Poche Summer Research Scholarship Program

The UQ Poche Centre facilitates a range of research opportunities for undergraduate, honours and masters by coursework students through the UQ Summer Research Program.

The Centre brings together Indigenous and health expertise across the University, and works collaboratively with Indigenous community organisations and health providers. A core objective of the Centre is the development of a skilled, culturally responsive health workforce.

The UQ Summer Research Program provides you with an opportunity to gain research experience working alongside some of the university’s leading academics and researchers and is coordinated by the UQ Student Employability Centre. All Summer Research scholars are eligible to apply for a scholarship for the duration of their research (between 6-10 weeks). 

Broad requirements for the Poche Centre Summer Research Scholarships

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students are especially encouraged to apply.
  • Students must be currently enrolled at UQ at the time of application.
  • Students must be studying for a degree relevent to the research discipline.
  • Students must have a high level of academic achievement.

Further information for applicants is available on the UQ Student Employability Centre website.

Applications for 2019-2020 are now closed.

It is expected that scholars will work a minimum of 20 hours per week in each week of the research program. Please note that some positions require scholars to work on a full-time basis (up to 36 hours per week), and the expected workload is set by each supervisor. The scholar and the supervisor are able to negotiate the duration of the project and the workload requirements. 

FASD prevention and support in Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

Project title:

FASD prevention and support in Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

Project duration: 8 weeks, with a minimum of 20hrs/week
Preferred commencement date: 25 November 2019
Background:

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a diagnostic term that describes the permanent neurodevelopmental impairments that result from prenatal alcohol exposure and is the most common non-genetic developmental disorder in Australia. Individuals with FASD may have a range of physical, emotional, behavioural, cognitive and social difficulties in addition to significantly lower average life expectancy. The actual prevalence in Australia is unknown, but is estimated at 0.6 per 1000 births. However, based on alcohol consumption and FASD prevalence data in comparable countries, FASD prevalence in Australia is likely higher than this.

Rates of FASD are not substantially different between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (hereafter, respectfully, Indigenous) and non-Indigenous Australians. But FASD is commonly perceived as an Indigenous problem, based on negative stereotypical portrayals of Indigenous people. For many Indigenous women, socio-economic disadvantage and discrimination intersects with historical and contemporary trauma, grief and loss, ongoing impact of colonization, the Stolen Generations, and the loss of language, culture and country thereby increasing the risk of alcohol-exposed pregnancies.

Some remote Aboriginal communities have been highly proactive in determining FASD prevalence and developing community-led prevention activities (eg Fitzroy and Ord Valleys in Western Australia). Many other communities have FASD related services, but these are programs are less well developed and information about these programs is not readily accessible.

This project aims to create a register of Indigenous FASD related programs in Australia. To achieve this, the published and grey literature will be searched, and the key characteristics and outcomes of programs relating to prevention, diagnosis and assessment, and management of FASD will be documented.

Expected outcomes & deliverables: 

Scholars will gain skills in searching published and grey literature, and synthesising and presenting information to ensure its accessibility for a diverse audience. Scholars may have an opportunity to generate a publication from their research, and will be asked to produce a report at the end of their project.

Suitable for:

This project is open to 3rd or 4th year students in a health related field. Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students are preferred.

Primary supervisor: Associate Professor Deborah Askew
Further information:

Prospective scholars may wish to contact A/Prof Deb Askew for further details.

Transformative cultural education for Game-Changing Educators in Indigenous Health: Students’ perspectives

Project title:

Transformative cultural education for Game-Changing Educators in Indigenous Health: Students’ perspectives​

Project duration:

8-10 weeks (negotiable), with a minimum of 20 hours per week

Preferred commencement date: 25 November 2019 (negotiable)
Background:

This qualitative research project will investigate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students’ perspectives on the teaching of Indigenous health in the Doctor of Medicine program at UQ, with the aim to improve both Indigenous and non-Indigenous student experiences, and to enable culturally safe achievement of program graduate competencies related to Indigenous health practice. The project seeks to understand Aboriginal and/ or Torres Strait Islander medical students’ perspectives on current teaching and ways to improve the teaching of Indigenous health as well as what knowledge sources and range of experiences have informed students’ perspectives e.g. literature, experiences, sharing of experiences from fellow students.  

Expected outcomes & deliverables: 

The student will be involved in the interviewing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students enrolled in the MD.

