Career Pathways for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Professionals
- THRI Investigators: Ilse Blignault, Jannine Bailey, Christine Carriage
- Funded by: Lowitja Institute through UNSW Sydney
Expanding and strengthening the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health professional workforce is recognised as crucial for improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. The ‘Career Pathways Project’ aimed to provide insights and guidance to enhance the capacity of the health system to retain and support the development and careers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the health workforce. This national research project incorporated a concurrent mixed-methods design, gathering and bringing together qualitative and quantitative data from a range of primary and secondary sources. Five ‘pillars of action’ for successful career pathways were identified: Leadership and self-determination, Cultural safety, Valuing cultural strengths, Investment in the workforce and workplace, and Education and training.
Evaluation of the acceptability and clinical utility of the Arabic Mindfulness Intervention
- Chief Investigator: Ilse Blignault
- Funded by: South Eastern Sydney Local Health District
In 2015, SESLHD Multicultural Health Service and Mental Health Service embarked on an evaluation of the acceptability and clinical utility of a Mindfulness CD tailored for Arabic-speakers. Phase 1 of the research, in which Arabic-speaking community members were engaged individually to participate in the five week self-management intervention, has been completed. Results demonstrated both clinical utility and cultural acceptability, with significant changes in Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale post intervention and at follow up. Phase 2 of this project will explore the acceptability and clinical utility of the Arabic Mindfulness CD when Arabic-speaking women are engaged in a community group setting.
Evaluation of collective healing programs
- Chief Investigator: Ilse Blignault
Project Partner: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation
Evaluation has a key role to play in helping Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to strengthen their own healing practices, as well as encouraging broader support for collective healing models. In order to fulfil this role evaluation must be undertaken in a way that reflects an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander worldview; is accountable to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities; and acknowledges and respects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures, and knowledge systems. This project involves a review of Indigenous healing project reports and interviews with experienced evaluators.
Evaluation of two initiatives within St Vincent's Hospital Homeless Health Service: COMET and Tierney House
- Researchers: Dr Elizabeth Conroy and Ms Lauren Kadwell, Dr Rebecca Reeve (Centre for Social Impact UNSW), Prof Paul Flatau (Centre for Social Impact UWA)
- Funded by St Vincent's Hospital Darlinghurst
This evaluation aims to: i) document the health needs and outcomes of service users accessing COMET and Tierney House; and ii) measure the extent to which the two services are delivering effective health care to individuals experiencing homelessness. COMET provides outreach assessment and treatment for sub-acute health problems while Tierney House provides residential support for homeless adults requiring non-acute health care (such as post-surgical recovery and convalescence following a hospital stay or stabilisation on medication for chronic health problems). The study will use a range of methods including analysis of hospital separations and emergency department presentations pre- and post-service delivery to examine changes in presenting health needs and service utilisation; a survey of key stakeholders to identify ; and case studies of service users to document referral and treatment pathways. A cost effectiveness analysis will also be undertaken to examine the health costs of those utilising the COMET and Tierney House services, the recurrent and capital costs of delivering these two services and the extent to which they are offset by any health savings costs.
The first output from this project is a Research Bulletin that summarises some of the key findings from the project.
Research Bulletin PDF, 483.55 KB (opens in a new window)
Emotional responses to food and neurobiological response in children and adults (Emotions and Food)
- Researchers: Phillipa Hay, Sloane Madden, Simon Clarke, Michael Kohn, Perminder Sachdev, Stephen Touyz, Mark Williams, Brooke Adam, Vaughan Macefield, Luke Henderson, Beatriz Martin Monzon
Central to an eating disorder are sufferer's thoughts, behaviors and feelings around food, and the impact of the former on weight and body image. Cognitive and behavioral aspects of eating disorders have been widely recognized as important to the identification, theoretical understanding and development of treatments. Exploration of functional brain imaging and emotive responses is still in its infancy in the area of eating disorders. Hence this study aims to examine participants' emotional and neurobiological responses to images of food via questionnaires and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The study will include a sample of adults, adolescents and children with eating disorders.
An examination of family homelessness: A study of families accessing Mission Australia Centre Kingswood (MAC-K)
- Researchers: Dr Elizabeth Conroy , Dr Chloe Parton , Dr Lauren Shone
- Funded by Mission Australia
This mixed methods study will explore the risk and protective factors for family homelessness. It aims to answer the question of why some families become homeless while other families do not, given similar experiences of disadvantage. The primary outcome of the project will be an assessment framework to assist staff in identifying and responding to families at risk of homelessness.
