Dr Irina Kinchin is a Senior Research Fellow with a joint appointment at the Centre for Health Economics Research and Evaluation (CHERE) and the Centre for Improving Palliative, Aged and Chronic Care through Clinical Research and Translation (IMPACCT).
As a health economist since 2013, Irina has conducted research and evaluation projects with a range of government, NGO, industry and community partners. She has multidisciplinary expertise in the impact evaluation of non-medical intervention programs and services for vulnerable populations including people at risk of suicide, Indigenous Australians, people with mental illness, experiencing homelessness, substance abuse, or frailty.
Irina is undertaking applied and methods research in the area of palliative, aged and chronic care, mental health and health services research.
In 2019, Irina was awarded an Atlantic Fellowship at the Global Brain Health Institute, Trinity College Dublin, to join a unique cohort of leaders who are developing the critical skills and brain health knowledge to make transformative change around the globe.
Doran, CM & Kinchin, I 2020, 'Economic and epidemiological impact of youth suicide in countries with the highest human development index', PLOS ONE, vol. 15, no. 5, pp. e0232940-e0232940.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Doran, CM & Kinchin, I 2020, 'Economics of Mental Health: Providing a Platform for Efficient Mental Health Policy', Applied Health Economics and Health Policy, vol. 18, no. 2, pp. 143-145.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Kinchin, I, Russell, AMT, Byrnes, J, McCalman, J, Doran, CM & Hunter, E 2020, 'The cost of hospitalisation for youth self-harm: differences across age groups, sex, Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations', Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Kinchin, I, Russell, AMT, Petrie, D, Mifsud, A, Manning, L & Doran, CM 2020, 'Program Evaluation and Decision Analytic Modelling of Universal Suicide Prevention Training (safeTALK) in Secondary Schools.', Applied Health Economics and Health Policy, vol. 18, no. 2, pp. 311-324.View/Download from: Publisher's site
BACKGROUND:Universal suicide education and awareness training in schools are promising suicide prevention initiatives. This study aims to evaluate a suicide awareness training (safeTALK) and to model potential return on investment (ROI) on a population basis. SafeTALK, comprises a 3-h education session, and has been delivered to secondary school students (aged 15-16 years) in Mackay, located in the Australian state of Queensland. METHODS:Evaluation consisted of two phases, ex-post and ex-ante. Phase I was a pre-post, follow-up analysis using a mixed-method questionnaire administered immediately prior (Time 1), immediately after (Time 2), and 4 weeks after training (Time 3). Phase II involved decision analytic modelling comparing safeTALK to the status quo. ROI was modelled using Markov chains for a hypothetical population of students aged 15-19 years in Mackay (n = 2561; suicide rate 78.1 per 100,000), Queensland (n = 296,287; 10.2) and Australia (n = 1,421,595; 8.3). Model parameters, including rates of hospitalised self-harm and suicide, cost implications and effectiveness of safeTALK were drawn from published literature. The baseline model adapted a health and justice system's perspective, with an alternative model incorporating a societal perspective. All costs were adjusted to reflect AU$2017-2018. RESULTS:Students reported seeking help mostly from friends (79%) or parents (68%); in the last 6 months 61% considered another student's behaviour as suicidal, but only 21% reported asking about this. The main barriers to help-seeking were (i) being too embarrassed, (ii) shy or (iii) being judged. Students who attended safeTALK gained suicide-related knowledge (p < 0.001), confidence (p < 0.001), willingness (p = 0.006), and likelihood of seeking help (p = 0.044) and retained these up until follow-up assessment 4 weeks later with the exception of seeking help. From a health and justice system's perspective, the model estimated a cumulative return of AU$1.45 per AU...
Redman-Maclaren, M, Benveniste, T, McCalman, J, Rutherford, K, Britton, A, Langham, E, Stewart, R, Saunders, P, Kinchin, I & Bainbridge, R 2020, 'Through the eyes of students: The satisfaction of remote Indigenous boarding students' with a transition support service in Queensland, Australia', Australian Journal of Indigenous Education.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Copyright © The Author(s) 2019. More than 4000 Indigenous Australian students enrol and take up a placement at boarding school each year. While reasons for attending boarding school vary, the impetus for many remote and very remote-dwelling students is restricted secondary educational opportunities in their home communities. A large multi-site study is being undertaken across Queensland to understand the conditions required for these students to be resilient while studying away from home. This paper reports on levels of student satisfaction with Queensland Department of Education's Transition Support Service (TSS) that provide assistance to remote-dwelling Indigenous students in the transition to boarding schools. A survey instrument administered to students included 22 close-ended questions to elicit levels of student satisfaction with TSS. Data were collected electronically using SurveyMonkey™ and analysed in SPSS v24. Descriptive statistics were calculated for variables assessing service support, student perceptions and experiences. A total of 294 primary, secondary and re-engaging students across 21 sites responded. Nearly all primary students (97%) anticipated that TSS would assist their move to boarding school. All secondary students identified that TSS had assisted their transition to boarding school. All re-engaging students agreed that TSS support had increased their capacity to cope when things go wrong. Lower scores related to students' ability to access TSS when needed. Very high levels of satisfaction with TSS were countered by constraints of distance between TSS and students, and resources available to support the work of TSS. Findings point to the need for equitable provision of transition services in Queensland that emphasise the importance of relationship between service provider and student, and can inform the design of similar transition services across Australia.
