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Yarning with Aboriginal men: Kimberley research wins a best article of the year award

Researchers from the Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services and the Rural Clinical School of Western Australia, University of Western Australia are thrilled to win the annual prestigious Ray James Memorial Award. This award is presented for the best article published in the Health Promotion Journal of Australia over the last year. The article was chosen by the Journal’s Research, Evaluation and Evidence Translation Committee and is presented for excellence and innovation in health promotion research.

The research explores ten Aboriginal Australian men’s experiences during their partner’s antenatal period. The study found the participants valued supporting their partners through pregnancy, making positive changes to their own lifestyles, and having access to information on pregnancy. Participants described experiencing multiple stressors during the antenatal period that impacted on their social and emotional wellbeing.

This study demonstrated that these Aboriginal men valued engagement with antenatal care services and highlighted strategies to improve Aboriginal paternal involvement with antenatal care services.

Erica Spry, Bardi and Kija woman and researcher discussed how the project grew from an existing project that was exploring maternal and child health in the Kimberley.

“I was having a conversation with an Elder, talking about our other research and recruiting participants and this Elder said to me “it takes two to make a baby, you should be talking to the men too’. She was right, so little had been done exploring the role of our Aboriginal dad’s.”

Zac Cox Nimanburru, Kija man and the lead interviewer used a yarning- based approach to interviewing the men.

As an Aboriginal man and a father, I wanted to connect with our participants in a safe way to travel their journey. We have a deficit-based narrative about Aboriginal men in Australia, and this includes Aboriginal dads. This research showed us a group of men who are resilient and strong and invested in fatherhood”.

Lead author Emma Carlin discussed how the findings from this research are informing the work of the team and are the subject of future funding proposals.

“Engaging men during the antenatal care period has to the potential to support men and their families to achieve good health and wellbeing outcomes. We will continue to work with health services to support men’s engagement and use our $1000 prize money to develop Kimberley specific resources for men and for health care professionals”.


Image: Front: Emma Carlin (Research Fellow, RCSWA/ Senior Research Officer KAMS); Erica Spry (Research Fellow, RCSWA/ Research Officer KAMS); Zac Cox (Manager Social and Emotional Wellbeing, KAMS);

If you or someone you know needs help or support, you can contact your local Aboriginal Community-Controlled Organisation or

  • 13YARN: 13 92 76
  • Lifeline: 131 114
  • Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800
  • Mensline: 1300 78 99 78
  • Beyondblue 1300 22 46 36
  • Q Life 1800 18 45 27
  • Open Arms Veterans & Families Counselling 1800 01 10 46
  • The National Indigenous Critical Response Service 1800 80 58 01
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