After two fascinating talks by Dr. Patrick Mallon and Dr. Geoff Symonds around great medical strides being developed, another facet of care and project development shone in the plenary session.
Andrew Jolivette’s elegant talk brought focus back to how we as practitioners and researchers can widen our perspective by weaving past social constructs, acknowledgement of generational impact and group solidarity into how we view and address health concerns in today’s world - especially in light of how our world's cultures are blending and evolving.
This session tied in quite nicely with James Blanchard’s talk and ‘Mega Model’, exploring windows of opportunity and individual timeline trajectories. Jolivette goes further, asking us to examine windows of opportunity and change for past generations – to include the impact our own previous generations have made on Indigenous cultural practice and social perception of self and others.
Again, the one-size-fits-all approach is noted as not working. Jolivette encourages us to work inclusively and collaboratively alongside groups to build community solidarity and ‘weave’ projects to improve outcomes in health and well-being. He argues the incorporation of research justice and Indigenous methodologies can help build better programs while challenging identity and behavioural categorisations that continue to pigeonhole gender, sexuality and multiracial individuals/ populations.
In an interesting train of thought, he also asks we approach research as an act of ceremony to build cohesiveness while remembering the context some indigenous populations view research and how they benefit from projects.
Jolivette also notes the importance of peace of mind and the acceptance of disease as a process of healing –and that healing is an ongoing process of wellness.
I think there are strong parallels to be drawn between Native American experiences and the situations Australian Aboriginal peoples face. There is great potential for us to better tailor programs and I will be paying particular attention to what is happening in the gaps and blank spaces in program frameworks and research.
Andrew Jolivette’s talk today challenges all of us to examine the dynamics in public health programs and process implementation – and most importantly, finally acknowledge individual difference as a societal contribution rather than a hurdle.