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CRCATSIH Program: Enabling Policy and Systems

Program leaders: Judith Dwyer / Kim O'Donnell
Program manager: Arwen Nikolof

Goal: To develop knowledge and evaluate tools and resources that will enable the users of research to reform health system policy and administration and improve capacity to implement programs effectively.

What’s the program about?

‘Enabling Policy and Systems’ addresses the fundamental constraints and challenges that contribute to poor performance in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health policy and programs.

Previous research conducted with the support of our predecessor organisation, the Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health, and others has highlighted the complex administrative and governance environments within which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services operate.

While there is no estimate of how much health system dysfunction contributes to the health gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians, it is clear that greater administrative and operational efficiencies will pave the way for improved provision of health care to Australia’s First Peoples.

The program’s ultimate aim is to improve the capacity of health care providers to implement programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people more effectively.


Research and capacity building activity will be undertaken across three main areas:

  • Decision-making and policy and program planning and implementation by governments.
  • The capacity, composition and structure of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce.
  • Organisational effectiveness in Aboriginal community controlled health services as well as other health care providers.

The program will also address the macro-system issues influencing whether and how to use outputs that are produced in the other two key CRCATSIH Program areas – Healthy Start, Healthy Life; and Healthy Communities and Settings.


The primary end-users of Program 3 outputs will be managers and decision makers in:

  • Australian governments
  • health authorities
  • professional and industry bodies
  • Aboriginal community controlled health services and other health care providers
  • educational institutions
  • workforce recruitment and development agencies
  • providers of information/communication technology.


Active projects

Completed projects

Created: 03 May 2012 - Updated: 20 December 2017