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Identifying the core elements of the cultural determinants of health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Project aims 

To review and define Australian and international understandings of the cultural determinants of health and wellbeing and to identify and review the current evidence of the relationships between core protective elements of cultural determinants and health and wellbeing outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.  

Objectives: 

  1. To define and gain a better understanding of the cultural determinants of health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. 
  2. Assess the interrelationship of culture to health and wellbeing outcomes. 

Project team

Project leader: Associate Professor Dr Ray Lovett, Research Fellow, National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Australian National University  

Project partner: University of Adelaide 

Administering organisation: Australian National University

Project timeline: 1 August 2016-31 December 2018. 

Methodology   

The project conducted two interrelated systematic reviews:   

First systematic literature review to gain an understanding of the national and international concepts of Indigenous determinants of health and wellbeing. To complement the review, 24 focus groups were conducted to describe cultural factors of importance to wellbeing across the diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australia.   

Second systematic literature review to assess current evidence about cultural determinants and health and wellbeing outcomes.   

Project findings 
The results of the reviews conducted in this project provide some insights into what Indigenous peoples across the world describe as culture. This means that what is described as ‘culture’ is largely through the lens of people from non-Indigenous cultures. The reviews also provide evidence to ensure cultural determinants are given priority in program and policy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.  

Knowledge  

  • Understanding the meaning of the concept ‘cultural determinant of health’ and what the core elements of cultural determinants of health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are.  

Skills  

  • Increased experience and academic development of Aboriginal researchers involved in the project as well as focus group participants.  

Awareness  

  • An increased number of publications relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and their relationship to health and wellbeing outcomes.  

  • Awareness about what the cultural determinants of health and wellbeing meant for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and what commonalities can be identified.  

Behaviour  

  • Project has the potential to lead to a refocusing of policy to support community cultural activities and beliefs.  

Other  

  • The project will potentially bring meaningful benefit from the local level to national and finally international levels.  

  • Potential uptake and revitalisation of cultural factors.  

Project leader

Dr Ray Lovett

Administering institution:

Australian National University

Completion date:

September 2017