NAPWHA Research Webinar: PATSIN epidemiological and public health research

“The seminar was a reminder about the importance of building trust as a non-indigenous worker and respecting culture.”

The Positive Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Network (PATSIN) and the National Association of People living with HIV Australia (NAPWHA) hosted a webinar on Epidemiological and public health research related to Aboriginal, and Torres Strait Islander People living with and affected by HIV, on Wednesday 22nd March 2023. The webinar was attended by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People living with and affected by HIV and people working with, or connected to, HIV community organisations working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It was one a series of research capacity building webinars being programmed by the NAPWHA Research Initiatives and was attended by thirty-five people across Australia. 

“The discussion from HIV Futures is a good reminder about the ongoing gap in social determinants of health in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, and the complexity of this.”

Dr John Rule, Senior Research Manager at NAPWHA facilitated the webinar which included three presentations followed by a Q&A discussion The webinar was to be co-facilitated by Ms Michele Tobin, PATSIN Convener, who unfortunately could not attend.

Dr Skye McGregor (Kirby Institute UNSW) provided an overview of the discipline of epidemiology, including the type of epidemiological methods she uses, and the kinds of knowledge and information it produces. Dr McGregor talked about the current surveillance data relating to HIV among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People living with and affected by HIV, and the implications of this data for policy, health promotion and health service delivery.

Dr Thomas Norman Australian Research Centre in Sex Health and Society, La Trobe University) provided a brief overview of the HIV Futures Study including the methods and type of knowledge and information it produces. Thomas also talked about findings from the HIV Futures Study in relation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People living with and affected by HIV and implications for policy, health promotion and health service delivery.

Kristy Gardner, a Kamilaroi woman, who had received the inaugural Yiaga Ngarnga PhD scholarship at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity in 2022, provided the final presentation. Kristy drew on her experiences of working on the Fostering the sexual well-being of Aboriginal young people by building on social, cultural, and personal strengths Project, at Centre for Social Research in Health, UNSW, to talk about innovative, culturally sensitive, and strengths-based approaches to doing research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People. 

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“I was inspired by the information about the inclusion of Indigenous ‘peers’ to engage in focus groups and research, and the additional benefits of this approach when working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.”
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