COVID-19 Research with Aboriginal Communities in Western NSW

Project Title: Understanding risk perceptions, knowledge and preventive health behaviour of Australians in rural, regional remote Western NSW during Covid-19 Pandemic


Click the link below to take the survey: https://www.research.net/r/COVID-19_Rural-Remote-NSW

Read the Participant Information Statement and distribute the Flyer for Aboriginal people and the Flyer for Non-Aboriginal people.



We acknowledge that this project takes place across the traditional lands of many Aboriginal clans, tribes and nations. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging. We commit to working in collaboration with Aboriginal communities and peoples to improve their health, emotional and social well-being in the spirit of cultural safety.


Research Grant Success!

Monday 4th May: “I am pleased to advise that your application was viewed as very strong and we are keen to support the project. We have reviewed very closely all budget requests, and in many cases have considered the budget can be reduced. In addition, some applicants included costs for open access publication. This is not required to be covered from your grant as Faculties and some Centres have funding schemes to cover these costs. We require your urgent advice as to whether you wish to proceed with your project with the approved funds of $28,000.”


What is this research project?

The project objective is to assess the knowledge of COVID-19 among rural, regional, remote and Aboriginal populations’ in NSW, to determine their perceptions of risk and preventive health behaviours during the current pandemic.  Specifically,

  • To assess levels of knowledge of COVID-19, risk perception, feelings of anxiety, perceived efficacy of measures, and information needs of rural, regional and remote and Aboriginal populations in NSW.

  • To identify factors associated with taking recommended preventive measures and intentions to comply with them.

  • To identify the sources of information people are using, and which ones they rely on/trust.

Who are the researchers?

Charles Sturt University

Dr Jodie Kleinschafer, Lecturer in Marketing, MCR, Lead Chief Investigator;

Professor Oliver Burmeister, Professor of Information Systems;

Ms Gail Fuller, Manager SPAN).

Western NSW LHD

Ms Teesta Saksena, Research Officer ECR, Partner Investigator;

Dr Alice Munro, Director of Research;

Dr Julaine Allan, Centre for Health & Society University of Wollongong;

Three Rivers University Department of Rural Health

Ms Jayne Lawrence, Wiradjuri lecturer

Committix Pty Ltd and Western Health Research Network (Dr Mark Lock, Ngiyampaa academic and independent researcher).


Promoting research transparency & accountability

These documents will soon be available for public release (29/07/2020)

  1. Original Research application to Charles Sturt University
  2. Gantt Chart
  3. Aboriginal Terms of Reference for the advisory group.docx
  4. Aboriginal Flyer and Non-Aboriginal Flyer
  5. COVID19-Research-Grant-Detailed-Project-Protocol.docx
  6. COVID Research Coonamble Health Service Signed.pdf
  7. Consent Form Interview_25.5.20.docx
  8. Participant Information Sheet Interview 25.5.20. docx
  9. Participant Information Statement
  10. Questionnaire Draft for Ethics 25.5.20.DOCX
  11. JK02851_1_Notification of Grant Success.msg
  12. NHMRC HREA form JK02851_1_.pdf

Aboriginal Reference Group

We acknowledge that the Aboriginal Reference Group meetings are held in Dubbo on the traditional lands of the Tubba-gah people. We pay our respects to Elders past and present and ask for their guidance as we work towards improving health outcomes for their descendants and other Aboriginal and Torres Strait people living on Wiradjuri land.

Vision: That Aboriginal Peoples will be culturally safe throughout the research and knowledge production processes.

The definition of cultural safety used is: ‘an environment that is spiritually, socially and emotionally safe, as well as physically safe for people; where there is no assault, challenge or denial of their identity, of who they are and what they need. It is about shared respect, shared meaning, shared knowledge and experience of learning together’ (Williams, R. (1999). “Cultural safety – what does it mean for our work practice?” Aust N Z J Public Health 23(2): 213-214.)