Phase 1 is a qualitative study involving semi-structured interviews with MAC-K service users and their support workers. Service users will be purposively sampled to include a range of family types (e.g. grandparent-headed household, young single mother, parent without custody of children) and risk pathways (e.g. child protection, family breakdown, financial stress). A thematic analysis of narratives will be conducted in which meaning-making and experiences of resilience, family and key life events that have led the client participants to their current situation will be examined. Phase 2 is a quantitative study that further explores risk and resilience factors identified during Phase 1. This second stage will involve a cross-sectional survey of homeless and non-homeless families in Western Sydney. The survey will measure associations between resilience and risk and protective factors such as family conflict and cohesion, social support, and social problem solving.
Evaluation of the relative efficacy and mechanisms of a couple based intervention for Premenstrual Syndrome through a randomised control trial using mixed methods
- Researchers: Jane Ussher, Janette Perz (CI), & Edith Weisberg (PI)
- Funded by an ARC Discovery Grant ($430,000)
Of 9,689 Australian women recently surveyed nationally, 33% reported moderate or severe premenstrual symptoms (PMS). Whilst relationships have been identified as a significant factor in the experience of premenstrual distress, to date, there has been no systematic description or evaluation of couple-based PMS interventions. This research study will do this, comparing couple-based support to both one-to-one and self-help support, helping health-care providers understand the experience and treatment of PMS in the context of family relationships, thereby reducing PMS, and the physical and psychological distress associated with it. This will lead to improved psychological wellbeing and quality of life for women and their families, a priority area for the ARC.
Download the Self-Help Guide PDF, 289.82 KB (opens in a new window)
Multiple perspectives on sexuality and intimacy post-cancer, leading to the development and evaluation of supportive interventions
- Researchers: Jane Ussher, Janette Perz, Emilee Gilbert (CI) Gerry Wain, Kendra Sundquist, Gill Batt, Kim Hobbs, Laura Kirsten (PI)
- Funded by an ARC Linkage Grant ($585,308)
Sexuality and intimacy are key aspects of quality of life detrimentally affected by cancer, resulting in significant reductions in well-being for people with cancer and their partners. However, health professionals rarely address this important health problem, and little is known about the factors which predict difficulties or re-negotiation of sexuality post-cancer. This study will examine the experience and construction of intimacy and sexuality post-cancer, from the perspective of people with cancer, their partners, and health professionals, and elucidate pathways to difficulty or re-negotiation. Based on these findings, programs of targeted couple interventions will be developed, and evaluated in a randomised controlled trial.
Download the latest Sexuality, Intimacy and Cancer Self-Help Guide (opens in a new window)
Michael's Intensive Supported Housing Accord (MISHA) Evaluation (2011-2014)
- Researchers: Paul Flatau, Lucy Burns, Elizabeth Conroy, Bridget Spicer, Tony Eardley
- Funded by Mission Australia through a philanthropic donation ($230,568)
The MISHA Project was a collaborative research venture with Mission Australia that commenced in late 2010. It aimed to evaluate Michael's Intensive Supportive Housing Accord (MISHA), a 'housing-first'-type model that provided housing and case management for 75 chronically-homeless men in the Parramatta area. The evaluation involved: 1) Two year longitudinal client survey examining outcomes with respect to housing, economic and social participation, and physical and mental health; 2) In-depth interviews with clients and caseworkers to explore the critical success factors and barriers for the project; and 3) Cost analysis that modelled the savings associated with providing the MISHA service compared to the costs that would have been incurred by the government if the sample had remained homeless. The baseline and 12-month findings have been published and the 24 month findings are available in the From Homelessness to Sustained Housing: MISHA Research Report 2010-2013 PDF, 2405.97 KB (Opens in a new window). It is hoped that the findings from this research will inform housing and homelessness policy and improve the design of similar programs in the future.
In November 2014, the MISHA Evaluation won theExcellence in Social Impact Measurement award (opens in a new window). The award was presented by the Social Impact Measurement Network of Australia (SIMNA) and recognises best practice in outcomes measurement in the social sector.
An evaluation of the Inner City Drift Project (2012-2013)
- Researchers: Elizabeth Conroy
System and Services Integration in the mental health, drug and alcohol and homelessness sectors (2009-2011)
- Researchers: Elizabeth Conroy