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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 March 2014) (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 Application Submission Process

The AHREC meets on the first Thursday of every month with the exception of January when and if an overlap occurs with public holidays. Meetings are held in the AHCSA Boardroom, 9 King William Road, Unley SA 5061 and commence at 5.30pm.

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

  • PDF format that is signed and includes all associated attachments
  • MS Word format of the AHREC proposal application only, unsigned, and
  • An original signed paper-based application and attachments plus 14 copies including attachments (that is, 15 copies in total)
  • We require the original signature of only the principal researcher, and only the contact details of other researchers involved
  • CVs of researchers are not required

Please do not hesitate to use environmentally friendly paper printed double-sided with black ink only.

PDF format applications must be signed by all investigators named in the protocol. The original signed application, plus 14 copies must reach the Senior Research and Ethics Officer by 5pm on the deadline date at the address below if they are to be included on the Agenda for 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.

Paper-based submission address

Senior Research and Ethics Officer
Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia,
GPO Box 719, Adelaide SA 5001

Electronic version submission address

Email: Gokhan.Ayturk@ahcsa.org.au

If you would like any further information contact Gokhan Ayturk, Senior Research and Ethics Officer on phone (08) 8273 7200 or email Gokhan.Ayturk@ahcsa.org.au

New Proposals and Responses due

21 January
25 February
31 March
21 April
19 May
23 June
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
4 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

Where complaints cannot be resolved, download the Complaint form in Word or PDF format and email the completed form to Complaints.

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.

Current Research Overview

Cancer Data and Aboriginal Disparities (CanDAD) Project

The project seeks to develop an integrated, comprehensive cancer monitoring system with a particular focus on Aboriginal people in South Australia that will integrate:

  • Cancer registry
  • Hospital
  • Radiotherapy
  • Pharmacy
  • Clinical
  • Screening and health insurance data to comprehensively monitor cancer incidence trends
  • Cancer management
  • Survival

Uniquely, the data system will incorporate Aboriginal patients’ experiences with cancer services to guide:

  • Continuous service improvement
  • Community engagement
  • Advocacy
  • Outcomes research
  • Providing data infrastructure for health services
  • Population research
  • Training for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal researchers

To read more about the Cancer Data and Aboriginal Disparities Project, download the CanDAD Project Summary here.

Recent Resources