Journal article

The case for a Torres Strait Islander‐driven, long‐term research agenda for environment, health and wellbeing

Health services accessibility Indigenous health Torres Strait Islanders Australia

Researchers and communities are seeking strategies to manage complex challenges regarding positive health for Torres Strait Islanders – a ‘wicked problem’ for which there is no straightforward solution.  Existing health frameworks identify cultural competency as crucial for patient‐centred care: strategies to increase the number of Indigenous health personnel and build a workforce with cultural capabilities aim to increase the effectiveness of health care.

Key Findings/Recommendations:

  • The significant body of research regarding Indigenous health has produced few improvements to overall health and wellbeing for Indigenous peoples.
  • Securing a better future for Torres Strait Islanders requires sustained commitment from researchers, academic institutions, community organisations and other interested people, and importantly, stable financial support. 
  •  Implementation and evaluation of the Torres Strait Regional Adaptation and Resilience Plan provides opportunity for research partners including the Torres Strait Islander Researchers’ Community of Practice to work collaboratively with local organisations and other researchers to build the foundation for a suitable Torres Strait research agenda over a 10–20‐year period.
  • Torres Strait communities are among the most vulnerable when the projected impacts of climate change in Australia's remote north are considered alongside the region's unique natural, social and cultural characteristics. The Torres Strait diaspora share this vulnerability because of their deep kinship, cultural ties and bequest values for future generations.
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