Indigenous Governance Award for research
[by Amanda Paterson]
In its 25th year, the Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council of NSW Human Research Ethics Committee has received from Reconciliation Australia, an Indigenous Governance Award.
On Wednesday the 8th of June 2022 at the ICC Sydney, The Indigenous Governance Awards ceremony, hosted by Reconciliation Australia and the BHP Foundation, acknowledged and celebrated outstanding examples of governance in Indigenous-led non-incorporated initiatives, projects, or within small to large businesses.
Aboriginal Health & Medical Research Council Human Research Ethics Committee (AH&MRC HREC) was nominated for category 1 of the awards and won the award against some amazing finalists within the category.
Dr. Summer May Finlay, Committee Co-Chair, believes “the award recognises the contribution to improving the cultural safety and research benefit to Aboriginal people the Committee has made over the last 25 years.”
Kelly Jones, representative of AH&MRC and Research Ethics Coordinator states “This award means a lot for the organisation and team and we’re proud to have annually reviewed over 100 submissions, to ensure that any research about Aboriginal people conducted in NSW is ethically correct.”
AH&MRC HREC was established in 1996 to ensure that research conducted with and about Aboriginal people in NSW is conducted both ethically and culturally. It stood out to the judges because of its long and committed history in a space that is often overlooked.
For Dr. Michael Doyle, Committee Co-Chair “the award really belongs to the Elders who established the committee at a time when the research was being done to or for us rather than with us. The Elders established the committee and continue to play a significant role.”
Justice, self-determination, and truth-telling in research and ethics is crucial to
rectifying the historical devastation caused by this industry, and they commended the
AH&MRC for all of their good work in bringing others along.
CEO Robert Skeen explains, “Our Research Ethics Committee plays an important
part in our organisation and as a nation, our identity and character can be
strengthened by a respectful appreciation of the various Cultural Protocols that exist
by engaging the distinct Aboriginal communities across Australia”.
He continues “Historically, research has not always been a positive experience for
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities. Too many times it had
a negative, traumatic, and racialised impact upon these communities. Our Research
Ethics Committee work is vital to ensuring the proposed research is carried out with
integrity and, in a practical sense, supports and strengthens any research proposed
for our communities”.
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