Flinders Caring Futures Institute is pleased to welcome two new leads to its Better Communities Theme.
Dr Nina Sivertsen and Associate Professor Yvonne Parry say they’re thrilled to help guide the direction of the Institute, build capacity among their fellow researchers and identify partnerships in the wider community.
“Nina and I have worked together for a while now, so this is a lovely extension of that,” says Dr Parry.
After working with the homelessness sector and community services for over a decade, she says engaging with communities at a grassroots level is imperative to improving healthcare outcomes.
“It’s actually foundational for going forward and thinking about how we serve the public and how we serve our communities, whether it be locally, nationally or internationally.”
As an Indigenous Sámi woman with an extensive background in community and health systems in partnership with First Peoples, Dr Sivertsen emphasises the need to focus on those who will benefit from research.
“We do research for the end users. We want to improve things and I think that’s where my research is anchored as well, in restorative policy and practice,” she says.
“My goal with taking on this role in Better Communities is to really build a bridge between communities and Flinders University.”
By working collaboratively across disciplines and with government and community organisations, the Institute’s researchers can address key social concerns such as safety and abuse, wellbeing, participation, and organisation of community services while putting the welfare of diverse populations at the forefront.
The new theme leads agree that a commitment to co-design will be a key consideration in their new roles.
“I would like to build a program that also has collaboration at the centre, because that’s part of my identity as a researcher,” Dr Sivertsen says, adding she wants to develop interdisciplinary research that brings the community together.
“I too am all about building relationships with service delivery partners, other researchers and interdisciplinary services,” Dr Parry says. “We want to invite people to collaborate with us.”
The joint leads say their other priority will be building capacity in their fellow researchers to tackle wicked problems and fulfil their potential.
“One of the things we will be doing is making sure we are connecting with everyone’s stories and the exciting things they are doing in the Institute, to harness that sense of belonging,” Dr Sivertsen says.
Dr Parry and Dr Sivertsen are encouraging Flinders Caring Futures Institute members to connect with them to discuss ideas and help develop a strong culture within the Institute.