Quality of life (e.g. wellbeing) can be severely affected for cultural or social minority groups when available mainstream services are incongruent to their needs. Governments can struggle to engage these populations in empowering ways towards the delivery of appropriate services and consequent wellbeing gains.
This research project aims to understand the interplay between key influences on wellbeing towards driving effective policy and service delivery and so has developed a framework and set of research tools to allow both government (top-down) and community (ground-up) input and partnerships. This involvement and empowerment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in solutions is part of the Interplay Wellbeing Framework, which offers equal respect and representation across groups.
The Framework aims to represent cultural and community values objectively to understand their impact on wellbeing. A collaborative and capacity development shared-space model was used to bring together partners in science, community and government to develop the Framework. Being both ground-up and top-down, the shared-space model engaged end users as contributors to the project. The Interplay Wellbeing Framework and methodology serve as tools to map, investigate and assess the interaction between culture, community, empowerment, education, employment, health and wellbeing in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in remote Australia.
Developed through a combination of robust science and community development, and validated in this context, the Interplay Wellbeing Framework can be used for engagement, planning, evaluation, communication, decision-making and for working in partnerships. It can also be tailored for specific applications in broad-reaching areas. Expansion of this research offers cumulative value for the wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in remote Australia. The rationale, process and development of research tools are described here. Data are currently being collected against the Framework in a prospective cohort design.