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GenV’s approach to incorporating First Nations knowledge

GenV respects and honours the deep connection that First Nations peoples have to their culture, community and country. We humbly acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Owners of the land and are grateful for their blessing of safe travel on their country.

Supporting NAIDOC week 2022 which runs 3-10 July, and in recognition of this year’s theme — Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up! — we take a moment to reflect on a long history of inequality in health and research outcomes experienced by First Nations people. GenV has an opportunity to help achieve stronger health and research outcomes that reflect the important interests and priorities of First Nations communities.

At GenV, every family matters to us. Inclusivity is a fundamental driver of our recruitment approach to ensure the benefits generated by GenV, can be applied and accessed by everyone. We know due to history and experiences of First Nations peoples, that building trust in GenV is vital to enable participation. We hope by listening, learning and collaborating we can help build community interest of GenV.

Equitable distribution of research benefits

“Whether it’s seeking proper environmental, cultural and heritage protections, Constitutional change, a comprehensive process of truth-telling, working towards treaties, or calling out racism—we must do it together.” – www.naidoc.org.au (© Commonwealth of Australia 2020)

It is important that medical research considers our history and removes barriers for communities to participate in research. GenV is addressing these barriers by considering all population groups in its design and implementation, and will draw from First Nations advice on the use of GenV data for future research. We hope to build on our strengths and continue to improve the health and wellbeing of First Nations children and families, in ways that are equitable and of value for First Nations communities.

Working in partnership

To help strengthen community consent for participation in GenV within First Nations communities, a range of culturally responsive initiatives have been developed. This includes the establishment of a First Nations Advisory Group to provide culturally appropriate advice and ideas; and the delivery of First Nations cultural awareness education for staff.

GenV’s First Nations Advisory Group and First Nations Engagement Officer, Melena Atkinson, a proud Yorta Yorta and Torres Strait Islander woman, is designing, leading and overseeing our community engagement, supported by GenV.

Standing together with NAIDOC, we hope to elevate the voice of First Nations people, and in doing so, create a culturally safe space for families to participate in GenV.

This approach will also drive the First Nations research program. Working in partnership with community leaders, Elders, academics and First Nations led organisations, it is hoped this program will set a precedent of how to conduct truly First Nations led research and collaboration; and help build a social contract with First Nations communities. GenV hopes that meaningful research findings will lead to improved and responsive policy and practice. This research includes comparing geographic strengths, impacts of COVID (direct and indirect), and studies to trial tailored improvement strategies.

We are so grateful to all the First Nations cultural knowledge owners, who are, or have been involved in GenV. We hope together our collaborative efforts will lead to positive change and improve the health and wellbeing of First Nations children and future generations.

The 2022 NAIDOC logo is provided under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-N4 4.0)

GenV Team
Article by GenV Team