Developing a cancer research agenda driven by First Nations people

22 November 2023

Researchers at The University of Queensland secured funds from the Health Translation Queensland (HTQ) Consumer and Community Involvement (CCI) microgrant program to support the development of consumer-driven research topics for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cancer research.

Professor of Indigenous Health Research in the Faculty of Medicine at The University of Queensland, proud Kamilaroi woman Professor Gail Garvey said building trust with community is crucial for the success of any research project.

“A community-driven research agenda is more likely to lead to sustainable outcomes because the community has a vested interest in the research process and its results,” Professor Garvey said.

“Involving the community in shaping the research agenda of the First Nations Cancer & Wellbeing Research (FNCWR) Program at the 2023 Queensland Murri Carnival promoted inclusivity, engagement, and relevance in the research process and will improve the quality of the research we do.”

Project lead Dr Habtamu Bizuayehu said he appreciated HTQ’s initiative, which supported his team’s efforts to listen to the community during their research priority-setting.

“We wanted to hear directly from the community about which health areas are important to them and where they want us to focus our research,” Dr Bizuayehu said.

“With the HTQ microgrant, we were able to engage with significantly more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participants at the Murri Carnival.

“This community voice will shape our research priorities, future grant opportunities and the translation of research.”

Dr Bizuayehu was impressed by the positive response from the community.

“People were engaged in our surveys and curious about the outcomes, and several volunteered to participate in future research,” Dr Bizuayehu said.

“The data recorded from the Murri Carnival shows that a high proportion of First Nations Australians aged 18-49 responding to the priority-setting survey are interested in engaging with cancer prevention strategies, showcasing a promising step forward to create more successful cancer prevention initiatives.

“We can design research and models of care to address the top priority areas for the community, which are reducing the chances of getting cancer, improving cultural acceptability of information, and gaining support to make healthy choices.”

The FNCWR program is committed to innovative, community-driven, mixed-methods research that supports and empowers Australia’s First Nations people to achieve optimal health and wellbeing.

For further information about HTQ’s CCI program, please visit the Consumer and Community Involvement Program.

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