This project brought together some of Australia’s leading experts in Indigenous health research to build capacity to address one of the nation’s most pressing concerns. It aimed to develop a critical mass of Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers who combine advanced quantitative skills with a keen understanding of the needs of policy makers. Also, to develop researchers who are able to undertake the type of research and critical analysis that is necessary to improve the evidence base for Indigenous health and social policy and, ultimately, reduce the health disadvantage faced by Indigenous Australians.

The primary objectives of the CIPHER project were to:

  1. Increase the output of high quality, policy relevant, critical social analysis and research relating to Indigenous health.
  2. Establish the processes and methods to develop and sustain a genuine intellectual partnership between researchers and policy makers in the field of Indigenous health.
  3. Improve research transfer through strengthened linkages between researchers and policy makers, and through a better understanding of the relevant networks and how and where blockages may occur.
  4. Increase the number of Indigenous researchers who successfully complete postgraduate qualifications.
  5. Improve key data collection instruments and systems to ensure optimal utility for policy and planning.
  6. Improve understanding of a number of technical issues that impact on data analysis and interpretation.
  7. Increase the quality and quantity of research proposals in population health and health services.
  8. Substantially increase the evidence base for Indigenous health and social policy and, ultimately, increase the capacity for improving public health and health service delivery.

Capacity development operated through two distinct processes. One is at the individual level, targeted to the specific needs of each team member. The second process involved developing the capacity of the group as a whole through an Annual Learning Conference cycle.

Related resources:
  • CIPHer Policy Brief: Trends in Indigenous Death Rates in the Northern Territory (2006).
  • Baeza, J. I. & Cunningham, J. 2005, ‘An “Experiment” in Indigenous Social Policy: The rise and fall of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC)’, Policy and Politics, vol. 33(3), pp. 461–73.
  • Cripps, K. & McGlade, H. 2008, ‘Indigenous Family Violence & Sexual Abuse: Considering pathways forward’, Journal of Family Studies, vol. 14(2/3), pp. 240–53.
  • Cunningham, J. & Rumbold, A. 2006, ‘Challenges in Identifying and Studying the Research Workforce in Indigenous Health’, Australasian Epidemiologist, vol. 13, Issue 1, April, pp. 6–8
  • Genat, B. & Cripps, K. 2008, ‘The Social Determinants of Indigenous Health: Stolen land, stolen children, stolen wages’, in H. Keleher & C. MacDougall (eds), Understanding Health: A Determinants Approach, 2nd edn, Oxford University Press, South Melbourne.
  • Lock, M. 2007, Aboriginal Holistic Health: A Critical Review, Discussion Paper Series No. 2, CRCAH, Darwin.
  • Paradies, Y. & Cunningham, J. 2008, ‘Development and Validation of the Measure of Indigenous Racism Experiences (MIRE)’, International Journal for Equity in Health, vol. 7(9).
  • Rumbold, A. R., Cunningham, J., Bailie, R. S. & Hiller, J. E. 2008, ‘Exploring the Characteristics of the Research Workforce in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health’, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, vol. 32(1), pp. 12–18.
  • Thomas, D. & Anderson, I. 2006, ‘Use of Emergency Departments by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People’, Emergency Medicine Australia, vol. 18, no. 1, pp. 68–76.
  • Thomas, D., Condon, J., Anderson, I., Li, S. Q., Halpin, S., Cunningham, J. & Guthridge, S. 2006, ‘Long-term Trends in Indigenous Deaths from Chronic Diseases in the Northern Territory: A foot on the brake, a foot on the accelerator’, Medical Journal of Australia, vol. 185, no. 3, pp. 145–9.

Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge the traditional owners of the land across Australia and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, voices and names of deceased persons.