The student will gain skills in data collection, data analysis and may have the opportunity to contribute to a publication from their research.

Suitable for:

This project is suitable for students with a background in health and/or social science.

Primary supervisor:

Dr Leanne Coombe and A/Prof Jon Willis

Further information:

Interested students can contact Dr Leanne Coombe for more information.

Racism in the Health Justice System

Project title:

Racism in the Health Justice System

Project duration:

10 weeks (Commencing 18 November to 13 Dec; 13 January to 14 February). Hours to be confirmed, but estimate 29hrs per week.

Preferred commencement date: 18 November 2019 (negotiable)
Background:

The Australian Government’s National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan, the 10-year plan for the direction of Indigenous health policy from 2013 to 2023, imagines an ‘Australian health system free of racism and inequality’. Implicit in this vision is the recognition that racism inhibits Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ from receiving equitable care and, consequently, undermines Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s well-being. That is, racism has real and profound consequences for the health and well-being of Indigenous peoples. As Dennis McDermott observes, ‘racism is not only an everyday occurrence for many Indigenous Australians, but also one that gets under the skin, and “makes us sick”’.

Despite this high-level commitment and the recognition that racism has a negative impact upon Indigenous peoples’ health, much of the work done to date examines how racism creates barriers to accessing health care or compromises the quality of care provided. Few have considered the ways in which, for Indigenous peoples, racism may not only impact access to and quality of care but render Indigenous bodies as beyond care. Critical race and settler colonial scholarship suggests that the pervasive myth of the ‘dying race’ continues to be read onto Indigenous bodies. This approach suggests that state actors such as medical staff and police officers may pathologize Indigenous patients in ways that render them ‘already dead’ through assumptions about alcohol and drug use and mental health status.

The recent coronial inquest into the death of Ms Dhu, a 22-year-old Yamatji woman who died in police custody after suffering from lack of adequate medical care, evidences the ways the coronial process is ‘a mode of conquest, a trauma-inducing theatre of power, and in which displays of Ms Dhu’s suffering on police and hospital CCTV footage played a central and unresolved role’. Through this footage, police officers and medical staff are seen to dismiss her as a ‘fucking junkie,’ labelling her a ‘difficult patient to assess’ with ‘behavioural issues’. Not only does the criminal justice system disregard her pain and treat her as underserving of care, but the health system perpetuates this violence by regarding her as one of ‘those people’ who are inherently sick, unruly and underserving.

The aim of this project is to conduct a quantitative survey of the findings of coronial inquiries across Australian state and territory jurisdictions from 2000-2018, to identify cases involving preventable Indigenous deaths in the health system.

Expected outcomes & deliverables: 

Applicants involved in this project can expect to gain a better understanding of the health justice system. The applicant will gain skills in data collection and analysis. A key outcome of the project is to collate and analyse coronial cases relating to preventable Indigenous deaths in the health system.

Suitable for:

This project is open to applications from students with a background in social sciences, political science, law, health sciences, 3-4 year students, UQ enrolled students only.

Primary supervisor:

Ms Helena Kajlich and A/Prof Chelsea Bond

Further information:

For any information, please contact h.kajlich@uq.edu.au

The Trouble with Culture: Rationalising Indigenous health inequality

Project title:

The Trouble with Culture: Rationalising Indigenous health inequality

Project duration:

10 weeks, with a minimum of 20 hours per week

Preferred commencement date: 25 November 2019 (Commencement date can be negotiated)
Background:

The persisting health inequalities that Indigenous people experience reveal race as a powerful predictor of health and illness in Australian society today. Using critical race theory, this research will illuminate our understanding of, and ability to address Indigenous health inequality, transforming public health understandings of race and racism and providing the necessary foundational work for the construction of a race-critical Australia public health.

Expected outcomes & deliverables: 

The student will be required to complete tasks related to a desktop analysis of public health conceptualisations of identity, race and culture, to inform the development of a literature review. 

Suitable for:

This project welcomes applications from UQ students with an interest in Indigenous health and a background in health sciences, social sciences or a related field, preferably with an understanding of and/or experience working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Primary supervisor:

 Associate Professor Chelsea Bond

Further information:

Prospective scholars may wish to contact A/Prof Chelsea Bond for further details.

