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Ethics approval processes

Do I need ethics approval and what is the process?

If your Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research project involves clinical or epidemiological research, data linkage or data release, health services or population health research, or qualitative research you will usually need ethics approval. This is true for any inclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participants, even if the health research is working across other population groups.

For health research ethics proposals being submitted through a university/research institution system or health services and hospitals, the research proposal should be assessed through an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-specific Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC). Visit our national, state and territory contacts or go to the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) or one of its eight state or territory affiliates. In the absence of a specific Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander committee, the HREC should carry out a consultative process that includes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experts and key representatives.

If you are collecting ideas and information to plan a local project or evaluation of the service you provide, you may not need ethics approval. Of course ethical considerations for working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participants still apply to quality assurance processes, and community consultation and ongoing communication is imperative.