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Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin Alcohol and other drugs knowledge centre Yarning Places

Indigenous resiliency project



The Indigenous resiliency project is part of an international collaboration that seeks to explore the role of resiliency in responding to sexually transmissible infections (STIs) and blood borne viruses (BBVs) in Indigenous communities in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. The ultimate aim of this project is to identify strategies related to resiliency to inform public health and clinical practice thus decreasing the risk of STI and BBV transmission among Indigenous peoples.

In Australia the project is funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and is being actioned through the collaborative efforts of: the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services; Townsville Aboriginal and Islanders Health Service; Aboriginal Medical Service, Redfern; Derbarl Yerrigan Health Service, Perth; a research institution; the National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research; and several independent Indigenous researchers.

Each project site involves a locally employed site coordinator and health service staff, who work with a project-based qualitative study coordinator and university-based researcher, to conduct the project. The project also involves input from local youths who are invited to participate in the project as peer researchers. The role of the peer researchers is to contribute to the development of research material and assist in data collection, data analysis, and the dissemination of research findings. The project uses a qualitative research approach to explore protective factors against STIs and BBVs among Indigenous Australians aged 16 to 25 years in urban settings. Information is gathered through interviews and focus groups which seek to understand the meaning of sexual behaviour and drug use, and the contexts in which people contract or avoid STIs and BBVs.

By September 2009, 20 young people and many health service staff had been trained in qualitative sampling and interviewing. Indigenous researchers, peer researchers, and health service staff had also conducted 95 individual interviews and seven focus groups.


John Kaldor
Head and Professor of Epidemiology
Office of Head of Public Health Programs
National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research
Level 2
376 Victoria Street
Sydney NSW 2010
Ph: (02) 9385 0900
Fax: (02) 9385 0920

Related publications

Shipp M, Wilkes E, Kaldor K, Gray D (2013)

Celebrating strength: the role of resilience in responding to blood borne viruses and sexually transmitted infections among Indigenous communities.

HIV Australia; 11(3): 27-29

Mooney-Somers J, Olsen A, Erick W, Scott R, Akee A, Kaldor J, Maher L (2010)

Learning from the past: young Indigenous people's accounts of blood-borne viral and sexually transmitted infections as resilience narratives.

Culture, Health & Sexuality; 13(2): 173-186

Mooney-Somers J, Maher L (2009)

The Indigenous Resiliency Project: a worked example of community-based participatory research.

New South Wales Public Health Bulletin; 20(8): 112-118

National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research (2008)

Indigenous resiliency project participatory action research component: a report on the Research Training and Development Workshop.

Townsville: National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research


Last updated: 29 November 2013
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