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NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre supports the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament for better First Nations health outcomes.
On 1 September, the Faculty of Medicine and Health at the University of Sydney released the following statement confirming their support of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament:
“Improving health and wellbeing outcomes in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities is inexorably linked to their right to self-determination, to being treated with respect, and to being protected from discrimination. The Uluru Statement from the Heart’s call for the constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through a Voice to Parliament requires that we listen to and be led by First Nations Australians in reimagining healthcare in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Whilst encouraging individual, academic freedom and respecting differences of opinion, the Faculty of Medicine and Health is proud to support a constitutionally enshrined Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament. We unequivocally accept the Uluru Statement’s invitation for all Australians to walk together for a better, healthier future.”
As part of the Faculty of Medicine and Health, the NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre (CTC) wholeheartedly recognises the importance of the statement to clinical trials and related research. As professionals working in the field of generating high quality evidence, we recognise the profound impact that government policies and decisions can have on the health and well-being of all communities, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations.
Clinical trials are essential for advancing medical knowledge, improving healthcare outcomes and addressing unmet needs. The effectiveness of these trials is closely tied to the inclusivity and representation of diverse populations, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Historically, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have expressed hesitancy to engage with clinical trials and wider public healthcare due to a legacy of mistrust fostered by ethical and cultural violations. An official Voice to Parliament for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples would help empower these communities to actively participate in shaping healthcare policies and research agendas that directly affect them.
In the realm of clinical trials, this means involving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in the design, implementation, and oversight of research initiatives that impact their health. It means acknowledging and respecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge systems and traditional healing practices. It also means ensuring that clinical trials are culturally sensitive and accessible to all, with a focus on improving healthcare outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. These principles are embedded in the CTC’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Trials Working Group. We want to work closely with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community to support the engagement of more people with clinical trials.
Together, we can create a more inclusive and equitable healthcare system that truly serves the needs of all Australians, including our First Nations communities.
Meg Jardine and the CTC Management Committee