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IWC joins QIMR Berghofer’s Indigenous Genomic Health Literacy Project

IWC is pleased to be part of the QIMR Berghofer’s Indigenous Genomic Health Literacy Project. The project has partnered with the Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC), Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Medical Services and Queensland Health to establish an Indigenous Genomics Community Group (IGCG).

Genomics is an area within genetics that concerns the sequencing and analysis of an organism’s genome. The genome is the entire DNA content that is present within one cell of an organism. Experts in genomics strive to determine complete DNA sequences and perform genetic mapping to help understand disease.

The group included 15 Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples who gathered in Brisbane for a two-day workshop on 25 and 26 July. IWC participants included IWC Directors Cheri Yavu-Kama-Harathunian and Stirling Eggmolesse, Community Support Officer Jenny Springham and CEO Ara Harathunian.

IWC is an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (ACCHO) with a Medical Centre based in Bundaberg, Queensland.

The IGCG’s main objective is to assist in the development of health literacy resources on genomics, genetic counselling/testing and precision medicine.

During the two days, the group spent time getting to know each other and learn more about Genomics more broadly. Community group members participated in an educational laboratory session, experiencing a day in the life of a scientist.

Invited experts gave presentations on genomics, and Queensland’s genetic health services and their referral pathways. Participants also looked at various types of media resources used in health promotion and voted on their preferred medium.

On day two, the group workshopped the contents that will be in the resource through group discussions, workshops and lively debate.

Going forward, the team will collate all the responses and feedback received from the community workshop to help draft the Indigenous genomic literacy resources.

In the next couple of months, the project team will work closely with the Communications and Media team at QIMR Berghofer to draft resources informed by the community group in addition to guidance from its Project Steering Committee.

The project team intends to return with the draft resources to each of the communities represented by its champions to seek feedback on the resources later this year. The resources will be in multiple media formats, with the intention of aiming for release by the end of this year.