The grant, one of three awarded by 100 Women, will train 10 Aboriginal women from remote communities across the Fitzroy Valley to become community researchers while working on a project exploring long-term intervention for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.
The grant will allow each woman to complete training in community health research to Certificate II level and have access to valuable work experience for future careers in research. Community health researchers play an integral role in research by explaining the project, obtaining consent, collecting data, advising on cultural sensitivities and engaging participants through their first language.
Telethon Kids Institute researcher Bree Wagner said the grant will deliver immense benefits to the entire community. "Community health researchers play a critical role in ensuring local communities receive the best outcomes possible," Ms Wagner said. "Working with local Aboriginal women to conduct health-based research ensures those local communities are actively engaged in the entire research process, rather than a passive participant.
"This grant will mean that our research assistants are recognised for the skills they possess, can transfer those skills to other research projects underway in the region, and be an advocate and voice for the local community in designing health research projects."
Maureen Carter, chief executive officer of Nindilingarri Cultural Health Service, said upskilling local Aboriginal women was beneficial for their partnership on numerous research projects, "Research should be done with Aboriginal people, not to Aboriginal people," she said. "By working in partnership with organisations such as the Telethon Kids Institute we've been able to achieve success in research.
"If researchers are able to partner with local organisations it helps the project link to the community. It's the respectful way of doing research."
Telethon Kids research assistant and local Aboriginal woman Debbie (Sue) Cherel (pictured below) said this training will be immensely valuable. "It will help us understand more about our community," she said. "We'll be able to help other researchers provide help to the community, train more and get to know more about the program.