First Nations Rural and Regional Research Mapping

What is the value of research for First Nations Australians? This mapping project aims to answer that question, and many others:

  • Why should Aboriginal people be involved in research when the benefits are not realised for everyday wellbeing?
  • What is a better way of doing research so that the results are acted upon by policy and decision makers?
  • Why are Indigenous people more often the passengers of research rather than being the drivers?
  • How can research benefit be demonstrated, monitored, measured and valued?

Project Leader: Ngiyampaa academic Dr Mark J Lock. Email:

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Introduction: Aboriginal people have lived in the colonised land of New South Wales for well over 60,000 years through holistic knowledge and practice that demonstrate Aboriginal world views of research capacity and capability. However, with the arrival of colonisers came a deep disrespect towards Aboriginal knowledge and practice. There is much literature about the history of research and Aboriginal people which has resulted in a deep distrust of research, researchers, and research organisations. The Aboriginal Research Interest Group in Western NSW aims to reorient research governance to privilege Aboriginal peoples’ world views and to weave it together with non-Aboriginal world views through culturally safe and collaborative research partnership. This annotated and narrative literature review is one step on the pathway to building trust with Aboriginal communities, and it requires an understanding of the history of research development in Aboriginal communities in rural and regional areas.

The objectives of the annotated and narrative review are:

a) to assess how Aboriginal people were involved in the research,

b) collate descriptive statistics (paper type, journal topic, year, Aboriginal nation, author cultural identity, citations, etc.),

c) assess the impact of the research,

d) develop a database of research and researchers,

e) develop a research protocol for an Aboriginal Research Road Show to deeply engage with local Aboriginal nations, and

f) develop a culturally safe research protocol based on the findings of the review.

The methodology of the review is multifaceted through:

a) online research yarning group to discuss the project development and evolution,

b) open access development through website and social media engagement to drive community transparency,

c) keyword search of Google Scholar and academic databases,

d) Google Drive living document that is password protected,

e) weekly annotation of each article so that communities can see the development of key themes and subthemes, and

f) constantly searching for wide-ranging sources aligned with holistic health and wellbeing.

Method to find Western NSW Rural & Regional Research

  1. Identify Aboriginal nations in Western NSW: Barundji, Barindji, Gunu, Muruwari, Kamilaroi, Barranbinya, Ngemba, Wailwan, Wongaibon, and Wiradjuri peoples.
  2. Search each Aboriginal nation in academic databases and Google Scholar, and create Google Scholar alert.
  3. Search each township mentioned within Aboriginal nations. E.g., Barundji: Wilcania.
  4. Search academic databases: EBSCO, etc.


Search 1: “Bila Muuji” OR “Bourke Aboriginal Health” OR “Condobolin Aboriginal Health” OR “Coomealla Aboriginal” OR “Coonamble Health Aboriginal” OR “Dubbo Aboriginal Medical” OR “Murrin Bridge Aboriginal” – 57 results (not all were relevant)

Search 2: “Walgett Aboriginal Medical” OR “Weigelli Centre Aboriginal” OR “Wellington Aboriginal Health” OR Yoorana Gunya” – 56 results

Search 3: “Orange Aboriginal Medical” OR “Peak Hill Aboriginal Medical” OR “Pius X Aboriginal” – 47 results

Update 19th June 2020: Continuing to struggle to find time to devote to this unfunded activity! If you have some time to partner with me to continue this project then email

Abstract & Annotations

The results can be analysed in different ways to answer various questions depending on diverse interests. MJL is assessing each article from the angle of cultural safety and research governance.

Title: The Western NSW Eye Health Partnership Program. Authors: Barton, Joanna, Vail, Anne, Waddell, Colin and Hager, Jane. Year: 2015. Abstract: This paper demonstrates improvement in the regional and remote Western NSW eye health system, achieved by stakeholders forming a partnership that enables them to share information, plan and coordinate together.

Reference Type:  Conference Paper, 2015. Aboriginal organisation: Bila Muuji Aboriginal Health Services Inc. Topic: Eye Health. Annotated by: Mark Lock

This conference paper was the basis for a presentation at the 13th National Rural Health Conference in 2015, Darwin. The presenter was Ms Jane Hager (Senior Project Officer, Rural Health Network). The point of the conference presentation was about the partnership which was developed to address the disadvantage with inequitable access to ophthalmic and optometric services for Aboriginal people by sharing information, planning and coordinating together. Explicitly mentioned are nine Aboriginal community controlled health services (ACCHSs) and Bila Muuji Aboriginal Health Services Inc. The partnership produced an alliance, data collection, gap analysis and service mapping exercises, and funding for local public retinal surgery. Assessing if the impact of this program can be determined by looking at these links: Outback Eye Service (Joanna Barton); Evaluation of the Outback Eye Service, Vision Becomes a Reality (Daily Liberal News featuring Joanna Barton); IRIS – Indigenous and Remote Eye Health Service (Joanna Barton).

Related journal publication: ‘Eye health services for Aboriginal people in the western region of NSW, 2010’. Related NSW document: ‘Eye Health Services for Aboriginal People A Review within the Greater Western Region of NSW’. Media: Minister for Indigenous Australians puts eye health on the agenda.

Title: Women’s business: A pilot of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) self-sampling of Aboriginal women from rural Western NSW communities: Evaluating a Nurse-Led Community Engagement Model. Authors: Campbell, Ms Laurinne and Vail, BSW Mrs Anne. Year: 2017. Abstract: Report of evaluation of a nurse-led community engagement pilot of HPV self-sampling program conducted in Western NSW with Aboriginal women. Explicitly mentions partnership and co-design undertaken with Dubbo Aboriginal Medical Service and Local Aboriginal Land Councils. Pilot study wart of a trail of HPV self-sampling informing National Cervical Screening Program (December 2017).

