How does culture shape our wellbeing?
A massive study of how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture is linked to wellbeing will be rolled out across Australia next year — and the research team wants the community’s help.
Research team leader and Wongaibon man Dr Ray Lovett said questionnaires would be mailed out to 200,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across Australia from the first six months of next year.
Those who were willing to participate would be asked to take the same survey every few years so researchers could understand what influences change with time.
He said the study, known as ‘Mayi Kuwayu’, would help identify how culture relates to improvements in health and aid in setting health policy by pinpointing which cultural programs are having the biggest effect.
Dr Lovett detailed plans for the study at the recent three-day National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation annual meeting in Canberra.
He said Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people could help by returning the questionnaires if they received them.
The study has been three years in the planning and developed in consultation with communities in Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Tasmania.
The communities helped frame the survey questions.
Dr Lovett said the study was designed, managed and run by Aboriginal people and no government funding was involved.
Questions would centre around attachment to country, cultural knowledge transmission and health.
The study is the first of its kind to be attempted in Australia and will be run by the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies.