A Series of Community-Driven Research Capacity-Strengthening Workshops in the Torres Strait
February 21 -22: Asking the right questions (Completed)
May 16 – 17: Ways to address the questions in an ethical and cultural context
August 15 – 16: Collecting and handling the information
November 14 – 15: What to do with the results
December 2019: Last participant feedback
At the Hot North Conference on Thursday Island in July 2018 many participants expressed the view that it was time for a local research capacity-building program for Torres Strait and NPA researchers, and people interested in research. This message was amplified at the opening of the Thursday Island Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Research (AITHM) building in November when there was an accompanying afternoon workshop “Approaching a Community-Driven Research Agenda”. This initiative is the response. It has the support of the Torres Strait Health Sciences Research Subcommittee [chaired by Romina Fujii], the AITHM and Queensland Health.
Community-Driven Research Capacity-Building 2019 aims to promote community-driven and community-owned research through local capacity-strengthening. The intention is to foster home-grown research skills; as such, the workshops aim to have each participant achieve a research output by the end of the year. It was a surprise when so many people expressed an interest to participate; three times the expected number. As such, the initiative is likely to contribute to formation of a local nucleus of increasingly adept researchers. This is a long-term investment in the research capability of the region and health of the people. We’re careful not to call this a project; projects come to an end. This is a beginning.
Community-Driven Research Capacity-Building 2019 will be based around four 2-day workshops on Thursday Island. Copies of the workshop program and an outline of the first workshop are attached. The workshops will be similar to the WHO SORT-IT program; but we decided not to use the SORT-IT material because the local Workshop Consultative Group of senior Torres Strait Islanders preferred to develop a program unique to local culture and health needs.
The workshops will avoid didactic teaching and opt for a learn-by-doing, adopting a small working-group approach. Between workshops, Malcolm McDonald, Luisa Roeder [Research Support Officer] and the Workshop Consultative Group will be available by email/ SMS to provide support for researchers developing proposals and other related activities.
Quality assessment: There will be built-in feedback from participants, with an anonymous survey at the end of each workshop. The Workshop Consultative Group will also keep a close eye on progress and intervene to change direction as required.