200,000 Indigenous people asked to be part of national study

29 June 2018

In an Australian first, the Australian National University will partner with key Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak bodies to conduct a national study of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander wellbeing.

The study name, 'Mayi Kuwayu' means 'to follow Aboriginal people over time' in Ngiyampaa language, the family language of the study's director, Associate Professor Ray Lovett from the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health at ANU.

"The survey includes questions that people have told us matter to them as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Those things include connection to country, cultural beliefs and knowledge, language, family, kinship and community, cultural expression and continuity and self-determination and leadership, along with health", Associate Professor Ray Lovett said.

The study will be rolled out in the second half of 2018 and will provide much needed evidence on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and its impact on health and wellbeing.

"The Aboriginal-led and governed study will be larger than any previous study of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults," said Dr Mark Wenitong, study co-investigator from the Apunipima Cape York Health Council. 

"It aims to provide information for communities, services and policy makers to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing."

The team has developed the survey questions with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from across the country over the last three years. An Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander governance committee will oversee the study, and ensure that it adheres to principles of Indigenous data sovereignty and governance.

All Aboriginal and or Torres Strait Islander people aged 16 years or older can be part of the study. Potential participants can contact the team at mkstudy@anu.edu.au, at the study website www.mkstudy.com.au, or by free call on 1800 531 600.

The study received funding from the Lowitja Institute and the National Health and Medical Research Council.

A protocol paper describing the study has recently been published in the journal BMJ Open: https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/8/6/e023861.share.

Our study partners include: