnson L, et al. Evaluating performance of and organisational capacity to deliver brief interventions in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medical services. Aust N Z J Public Health 2010; 34: 38-44.
  • 17. Couzos S, Lea T, Murray R, Culbong M. “We are not just participants — we are in charge”: the NACCHO ear trial and the process for Aboriginal community-controlled health research. Ethn Health 2005; 10: 91-111.
  • 18. Baeza JI, Lewis JM. Indigenous health organizations in Australia: connections and capacity. Int J Health Serv 2010; 40: 719-742.
  • 19. Smith LJ. How ethical is ethical research? Recruiting marginalized, vulnerable groups into health services research. J Adv Nurs 2008; 62: 248-257.
  • 20. Flicker S, Worthington CA. Public health research involving aboriginal peoples: research ethics board stakeholders’ reflections on ethics principles and research processes. Can J Public Health 2012; 103: 19-22.
  • 21. Holland S, Hope T. The ethics of attaching research conditions to access to new health technologies. J Med Ethics 2012. In press. doi:10.1136/medethics-2011-100294.


remove_circle_outline Delete Author
add_circle_outline Add Author

Do you have any competing interests to declare? *

I/we agree to assign copyright to the Medical Journal of Australia and agree to the Conditions of publication *
I/we agree to the Terms of use of the Medical Journal of Australia *
Email me when people comment on this article

Responses are now closed for this article.