(P100040)| Volume 25, SUPPLEMENT 2, S8-S9, November 2022

Community participation in the design and development of a physical activity and psychosocial program for Indigenous girls: Processes, experiences and lessons learnt

      Introduction: Recent social changes in political and academic thinking have improved the way Indigenous health research is conducted. A wealth of resources containing theoretical and practical guidance are now available to support academics and health practitioners when engaging Indigenous peoples in research. Despite this evolution of practice, Indigenous health disparities still pervade, indicating something is missing in the Indigenous health research toolbox. One identified gap is a lack of documented experiences detailing how broad ethical guidelines and principles may be practically applied. This presentation will 1) describe the research processes involved in co-designing a physical activity and psychosocial health program for young Indigenous girls and 2) highlight key learnings of the collaborative research journey from an intercultural lens.
      Methods: Information and guidance regarding appropriate research engagement with Indigenous peoples were gathered over the project’s first year. Data gathering activities included: a review of relevant literature, discussions at team meetings, a consultative workshop with Indigenous community members, and briefings from an Aboriginal Reference Committee. This information was then aligned with the Criteria for Strengthening Reporting of Health Research involving Indigenous Peoples (CONSIDER) statement and used to document participatory research activities undertaken with an Indigenous community-based partner. Both Indigenous and non-Indigenous members of the research team engaged in critical reflection to identify lessons learnt and inform future projects in other community health settings.
      Results and discussion: The CONSIDER statement provided a valuable framework for documenting key processes and detailing how Indigenous research principles were prioritised throughout the research journey. Researchers identified an inherent tension between participatory research principles and the expectations of funding agencies and academia. Consequently, research timelines and activities must be flexible to allow for sufficient community engagement and unforeseen community events. It is also essential for researchers and community stakeholders to embrace personal tensions that may occur whilst working at the cultural interface. Tensions may be linked to the reorientation of power dynamics associated with participatory research or the pressures Indigenous researchers face from community and academia to ensure a culturally appropriate project. Furthermore, differences in professional and cultural knowledge systems need to be acknowledged and accounted for within the early stages of a research project to ensure transparent communication and informed decision making.
      Impact and application to the field:
      • This paper details how an intercultural and intersectoral research team engaged in a participatory Indigenous health research project, providing a template for future research and practice collaborations.
      • Identified lessons learnt will assist academics, practitioners and relevant stakeholders in future design, development, and delivery of Indigenous health promotion programs, ensuring the most appropriate health solutions are devised. However, it must be recognised that each Indigenous community is unique, and this must be accounted for when applying these key learnings.
      Conflict of interest statement: My co-authors and I acknowledge that we have no conflict of interest of relevance to the submission of this abstract.