This small research project is part of a larger international project, the Revitalising Health For All project funded by the Teasdale-Corti Global Health Research Partnership Program. The CRC for Aboriginal Health coordinated and co-funded the Australian arm of this study, which aimed to document and highlight the role of comprehensive primary health care (CPHC) in the 21st century.
The CRC for Aboriginal Health helped establish a regional steering committee to oversee the Australian research, which looked at the significant role that Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services play both in improving health outcomes and in addressing the social determinants of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. The regional committee invited three Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services to participate in the research, and this project looked specifically at the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress (CAAC) Ingkintja Male Health Program in Alice Springs.
The overall research question for this project was: How does the CAAC Male Health Program reflect the social determinants of health affecting Aboriginal male health, as articulated by Aboriginal males in the Alice Springs region? The project aimed to identify and describe:
- How the history of the CAAC Male Health Program reflects the health needs and the social determinants of health of Aboriginal males, as articulated by Aboriginal males, in Alice Springs.
- How social and political issues (local, State and national) shape the capacity of the Male Health Program to address these social determinants of Aboriginal male health.
- How the CAAC management and the Male Health Program staff have understood these social determinants of health.
- The strategies aimed at influencing these social determinants of Aboriginal male health that are utilised by the Male Health Program.
- The enablers and the barriers to the implementation of these strategies.
This research is employing a case study approach. Qualitative and, to a lesser extent, quantitative methods were used to develop the in-depth case study. The research included in-depth interviews with key informants, a consultation meeting with users of the Male Health Program and wider community consultations. The project provided research training to a trainee Aboriginal Research Officer and was led by an internally appointed all-Aboriginal Steering Committee.
The project aimed to lead to:
- An increase in the capacity of the CAAC Male Health Program to address the social determinants of health of Aboriginal males in Alice Springs.
- A documented history of the Male Health Program and the particular context in which it was developed.
- A context-specific contribution to the Australian literature related to the implementation of strategies aimed at addressing the social determinants of Aboriginal male health.
- A context-specific contribution to the international research project ‘Revitalising Health for All: Learning from Comprehensive Primary Health Care Experiences’.
- Identification of other important areas worthy of study.
- Increased capacity of the trainee Aboriginal Research Officer to undertake further research projects.
Ethics approval was granted for the research in July 2009 and the project was completed in June 2011.