Dr Tamara Mackean

Dr Tamara Mackean
Dr Tamara Mackean

Senior Research Fellow, Southgate Institute for Health, Society and Equity, Flinders University

Dr Tamara Mackean is a Waljen woman of the Goldfields region of Western Australia (WA).  She is a Senior Research Fellow in the Southgate Institute for Health, Society and Equity at the Flinders University of South Australia (FUSA).  Her research activities span public health, mental health, health systems and pedagogical disciplines.

Dr Mackean is a Fellow of the Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine (FAFPHM), within the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP).  She is the Chairperson for the RACP’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Committee.  She is also a Board Member for the Lowitja Institute (2015-current) and an Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association Past President (2007-2009).

Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples – research principles and practice

Workshop, Thursday 25 May 0900–1030

Led by: Dr Mark Glazebrook, Director, Innovation and Business Development & Acting Director, Research and Knowledge Translation, The Lowitja Institute

The workshop will include presentations by Dr Tamara Mackean from Flinders University, and by Ms Tammy Abbott (Senior Research Officer), Ms Miliwanga Wurrben (Aboriginal Community Researcher) and Mr Rod Reeve (Managing Director), from the CRC for Remote Economic Participation.

Dr Mackean will talk about the Centre for Research Excellence in Social Determinants and Health Equity (CRE Health Equity), a collaborative NHMRC funded program of research exploring how equity is impacted through the development of social policy. The partners include Flinders University, Australian National University, the University of Sydney, the University of Otago and the Lowitja Institute.  The challenge for the team is to bring together different knowledge systems, including Indigenous knowledge in order to understand agenda setting, policy formulation, implementation and evaluation. This includes the development of analysis frameworks that take account of both political theory and Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing.

She will also discuss the ‘Analysis of key factors associated with Aboriginal suicide in SA’ project—funded by the Lowitja Institute—which is examining literature and coroners’ cases, alongside community and professional expertise, in order to develop a strengths based approach to suicide intervention and prevention. Coroners’ cases will be analysed with a coding framework that includes social and cultural determinants of Indigenous health such that key factors associated with suicide are relevant to Indigenous concepts of wellbeing.

The team from CRC–REP will discuss the building of opportunities for people living in remote Australia, which has been the focus of the ‘CRC for Remote Economic Participation’ and its predecessor ‘Desert knowledge CRC’, since 2003. Both CRCs were managed by Ninti One Limited, based in Alice Springs and worked across 85% of the Australian landmass. Over 200 Aboriginal Community Researchers (ACRs) have been employed on these two CRCs, to conduct research in remote communities so that evidence-based policies and practices can be developed for use by communities and also by policy-makers in government and the private sector such as mining companies. The ACRs often live in remote communities and they are culturally empathetic, can work bilingually in an inclusive, respectful and genuinely consultative way. This session will describe the approaches, methodologies and lessons learnt from using this valuable ACR capability, and it will include research case studies from across remote Australia.