CRE-ASH Partnerships

CRE-ASH’s multi-disciplinary team is comprised of Aboriginal health experts, academics, researchers, epidemiologists, sexual health and public health physicians, and a health economist. The collaboration brings together researchers from across disciplines, institutions and jurisdictions – necessary given the myriad of STI and blood-borne virus health issues and the systemic changes required to address them, as well as the geographic location of Aboriginal communities in Australia.

The CRE also brings an extensive history of research and other collaborative endeavours among the 18 Chief and Associate Investigators. The senior investigators have been involved in collaborations extending back over more than a decade.

External Advisory Board

The CRE is overseen by its External Advisory Board, chaired by Prof David Lewis, the Director of the Western Sydney Sexual Health Centre and Conjoint Professor at the University of Sydney. Prof Lewis brings to our CRE enormous experience in STIs and blood-borne viruses in marginalised populations, particularly in South Africa. His focus areas of research include antimicrobial resistance of STI pathogens, in particular gonorrhoea, as well as genital ulcer disease and men’s sexual health.

The External Advisory Board includes CI-A Ward and CI-C Donovan, government representatives, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service executives, and representatives of the CRE-ASH Aboriginal Reference Group.

The External Advisory Board will have a key role in reviewing the performance of the CRE as well as overseeing the development and implementation of the CRE-ASH Review and National Research Strategy.

Investigators Group

The Investigators Group consists of all CIs and AIs and is responsible for:

  • development of annual CRE work-plans
  • approval of funding for projects
  • development of a five year strategic plan, and a five year dissemination and translation strategy
  • annual reviews of the CRE-ASH strategic plan and dissemination and translation strategy, with the Capacity Building Group and Clinical Hub Network Reference Group.

The five year strategic plan will set indicative timeframes for individual projects, to be confirmed when each project is initiated.

The Operational Group

The Operational Group, a subgroup of the Investigators Group, meets weekly to progress day to day CRE activities.

Capacity Building Group

The Capacity Building Group leads support for the Professional Research Person positions, with a focus on Aboriginal employment, training and retention. The Capacity Building Group plays a critical role in mentoring the Professional Research Persons and the staff involved with CRE-ASH at the five clinical hubs.

Clinical Hub Network Reference Group

The Clinical Hub Network Reference Group is chaired by a representative from the clinical hubs and consists of Aboriginal leaders and clinicians who work within the clinical Hubs. The role of the reference group is to review all research proposals to ensure cultural safety, and consideration of benefit that projects will bring to communities. The group will review research findings, ensure translation of research outcomes, and provide advice on mentoring for PRPs.

Clinical Hubs

The CRE-ASH clinical network is comprised of five peak Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health agencies, operating as CRE-ASH Clinical Hubs:

Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia – working with Aboriginal primary care services located in South Australia

Apunipima Cape York Health Council – working with health services in Cairns, the Cairns hinterland and Cape York

Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Service – working with health services in the east and west Kimberley


Institute for Urban Indigenous Health – working with health services in the greater Brisbane metropolitan area

Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council of New South Wales – working with health services in NSW.

Study Protocols

Each discrete collaborative research project undertaken under the CRE will be subject to a specific formal study protocol. These study protocols will be drafted with input from the five clinical hubs and corresponding ACCHS where appropriate.

Ethical approval

Prior to commencement, each individual research project within the CRE program will have received ethical approvals from the Human Research Ethics Committee relevant for the participating health service as well as those for the affiliated organisations of the investigators. Before initiation, the investigators will have written and dated approvals for the study protocols and any other written information to be provided to health services.


Each of the clinical hubs will receive funding to coordinate research activities of the CRE. The amount and terms of payment are outlined in the Clinical Hub Participation Agreement.

Approach to collaboration

To support the CRE’s intent, SAHMRI, the participating clinical hubs and ACCHS will:

  1. Encourage collaboration between their staff regarding current and potential collaborative projects and initiatives that are relevant and beneficial to the health of Aboriginal people; and
  2. Actively participate in the planning and development of the collaboration and its individual projects.