Terms of Reference

  1. The ARG-COVID will provide Aboriginal cultural leadership for all aspects of this project.
  2. Meetings will be held once per month according to a pre-arranged schedule, held at a time and location convenient to all stakeholders.
  3. Decisions will be made through negotiated agreement giving full and due consideration to each member. This is particularly relevant for decisions copyright, intellectual property, and data sovereignty.
  4. The ARG-COVID will be dissolved at the conclusion of the project and as agreed to by all stakeholders. While the grant concludes in October 2020, translational activities may take longer and hence the wrap-up date of December 2020 for the ARC-COVID.
  5. Membership (to be finalised): Jayne Lawrence (Co-Chair), Mark Lock (Co-Chair), Jodie Kleinschafer, an Aboriginal Elder, Aboriginal youth, Aboriginal community health worker, Aboriginal mainstream health professional, Aboriginal community controlled organisation representative, and an independent Aboriginal researcher.
  6. Principles: How do we feedback, share, and follow-on from the results of this project? (benefit); How we support the Aboriginal community members of this reference group? (reciprocity).
  7. Functions:
    • communication the project’s developments monthly to stakeholders through a project newsletter, webpage, and social media (governed by ML’s company Committix Pty Ltd),
    • holding regular Aboriginal online focus groups through Charles Sturt University’s Three River’s University Department of Rural Health (organised and supervised by JL),
    • ensuring the results of the project are presented in a culturally appropriate manner to each Aboriginal community controlled organisation in the Western NSW Local Health District (e.g., social media posts, a fact sheet, community project report, a results webinar, and face-to-face communication when appropriate),
    • ensuring that the academic publications are written and edited through an Aboriginal cultural lens, and
    • advocating for the results to be used in the development of communication strategies by the Western NSW Local Health District.
  8. Members (with permission): Ms Jayne Lawrence, Dr Mark Lock, Ms Jodie Kleinschafer
  9. Meeting minutes: 12th June, 29th July (to be authorised for public release)

Project Status Updates

  1. News Article by Erika Vass: Health research survey to assist regional communication during COVID-19: https://www.centralwesterndaily.com.au/story/6748737/health-survey-to-better-understand-regional-response-to-covid-19/
  2. News Article in the Daily Liberal: Western region online survey on COVID-19 pandemic: https://www.dailyliberal.com.au/story/6753696/1000-western-nsw-residents-may-share-their-experiences-of-covid-19/
  3. News Article in the Western Advocate: CSU News | Researchers to help guide the region out of pandemic: https://www.westernadvocate.com.au/story/6756241/csu-news-researchers-to-help-guide-the-region-out-of-pandemic/
  4. June 2020: received AH&MRC ethics notification with request for further information. Ethics revised and re-submitted 5th July, awaiting response.
  5. July 29th – 2nd Aboriginal Reference Group meeting.
  6. 2 September – next meeting.
  7. 5th August – ‘I am pleased to advise you that the above research project meets the requirements of the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2007 update 2018) and ethical approval for this research project has been granted by AH&MRC Human Research Ethics Committee.’

Ethics: Charles Sturt University’s Human Research Ethics Committee, Protocol No. H20254, and the Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council Human Research Ethics Committee, Reference No. 1668/20.

If you have any complaints or reservations about the ethical conduct of this project, you may contact: The Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council (AH&MRC) Ethics Committee Telephone: (02) 9212 4777; and/or The Governance Officer, Human Research Ethics Committee of Charles Sturt University on (02) 6933 4213 or ethics@csu.edu.au


Talk to the research mob

Dr Jodie Kleinschafer | Tel: +61 2 6338 4851 |jkleinschafer@csu.edu.au

Ms Jayne Lawrence | Tel: +61 0438 794 032 | jalawrence@csu.edu.au

Dr Mark J Lock | Tel: +61 0416 871 161 | marklock@committix.com


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