Integrated health-justice partnership

Project title: 

Integrated health-justice partnership

Project duration:

8 weeks

Description:

The Institute for Urban Indigenous Health (IUIH) has recently established a Health-Justice partnership (HJP), locating legal services within IUIH clinics. The intent was to integrate legal expertise and a justice framework into the delivery of comprehensive health services for individuals and families with complex needs. In 2018, the HJP was formally recognised as the 34th Community Legal Centre in Queensland.

Whilst the pilot phase of establishment of the program initially focused on the Moreton Bay region, IUIH is now seeking to expand the geographic reach of the Health Justice Partnership across South East Queensland.

This project will review the first 2 years of establishment and operation of this unique model of HJP, and explore service design and development opportunities through a qualitative research lens.

Expected outcomes and deliverables:

Applicants involved in this project can expect to gain a better understanding of the role of legal services in a health and well-being service context. Students will gain an understanding of the role of a Health Justice Partnership in an Aboriginal Community Controlled setting, and will also develop skills in qualitative research and service design.

Suitable for:

Students with a background in health and/or law will be prioritized.  3-4 year students, UQ enrolled students only.

Primary Supervisor:

 

Dr Leanne Coombe (UQ) and Simone Matthews (IUIH)

Further info:

It is not necessary to make contact prior to submitting an application, but if you have any questions you can email l.coombe@uq.edu.au

Improving access and uptake of NDIS packages by IUIH clients

Project title: 

Improving access and uptake of NDIS packages by IUIH clients

Project duration:

8 weeks

Description:

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a new way of providing support to Australians living with a significant and permanent disability. In late November 2017, the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health (IUIH) undertook a pilot, whereby a specific Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander NDIS access and support pathway would be managed by IUIH.

Concurrently, IUIH received funding from the Queensland Department of Communities to redress the lack of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community awareness about the NDIS through an NDIS Readiness Project that was implemented across SEQ during 2018.

This project aims to evaluate the effectiveness of the pilot project and identify strategies for improving access and uptake of NDIS packages by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples for future implementation.

Expected outcomes and deliverables:

Applicants involved in this project can expect to gain a better understanding of the NDIS and IUIH system of health care. More broadly, students will gain an understanding of Indigenous Australian culture, and develop skills in engaging with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people on their terms.

Students will also develop skills in qualitative research and project evaluation.

Suitable for:

Proactive, interested, students with good communication skills and an ability to work in a team are encouraged to apply. Students enrolled in any field are welcome to apply – students with a health background will be prioritized.  3-4 year students, UQ enrolled students only.

Primary Supervisor:

 

Dr Leanne Coombe in partnership with staff from IUIH

Further info:

It is not necessary to make contact prior to submitting an application, but if you have any questions you can email l.coombe@uq.edu.au

IUIH Executive Development Program

Project title: 

IUIH Executive Development Program

 

Project duration:

8 weeks

 

Description:

The Institute for Urban Indigenous Health (IUIH) unites, integrates and leads four community controlled health services in SEQ. The success of IUIH stems from its business model based on strong corporate governance, evidence-based decision-making, measurable performance and consistent service standards.

 

In order to ‘grow our own’ staff into leadership roles within its health service network, IUIH has invested significantly in its existing workforce, with the development and implementation of its own Executive Development Program to provide education for the next generation of Indigenous leaders in health.

 

This project aims to evaluate the effectiveness of the IUIH Executive Development Program.

 

Expected outcomes and deliverables:

Applicants involved in this project can expect to gain a better understanding of the IUIH system of health care, corporate governance, organisational development, leadership and management. More broadly, students will gain an understanding of Indigenous Australian culture, and develop skills in engaging with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people on their terms.

 

Students will also develop skills in qualitative research and project evaluation.

 

Suitable for:

Students enrolled in any field are welcome to apply – students with a health, social sciences or business background will be prioritized.  3-4 year students, UQ enrolled students only.

Primary Supervisor:

 

Dr Leanne Coombe (UQ) and Dr Alison Nelson (IUIH)

 

Further info:

It is not necessary to make contact prior to submitting an application, but if you have any questions you can email l.coombe@uq.edu.au

 

Ella participated in the 2017 Winter Research Program and returned over the Summer to continue her work on the Indigenous Birthing in an Urban Setting Study. Her project was part of a longitudinal cohort study that aims to evaluate best practice maternity care to improve maternal and infant health outcomes for Indigenous families in South East Queensland.