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Health from the grassroots

New research published by a team of Aboriginal staff at URCH dives into the opportunities for universities to actively engage with Aboriginal communities to participate, conduct and ideally lead responsible research that attends to community priorities and issues. 

The Health from the Grassroots (Grassroots) project sought to address an ongoing mismatch between university-defined and community-defined priorities in rural northern NSW, Australia.  Grassroots, led by Aboriginal staff of at URCH, aimed at engaging Aboriginal communities in conversations to inform research priorities. The Grassroots project was a true representation of collaborative research led by and for Aboriginal people.  The team designed a local survey conducted yarning sessions with community members and used this information to visualize report findings.  Community members were highly engaged in the consultation process and the “rich picture” continues to be used to further conversations about evolving health and research priorities.

The team identified strengths and challenges faced by communities and health services in the region and centred community in decision-making for project design and direction.  Challenges encountered include limited resources and time for team members to devote to the project outside of their substantive paid positions. 

This paper describes the project vision, implementation, and research team lessons in the first years.  Meaningful consultation to inform research action arose from the team’s deep-rooted relationships and identities as members of the community in which we live and work.  Research priorities identified through the Grassroots project have been integrated into our ongoing work.

Read the full publication here.