A series of Roundtable discussions hosted by the Lowitja Institute in Darwin during June 2012 has led to the development of prioritised research questions that should ultimately result in new research projects focused on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health in the Northern Territory.
The three Roundtables, which covered the themes of Nutrition, Telehealth, and Environmental Health and Housing, were designed to build collaboration between researchers, policy makers and the end-users of research in the NT. Aboriginal Medical Services and communities were well represented at each of the Roundtables.
The Roundtables used a process of structured discussion, knowledge sharing and decision-making spread across four sessions, starting with presentations from experienced practitioners and researchers to give an outline of each topic. The discussions then moved on to ‘what we know’ to build broad agreement on the current state of knowledge in each theme and to identify gaps in knowledge, before moving on to ‘what we need to know’ to establish the prioritised questions.
Participants at the recent Darwin Roundtables
Some of the questions to emerge from the Nutrition Roundtable focused on the place of traditional foods in contemporary life, the cost-benefit impact of various economic incentives to promote healthy foods and the building of sustainable models for a nutrition/physical activity workforce and scaling up of nutrition interventions.
In Telehealth the questions included mapping the telehealth environment against health need, and the clinical outcomes of telehealth (including clinical safety).
The Environmental Health and Housing Roundtable generated several prioritised research questions, including how to encourage community engagement and participation, what are the key indicators/factors for successful home hygiene, and how government housing policy could support the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
The Lowitja Institute recently advertised some small grants to contribute to the development of these prioritised research questions into full research funding proposals to the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and other funding bodies. The successful applicants will be notified in August 2012. We hope other researchers will use the Northern Territory Research Roundtables Report to shift their research and research applications to answer these NT research priorities, acknowledging the report in their applications.
The Darwin Roundtables were the first time the Lowitja Institute’s Facilitated Development Approach model for working up research proposals has been used to specifically inform external grant applications. Previously, one or two research projects would result from a Roundtable and be funded by the Lowitja Institute, but by using this broader approach there is potential to influence research projects beyond those that the Lowitja Institute can fund.
To learn more, go to our Research Development and Implementation page.