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Ethical Review: AHREC

Aboriginal Health Research and Ethics Committee

The Aboriginal Health Research Ethics Committee (AHREC) promotes and supports quality research that will benefit Aboriginal people.

The committee was established in 1986 following concerns by the then Aboriginal Health Organisation of South Australia about the increasing volume of research being conducted in Aboriginal communities in South Australia.

The AHREC’s objectives are to monitor and coordinate medical and health research in Aboriginal communities in South Australia, to offer advice to communities on the ethics, methodology and potential benefits of research and to review the research needs of Aboriginal communities in order to determine priorities for research.

Proposals to conduct health-related research involving Aboriginal people or communities in South Australia need to be submitted to the AHREC – even if approval has been or will be obtained from the researcher’s institution.

The AHREC is guided by the principles set out in the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) ‘National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research’ 2007 (updated May 2015) (the National Statement).

All human research must comply with the:

It is also strongly recommended that researchers take into account the following:

  • Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research 2007
  • It is also advised that researchers should refer to the NHMRC website for updates.
  • In addition, researchers should refer to NHMRC Guidelines which is being continuously updated
    • Committee members’ names are available on request to researchers submitting to the AHREC
    • The ethical review of research proposals involves the Executive Officer, on advice from the AHREC members, liaising with and advising researchers about the ethical conduct of research and on ways to engage Aboriginal people and communities; monitoring approved research projects in Aboriginal communities and advising communities on the ethics, research approaches, potential benefits and outcomes of research.

AHREC Forms

AHREC Application Submission Process

All researchers are required to submit electronic versions AND paper-based copies of their ethics application as follows:

  1. Soft Copy AMerged PDF that is signed and includes all associated attachments (Please consult with your IT Department regarding how to merge all files into a single PDF document before submission). This is the document that will be forwarded to AHREC members as presented. If the size of the document is over 20mb, you may submit it via a secure Dropbox link; and
  2. Soft Copy B – MS Word format of the AHREC proposal application-only (it can be unsigned, this is for data processing purposes); and
  3. Paper Copies – An original paper-based application and standard attachments plus 14 copies (that is, 15 copies  in total). These are the sets that are forwarded to AHREC members as received, please ensure that all sets are identical and all attachments are presented in the order you wish for AHREC to review.

Instructions and Frequently Asked Questions

  • Please check if you are submitting the latest version of the application, modification or annual/final reporting form by downloading the relevant document from the links below.
  • You may attach a one-page cover letter about the study addressing AHREC as the first page that will be reviewed before the application form.
  • You may submit your study protocol with the original signed hard copy for the file, however please do not attach the study protocol to meeting papers. The Committee advises that researchers should include all details necessary for review on the application form and standard attachments. AHREC meetings run at capacity and the Committee will not cross-reference details included in the application form vs the study protocol.
  • Researchers are required to observe the word limits at each section and succinctly answer each question.
  • The soft copies as specified above and the original signed application, plus 14 copies (15 hard copies in total) must reach the Executive Officer by 5pm on the due date at the address below if they are to be included on the Agenda for the subsequent AHREC meeting.
  • Up to 5 new proposals are included in the agenda in order of electronic submission, and, the rest are held until the subsequent AHREC meeting.
  • It is advised that researchers should allow at least 3 week days for delivery should they use Express Post. It is the researchers’ responsibility to make necessary arrangements for their application to meet the deadlines. Applications received after the deadlines will be held until the next round.
  • If you are based in Adelaide, you may drop your application off; the reception at AHCSA, 220 Franklin Street, Adelaide CBD collects the submissions.
  • Please clearly mark all correspondence with AHREC as ‘CONFIDENTIAL’.
  • We require the signature of only the principal researcher (this may be electronic), and only the contact details of other researchers involved.
  • CVs of researchers are not required.
  • Please do not hesitate to use environmentally friendly paper and print double-sided with black ink only.
  • The Committee receives each new proposal set including all associated documents bound with a single bulldog/fold back clip or single staple. Please refrain from using other forms of binding materials such as paper clips as your meeting papers become detached in-transit to the Executive Officer or AHREC members for review.
  • It is not necessary to put your individual application forms into separate paper or plastic envelopes.
  • It is not necessary to tag/colour-tag each attachment.

Paper-based submission address

‘CONFIDENTIAL’

Dr Gokhan Ayturk
Senior Research and Ethics Officer, AHCSA
Executive Officer, AHREC
GPO Box 719, Adelaide SA 5001

Electronic version submission address

Email: Gokhan.Ayturk@ahcsa.org.au

For any further information, please contact Dr Gokhan Ayturk at Gokhan.Ayturk@ahcsa.org.au

New Proposals and Responses due

21 January
25 February
31 March
21 April
19 May
No Submission
21 July
18 August
22 September
20 October
17 November

AHREC Meeting Dates – 2016

4 February
10 March
14 April
5 May
2 June
7 July / AHREC in-training
11 August
1 September
6 October
3 November
1 December

Contacts for Information on a Project and Independent Complaints Procedure

The AHREC monitors all the research projects that it has approved. It important to the committee that people participating in approved projects have an independent and confidential reporting mechanism which they can use if they have any worries or complaints about that research.

If you have questions or problems associated with the practical aspects of your participation in a research project, or wish to raise a concern or complaint, then you should consult the project coordinator whose details are on the project’s Information Sheet.

If you wish to discuss matters with an independent person, including making a complaint, raising concerns or your rights as a participant, contact the Senior Research and Ethics Officer at Gokhan.Ayturk@ahcsa.org.au

All complaints are considered in terms of the following AHCSA policies:

Resources for researchers

In response to requests for resources about conducting research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, we recommend the following publications and/or guidelines available from ACHSA, SAMHRI and The Lowitja Institute:

These resources cover guides for researchers and research supervisors, case stories on research projects and information about the development and implementation of research.

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research being driven by priorities set by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people;
  • An accessible approach which allows for the practical application of resources in the health sector, and
  • An intention to develop the research capacity within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
 
 

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