Reference: Campbell, L., Vail, A., Pollard, G., Bailey, J., Dutton, T., Robinson, T., . . . Tiffen, R. (2017). HPV self-sampling for cervical cancer screening: engaging under-screened rural and remote Aboriginal women. Paper presented at the 14th National Rural Health Conference in 2017. Citations = 0 (Google Scholar, 7/05/2020)

Reference: Orange Aboriginal Medical Service mentioned in ‘Bathurst Rural Clinical School of Medicine senior lecturer Dr Jannine Bailey awarded research grant

Reference: Kelso Indigenous Chronic Disease Clinic-your one-stop health clinic. 13th National Rural Health Conference.

Reference: Dutton, T., Marjoram, J., Burgess, S., Campbell, L., Vail, A., Callan, N., . . . Bailey, J. (2020). Uptake and acceptability of human papillomavirus self-sampling in rural and remote Aboriginal communities: Evaluation of a nurse-led community engagement model.

Authors: Laurinne Campbell, Anne Vail, Georgia-Lee Pollard, Dr Jannine Bailey (member of WHRN), Tegan Dutton, A/Prof Tracy Robinson, Dr Sunil Jacob, Rene Wykes, Megan O’Connor, Cassandra Kelly, Nichole Callan, Kate McKay, Rozlyn Tiffen.

Organisations: Marathon Health, Bathurst Rural Clinical School, Western Sydney University, University of Canberra, Dubbo Medical and Allied Health Group,  and Murdi Paaki Regional Enterprise Corporation.

Reference: Orange Aboriginal Medical Service mentioned in ‘Bathurst Rural Clinical School of Medicine senior lecturer Dr Jannine Bailey awarded research grant

Title: The CSIRO National Telehealth Trial: significance for rural and remote health care. Author: Branko Celler. Year: 2017. Abstract: The results of the CSIRO National Telehealth trial were recently released and very widely publicised. In a Before and after Controlled Intervention (BACI) design involving >230 patients, the keynote results included a reduction of 46% in the rate of expenditure on medical services after one year, a 53.2% reduction in the rate of admission to hospital and a 70- 76% reduction in the rate of LOS. Patient acceptance of the technology was >83%, and >89% of care coordinators would recommend telemonitoring services to other patients. The return on investment, calculated as the ratio of net benefit to net cost of providing the telemonitoring service was estimated to be between 5-6 times. These results strongly suggest that new models of care for the management of chronic disease in the community, based on at home telemonitoring and care coordination can improve healthcare outcome and reduce hospitalisation in both urban and rural and remote settings. Aboriginal Organisation: Bila Muuji Aboriginal Health Services.

Reference Type:  Conference Paper, 2017. Aboriginal organisation: Bila Muuji Aboriginal Health Services Inc. Topic: Telehealth. Annotated by: Mark Lock

Assessment of Aboriginal community benefit

This conference paper was not published in a peer-reviewed journal article and it received no citations in Google Scholar (at 20/05/2020). The conference paper notes ‘A small pilot project using these simple low cost tele-monitoring services [low cost 3/4G wireless hubs] is currently under way in Western NSW and the Bila Muuji Aboriginal Health Services.’

Therefore, I searched Google Scholar using the term “Bila Muuji” telehealth and one result was the report ‘Western NSW Integrated Care Strategy Second Progress Report (2016)‘; then, I keyword searched “Bila Muuji” which took me to that section ‘Telehome monitoring’. This section noted funding ‘to trial in-home tele-health monitoring’ which ‘provided an opportunity for the LHD and Bila Muuji to collaborate on a second trial with in-home monitoring with Aboriginal clients and AHS staff’ (p. 26). The evaluation of the Western NSW Integrated Care Strategy is was due to be completed in September 2019 but there is no publicly available report as of May 2020. See the website of the University of NSW Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity for more information. In summary, there is scant publicly available information to assess if the telehealth has had any value for rural Aboriginal communities in the Western NSW Local Health District.

Photo by Mark Lock at the Parragirls Book Launch, 2019

Western NSW Aboriginal Research Interest Group (ARIG)

The ARIG is the forum to discuss “research” with Aboriginal communities in the Western NSW Local Health District. Come along to the monthly meetings and yarn about research. The 2020 meeting dates are:

  • Friday 28th February, 12-1pm
  • Friday 27th March, 12-1pm
  • Friday 24th April, 12-1pm
  • Friday 22nd May, 12-1pm
  • Friday 26th June, 12-1pm
  • Friday 24th July, 12-1pm
  • Friday 28th August, 12-1pm
  • Friday 25th September, 12-1pm
  • Friday 23rd October, 12-1pm
  • Friday 27th November, 12-1pm

For more information about these groups or to be sent regular updates please contact either: A/Prof Georgina Luscombe, University of Sydney School of Rural Health on

Photo by Mark Lock

Western NSW Health Research Network – Excellence in Aboriginal Health Research Webinar: 9th July, 12:30-2pm

This online webinar will present to you stimulating snapshots into the rewards of being a First Nations Researcher. You will see sections that touch on excellence in Aboriginal research, cultural identity, collaborative art and discussion, a challenging research quiz about ethics and standards, and practical next steps for aspiring Aboriginal researchers.

See the website:

Submit an abstract (close 1 July):