Led by the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) in partnership with the Victorian State Government, the soon-to-be finalised Accord aims to increase self-determination in Aboriginal research by empowering Aboriginal peoples to have a greater voice in how research is conducted across the state.

Olivia Payne, Executive Manager, Research at VACCHO says: “Implementation of the Accord will give voice to Community and assist researchers and research organisations in Victoria on their journey towards conducting ethical Aboriginal research.”

“With the goal of improving research culture and practices, the Accord aims to increase self-determination and Aboriginal governance in research and lead to tangible and equitable benefits for Aboriginal peoples.”

Uncle Graham Atkinson, Indigenous Elder Representative of the MACH Board and co-chair of the Aboriginal Leadership Group says: “The Accord provides a timely opportunity for Aboriginal peoples to participate in research that, among other things, is Aboriginal led and ethically conducted.”

“It will also be an innovative vehicle for the strengthening of collaborative relationships between Aboriginal peoples and the health, medical and wellbeing research sector for achieving mutually beneficial outcomes.”

“MACH strongly embraces the Accord’s strategic vision and objectives and looks forward to joining with the Accord’s partners and signatories to implement its priority actions strategy.”

The Accord has been developed through broad engagement with Community and the health and medical research sector.

Once launched, implementation will commence in a phased approach: initially seeking voluntary signatories from targeted research organisations, including health services, universities and medical research institutes, with the proposed aim of:

  • Implementing principles of self-determination by increasing rates of Aboriginal led research and Aboriginal participation
  • Creating equitable and trusting relationships between Aboriginal peoples and the health, medical and wellbeing research sector
  • Enhancing health benefits for Aboriginal peoples by identifying Aboriginal health, medical and wellbeing research priorities that are relevant to them and impact positively on them
  • Improving the way Aboriginal research is conducted in Victoria by being culturally appropriate, becoming more aware of past trauma and respectful of Aboriginal lore and customs
  • Empowering Aboriginal peoples by actively contributing to research methodologies using Aboriginal ways of knowing, being and doing
  • Protecting Aboriginal health, medical and wellbeing data, knowledges, practices and knowledge systems provided during research, using Aboriginal led mechanisms.

Ms Payne says: “The Aboriginal community in Victoria has attempted many times in recent decades to have a greater voice in the health research sector. There is a need for change and the time is now. The Accord, with the momentum of other statewide processes, aims to enact sustainable and systemic changes to empower self-determination in research.”

MACH is hosting the ‘Strengthening engagement with Aboriginal communities in health research’ seminar on Thursday 17 November – part of the NHMRC ‘Embracing Diversity’ Research Translation Long Weekend 2022.

Register below to join the seminar to hear more about the Accord as well as other current and developing Aboriginal health research initiatives in Victoria.

Artwork by: Trina Dalton-Oogjes
Description by the artist:
The Artwork shows the connection between Community, land and water.
Bunjil and the Elders watching over the gatherings.
Footprints, Emu and Kangaroo tracks are moving us forward, together, towards a new way of being.

Strengthening engagement with Aboriginal communities in health research seminar

An interactive seminar showcasing current and developing initiatives to strengthen engagement with Aboriginal communities in health research in Victoria. Following the seminar, attendees are welcome to stay for a live streaming of the NHMRC Translation Symposium.

WHERE: The Melbourne Brain Centre, Ian Potter Auditorium, Kenneth Myer Building, 30 Royal Parade, Parkville Online option also available
WHEN: Thursday 17th November 2022 9.30am-12.00pm