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The Indigenous Resiliency Project: a worked example of community-based participatory research

Julie Mooney-Somers A B and Lisa Maher A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research, University of New South Wales (on behalf of the Indigenous Resiliency Project Australian Steering Committee)

B Corresponding author. Email:

NSW Public Health Bulletin 20(8) 112-118
Published: 7 September 2009


Community-based participatory research (CBPR) is often cited as a suitable methodological approach for academic researchers wanting to work collaboratively with Indigenous communities. This paper describes the Indigenous Resiliency Project currently being conducted in Redfern, Townsville and Perth. This case study is used to demonstrate how a group of university-based researchers and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services have used CBPR to work with young Indigenous Australians to explore young people’s perspectives on resilience in relation to bloodborne viruses and sexually transmissible infections. This paper also describes some initial benefits gained through the process of developing the Indigenous Resiliency CBPR Project, such as: developing research capacity; establishing relationships between community organisations and research institutions; and prioritising ethical and social considerations in the conduct of research. A commentary on the experience of one health worker involved in the project accompanies the paper.


This paper is written on behalf of the Indigenous Resiliency Project Australian Steering Committee: Angie Akee and Robert Scott (Townsville Aboriginal and Islanders Health Service), John Daniels and Dulcie Flowers (Aboriginal Medical Service, Redfern), Colin Garlett (Derbarl Yerrigan Health Service), John Kaldor and Lisa Maher (National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research) and independent investigators Sandra Eades, Chris Lawrence, Maurice Shipp and Edward Wilkes. As per our project protocols, this paper was circulated to members of the ASC for review and approval. Where internal protocols dictated, ASC members also circulated the paper to their health service Board of Directors, management and relevant staff. We acknowledge the contributions of David Brockman, the project’s national coordinator until April 2008; Wani Erick, the Townsville Aboriginal and Islanders Health Service site coordinator until December 2008; and John Williams, the current site coordinator at the Aboriginal Medical Service, Redfern. We thank the project staff, peer researchers, mentors and participants for their many contributions.

The Indigenous Resiliency Project is funded by the International Collaboration in Indigenous Health Research Program, a trilateral partnership between the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and the Health Research Council of New Zealand. The National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research is core-funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing, and Lisa Maher is supported by the award of an NHMRC Research Fellowship.


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