Aboriginal Patient Reported Outcome Measures – What are rural and remote perspectives? (post no. 2)

A key challenge to a culturally safe survey for Aboriginal PROMs is the cultural validity of the survey.

As Co-chair of the ACI Aboriginal Health Working Group for Patient Reported Measures (PRMs), I get to meet awesome people and hear their cultural voices.

I met Prof Gail Garvey, a Kamilaroi woman from NSW (and who lived in Newcastle). Her team is developing Australia’s first culturally validated tool to measure wellbeing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The project is called What Matters 2 Our Mob (see: https://whatmatters2ourmob.wordpress.com/).

Her team did a deadly literature review: Butler, T. L., Anderson, K., Garvey, G., Cunningham, J., Ratcliffe, J., Tong, A., Whop, L. J., Cass, A., Dickson, M., Howard, K., Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People’s domains of wellbeing: a comprehensive literature review, Social Science and Medicine (2019). https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0277953619303260

There are ‘nine broad interconnected wellbeing dimensions: autonomy, empowerment and recognition; family and community; culture, spirituality and identity; Country; basic needs; work, roles and responsibilities; education; physical health; and mental health.’

Ok, literature reviews are one thing but how does it translate into practice? There are other tools around right? Yes – see this massive spreadsheet: https://www.safetyandquality.gov.au/publications-and-resources/resource-library/patient-reported-outcome-measures-literature-review

Patient-reported outcome measures: Literature review. Centre for Health Services Development

Guess what? Those tools were not developed by engaging with First Nations Australians – our cultural voices are excluded from ‘mainstream’ patient survey tools. By definition and design, they are culturally dangerous. Thank goodness Gail and her team are doing this work!


Feel free to let the ACI know your cultural perspectives. Email ACI-PRM@health.nsw.gov.au to get in-touch with the PRMs Aboriginal Health Working Group: Email subject – PRMs Aboriginal Health Working Group:

  1. Email subject – PRMs Aboriginal Health Working Group Community of Interest meetings (this allows for opportunities to hear the voices of Aboriginal consumers and stakeholders in the development of the NSW Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs) Program)

2. Email subject – Aboriginal PROM Trial and Evaluation group participation.

3. You can also subscribe to general PRMs newsletter and community of interest here: https://aci.health.nsw.gov.au/statewide-programs/prms/connect

In the next post, I’ll talk about the surveys from the Bureau of Health Information. Mark Lock

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I apply my academic and cultural skills to editing your important writing. With a Doctor of Philosophy (Public Health), Master of Public Health, Honours in Nutrition, and a Bachelor of Science, I bring strong educational skills to my editing. As a First Nations Australia (Ngiyampaa), with First Fleet heritage (The Lucas Clan) and growing up in country NSW, I bring a unique cultural lens to my practice. My editing will empower your cultural safety - respecting your cultural identity, heritage, and values - so that your cultural voice shines through in your writing. If you need editing of your creative writing, academic writing, or report writing, then contact Cultural Safety Editing Service.

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