The aim of this project was to enhance the access of Indigenous Australians to quality treatment for alcohol-related problems. In Stage 1 of the project, with funding provided by the Australian government Department of Health and Ageing, NDRI called for expression of interest from stakeholders interested in conducting research in this area. These expressions of interest – which were submitted by partnerships between service providers and researchers – were reviewed by a steering committee and six groups were commissioned to prepare publishable literature reviews in their topic area and a full research proposal (for which they received financial assistance and technical support). These proposals were independently reviewed and representatives of each of the research groups were invited to make presentations to the project steering committee. At this point one of the groups withdrew its proposal. Following the reviews and presentations, each of remaining five groups was asked to make revisions to their proposals, and on receipt of the revisions the five projects were commissioned and funded.
In Stage 2, the following five projects were undertaken over a 15 month period.
(1) Evaluating the management of alcohol-related problems among urban Aboriginal People in Western Australia: using an action research approach to enhance service delivery and collaboration for client care.
(2) Multidisciplinary, self-management rehabilitation care plans and case management to improve alcohol treatment for Aboriginal people in Alice Springs.
(3) “Where's your country?” “Who are your people?” Asking the right questions when treating problematic alcohol use amongst Indigenous Australians (ACT).
(4) The integration of brief intervention into Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services in five rural communities in NSW.
(5) A community based brief intervention: increasing access to the full range of treatment services for alcohol problems for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians (Sydney NSW).
Stage 3 of the project focused on dissemination and translation of the research findings. Members of each of the five research teams prepared reports on the lessons learnt from the projects and presented them at a workshop. The workshop also included staff from the (then) Department of Health and Ageing, and other key stakeholders, who participated in discussions with project representatives on how the findings could be incorporated into policy and practice. Based on the reports and workshop discussions, an implementation plan based on the recommendations of the workshop has prepared and widely circulated. In addition, seven refereed journal articles and a summary article by NDRI staff were prepared and published. Most importantly, the findings of the projects were incorporated into the delivery of services by the participating Aboriginal community-controlled health organisations.