Reciprocity in the intercultural conference space to improve Aboriginal oral health: A qualitative study

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OBJECTIVES: Despite high rates of oral disease in Indigenous communities globally, progress is slow in implementing policies and practices so the depth of inequity is addressed and oral health outcomes improve. Indigenous communities are often poorly consulted in the process. This paper responds to this inequity by seeking to create a respectful intercultural space at international dental conferences where Aboriginal health practitioners and dental public health researchers can discuss ways forward for oral health in Indigenous communities. METHODS: Participatory action research informed by Indigenist methodologies guided this research. Two roundtable discussions between Australian Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal participants were recorded, transcribed and analysed for themes related to problems and potential solutions to dental disease in Indigenous communities. Follow-up discussions on participants' reflections engaging in this intercultural space were recorded and analysed. RESULTS: Two Aboriginal health practitioners and five non-Aboriginal international dental public health researchers identified the importance of inclusion where intercultural engagement and collaboration with Indigenous Peoples were integral to conducting research in this context and improving oral health outcomes. CONCLUSIONS: Creating a safe, respectful space between Aboriginal health practitioners and non-Aboriginal dental public health researchers at an international conference fostered dialogue to better understand barriers and enablers to good oral health outcomes. Intercultural engagement and discussion is a step towards mutual understanding of oral health perspectives and experiences that can foster equity and enable more collaborative responses to improve oral health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-22
Number of pages7
JournalCommunity Dental Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2023


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