Ethics

The AH&MRC Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) operates as a fully constituted HREC under the National Health and Medical Research Council (NH&MRC) legislation.

The AH&MRC must also review all applications as greater than low-risk and approval is for all participants, not just Aboriginal participants.

A role of the AH&MRC Ethics Committee in considering applications for ethical approval for research projects and to ensure that the project represents the views and interests of Aboriginal people across New South Wales.

Why does AH&MRC have an Ethics Committee?

The AH&MRC Ethics Committee deals with not only ensuring that research is conducted in an ethical manner, but that research is also undertaken with Aboriginal people in a culturally appropriate manner. This means that there is community consultation at all levels and that the project is designed with the Aboriginal community.

Meetings

The Committee currently meets every six (6) weeks. An application must be received electronically on the Application Closing Date, failure to do so will result in your application being submitted to the next round.

The planned meeting dates are as follows:

MeetingApplication Closing DateMeeting Date
Final 2018 Meeting26th November 201810th December 2018
1 – 1922nd January 20195th February 2019
2 – 195th March 201919th March 2019
3 – 1916th April 201930th April 2019
4 – 194th June 201918th June 2019
5 – 1916th July 201930th July 2019
6 – 1927th August 201910th September 2019
7 – 1915th October 201929th October 2019
8 – 1926th November 201910th December 2019
Complaints

Complaints Handling Procedures

The AH&MRC Ethics Committee have established procedures for addressing complaints about ethical matters in current research in Aboriginal health. In general, this is meant to for research projects that have been approved by the Ethics Committee, but assistance may be provided for complaints relating to Aboriginal people or communities in general health research.

If you would like to submit a complaint regarding an AH&MRC Approved Application, please submit it below to ethics@ahmrc.org.au

Application process

Who should submit an application?

The Committee considers applications relating to research that may affect the health and well-being of Aboriginal people and communities.

The project should involve research in, or concerning, New South Wales. Where projects also involve research outside New South Wales, an ethics application must also be made to the relevant Aboriginal HREC(s) in the other states and territories.

An application should be made for research for which any one of the following applies:

  • The experience of Aboriginal people is an explicit focus of all or part of the research;
  • Data collection is explicitly directed at Aboriginal peoples;
  • Aboriginal peoples, as a group, are to be examined in the results;
  • The information has an impact on one or more Aboriginal communities;
  • Aboriginal health funds are a source of funding.

The above criteria is endorsed by the NSW Ministry of Health Office of Health and Medical Research and can be found under the NSW Ministry of Health Policy Directive PD2010_055.

Desirable and Additional Criteria

The Committee advises an application should be made if your project meets any of the below criteria:

  • Any of the five factors listed above are present; or
  • The Aboriginal experience of the medical condition being studied is known, or is likely, to be different from the overall population; or
  • There are Aboriginal people who use the services being studied in distinctive ways, or who have distinctive barriers that limit their access to the services; or
  • Aboriginal people are known, or likely, to be significantly over-represented in the group being studied (compared to the 3.4% of total NSW population) and/or it is proposed to separately identify data relating to Aboriginal people at any stage in the project.
What happens after you submit an application?

Following the closing date your application will be reviewed by two or more committee members (if required, an external reviewer) and then all reviews will be provided to the committee to be discussed at the upcoming meeting. An external reviewer will be chosen on the basis of their expertise and experience in the subject of research. The entire review and approval process can take 4 – 8+ weeks, however, this is dependent upon whether the applicant has provided the appropriate documentation and undertaken the appropriate measures to meet the criteria as required.

Please note that all efforts will be made to provide review feedback to the researchers as soon as possible. Some delays may occur and researchers will need to adjust their project timeframe accordingly.

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