Friday, 22 July 2016

EQUITY & DIVERSITY SERIES: Research Presentation by Dr Mark Lock on Aboriginal Voices in the Health System

Come and join us for a research presentation by Dr Mark Lock (UoN Faculty of Health) on Aboriginal voices in the Australian health system.

This presentation is part of our Equity and Diversity Series and is jointly sponsored by the School of Psychology's Social and Organisational Psychology Research Group (SOPRG) and the Health and Clinical Psychology Research group.  

WHEN: Tuesday 2nd August, 12-1pm
WHERE: Keats reading room, Aviation Building (Callaghan campus)-video-conferenced to Science Offices' Meeting Rooom (Ourimbah campus)  

TITLE: The structuration of Australia’s National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards as an example of cultural blindness to Aboriginal voice in the duality of citizenship and participation of corporate governance.

Whilst cultural diversity is emblematic of Australia, in the health care system a person’s culture is only considered at the point of communication between the clinician and the patient. This is of rather limited scope for addressing the systemic factors related to health inequalities. A broader tactic would be to integrate cultural competence into the corporate governance of organizations; thereby, Aboriginal voice could permeate into and through every point and pathway of an organisations routine processes. In this case study I critique the evidence gathering process that informed the development of Australia’s National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards (the NSQHS Standards). Lead by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC), the ten NSQHS Standards aim to provide a high quality of health care to patients. This is signalled by an extensive accreditation process where organisations are required to established sophisticated monitoring and reporting mechanisms for every aspect of an organisation’s governance. That presents a strategic opportunity to incorporate cultural competence into system-level reform processes. Drawing-on original project documentation, literature review, and health care data, this paper critiques the governance of evidence gathering by the ACSQHC, which plans to improve the care of the most disadvantaged minority cultural group – the First Australians – whose safety and quality needs are to be incorporated into the second edition of the NSQHS Standards. The methodology is sensitised by Anthony Giddens’ Structural Theory as shone through the concept of corporate governance. Whilst this reveals a number of limitations in the evidence behind the NSQHS Standards process, it nevertheless provides a policy window through which Aboriginal voice may become an institutionalized norm rather than an afterthought in the Australian health care system.

Mark J. Lock is descended from the Ngiyampaa people (an Australian Aboriginal tribe), from Scottish convicts, a Latvian immigrant, and from English people. He has PhD (The University of Melbourne), a BSc. in Biochemistry, Honours in Nutrition, and a Master of Public Health. He only examines policy concepts such as holistic health, participation, and integration along a research trajectory where he seeks to interrogate the underlying rules and resources (using Anthony Giddens' Structuration Theory) enabling and constraining Aboriginal voice integration and diffusion in social policy processes. His current position is Research Fellow at the University of Newcastle (Australia), funded by the Australian Research Council for three years to study Aboriginal voice integration and diffusion in public health collaboratives (the AVID study). Twitter handle: @MarkJLock, LinkedIn:; University of Newcastle Profile:;
Research Gate:; Email:

Paper to be presented at the 76th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management - August 5-9, 2016 - Anaheim, California, United States.
Conference Theme – Making Organizations Meaningful. Australian Research Council Discovery Indigenous Grant IN14010001