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Participatory action research opens doors: Mentoring Indigenous researchers to improve midwifery in urban Australia

  • Sophie D. Hickey
    Correspondence
    Corresponding author.
    Affiliations
    Midwifery Research Unit, Mater Medical Research Institute-University of Queensland, Level 2, Aubigny Place, Raymond Tce, South Brisbane QLD 4101, Australia
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  • Sarah-Jade Maidment
    Affiliations
    Midwifery Research Unit, Mater Medical Research Institute-University of Queensland, Level 2, Aubigny Place, Raymond Tce, South Brisbane QLD 4101, Australia
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  • Kayla M. Heinemann
    Affiliations
    Midwifery Research Unit, Mater Medical Research Institute-University of Queensland, Level 2, Aubigny Place, Raymond Tce, South Brisbane QLD 4101, Australia
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  • Yvette L. Roe
    Affiliations
    Midwifery Research Unit, Mater Medical Research Institute-University of Queensland, Level 2, Aubigny Place, Raymond Tce, South Brisbane QLD 4101, Australia
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  • Sue V. Kildea
    Affiliations
    Midwifery Research Unit, Mater Medical Research Institute-University of Queensland, Level 2, Aubigny Place, Raymond Tce, South Brisbane QLD 4101, Australia

    School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work, University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia
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Published:November 08, 2017DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wombi.2017.10.011

      Abstract

      Problem

      There is increasing demand for capacity building among the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Indigenous) maternal and infant health workforce to improve health outcomes for mothers and babies; yet few studies describe the steps taken to mentor novice Indigenous researchers to contribute to creating a quality evidence-base in this space.

      Background

      The Indigenous Birthing in an Urban Setting study is a partnership project aimed at improving maternity services for Indigenous families in South East Queensland.

      Aim

      To describe our experience setting up a Participatory Action Research team to mentor two young Indigenous women as research assistants on the Indigenous Birthing in an Urban Setting study.

      Methods

      Case study reflecting on the first six months.

      Findings

      Participatory Action Research was a very effective method to actively mentor and engage all team members in reflective, collaborative research practice, resulting in positive changes for the maternity care service. The research assistants describe learning to conduct interviews and infant assessments, as well as gaining confidence to build rapport with families in the study. Reflecting on the stories shared by the women participating in the study has opened up a whole new world and interest in studying midwifery and child health after learning the difficulties and strengths of families during pregnancy and beyond.

      Discussion

      We encourage others to use Participatory Action Research to enable capacity building in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander midwifery workforce and in health research more broadly.

      Keywords

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