Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural factors are key determinants of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing. These factors include identity, cultural participation and knowledge exchange, connection to country, family and community, language and governance, experiences of racism and discrimination, community engagement and empowerment. There is growing evidence of the association between cultural engagement and positive health and wellbeing outcomes. However, we don’t have any large-scale evidence on these relationships; this evidence is required to support effective future policies and programs to promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing.
This seminar will highlight how our research team has worked with many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities over the last few years to develop questions that best represent Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander cultures and wellbeing. These questions have been made into a survey, which will form the basis of the Mayi Kuwayu national cohort Study. Mayi Kuwayu means to follow Aboriginal people over time in Ngiyampaa language.
The Mayi Kuwayu Study aims to provide the first large-scale evidence on cultural factors and their relation to health and wellbeing. It will do this by inviting up to 400,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults to complete the survey. Participants will be invited to complete follow-up surveys every three-five years, and to have their survey data linked to administrative datasets about health. This allows us to follow the health of participants over time, and to gain a more detailed view of participants’ health and wellbeing.
Data from the Mayi Kuwayu Study will be an Aboriginal-controlled collaborative resource for research, conducted in strict accordance with ethical, community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research standards.
Dr Raymond Lovett
BN RN BHSc MAppEpi PhD
Dr Raymond Lovett is an NHMRC Research Fellow and the Program Leader Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health with the Epidemiology for Policy and Practice group at the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, ANU. He also holds an adjunct Fellowship at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS). Ray is an Aboriginal (Wongaibon) social epidemiologist with extensive experience in health services research, large scale data analysis for public health policy development and evaluation.
His team conducts cutting-edge innovative and multidisciplinary large-scale research in areas across the social and cultural determinants of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing.
The approach across the program is to conduct research in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals, communities, and organisations, and to frame our work using a strengths-based approach.
His research focus areas include:
Culture and health
Family and community safety
Smoking, drug and alcohol use
Obesity and nutrition
Indigenous Data Sovereignty