Currow, DC, Chang, S, Grande, ED, Ferreira, DH, Kochovska, S, Kinchin, I, Johnson, MJ & Ekstrom, M 2020, 'Quality of life changes with duration of chronic breathlessness: a random sample of community-dwelling people', Journal of Pain and Symptom Management.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Currow, DC, Chang, S, Reddel, HK, Kochovska, S, Ferreira, D, Kinchin, I, Johnson, M & Ekström, M 2020, 'Breathlessness, Anxiety, Depression, and Function-The BAD-F Study: A Cross-Sectional and Population Prevalence Study in Adults.', Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, vol. 59, no. 2, pp. 197-205.View/Download from: Publisher's site
CONTEXT:Breathlessness is associated with depression, but its relationship to anxiety or impaired function is less clear. OBJECTIVES:This study evaluated associations between chronic breathlessness and anxiety, depression, and functional status in the general population. METHODS:This cross-sectional study of consenting adults (18 years and older) used an online survey. Quota sampling (n = 3000) was used reflecting the 2016 national census for sex, age, and place of residence. Other data included Four-Item Patient Health Questionnaire for depression and anxiety, the modified Medical Research Council (mMRC) Breathlessness Scale, and the Australia-modified Karnofsky Performance Scale. Multinomial logistic regression assessed predictors. RESULTS:About 2977 respondents had all relevant scores (female 51.2%; median age 45.0 [range 18-92]). Prevalence of breathlessness (mMRC ≥2) was 2.4%, anxiety 6.0%, depression 2.7%, coexisting anxiety/depression 6.1%, and poorer functional status (Australia-modified Karnofsky Performance Scale ≤60) 1.6%. In multinomial regression, depression, anxiety, and coexisting anxiety/depression were predicted by younger age, longer duration of breathlessness, and poorer functional status. The highest proportions of people with breathlessness were found in the coexisting anxiety/depression group (10.6%) and depression only group (8.8%). Poorest function was in the coexisting anxiety/depression group with 11.6%. The relationship between poorer functional status and coexisting anxiety/depression was significant (odds ratio 0.90; 95% CI 0.89, 0.92). Adjusted odds ratio for breathlessness and depression only was 3.0 (95% CI 1.2, 7.8). CONCLUSION:Clinically important breathlessness (mMRC ≥2) was associated with depression, anxiety, and coexisting anxiety/depression. Poorer function that is associated with psychological morbidity in the general population requires further research.
Carrington, A, Dewar, S, Kinchin, I, Cadet-James, Y & Tsey, K 2019, 'A police-led community response to Child abuse and Youth Sexual Violence and Abuse in Indigenous communities in Far North Queensland: "Speak Up. Be strong. Be Heard."', CHILD ABUSE & NEGLECT, vol. 98.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Kinchin, I, Russell, AMT, Tsey, K, Jago, J, Wintzloff, T, Meurk, C & Doran, CM 2019, 'Psychiatric inpatient cost of care before and after admission at a residential subacute step-up/step-down mental health facility.', Journal of medical economics, vol. 22, no. 5, pp. 491-498.View/Download from: Publisher's site
BACKGROUND:Residential step-up/step-down services provide transitional care and reintegration into the community for individuals experiencing episodes of subacute mental illness. This study aims to examine psychiatric inpatient admissions, length of stay, and per capita cost of care following the establishment of a step-up/step-down Prevention And Recovery Care (PARC) facility in regional Australia. METHODS:This was a pragmatic before and after study set within a participatory action research methodology. The target sample comprised patients at a PARC facility over 15 months. Six-month individual level data prior to study entry, during, and over 6-months from study exit were examined using patient activity records. Costs were expressed in 2015-2016AU$. RESULTS:An audit included 192 people experiencing 243 episodes of care represented by males (58%), mean age = 39.3 years (SD = 12.7), primarily diagnosed with schizophrenia (48%) or mood disorders (30%). The cost of 1 day in a psychiatric inpatient unit was found to be comparable to an average of 5 treatment days in PARC; the mean cost difference per-bed day (AU$1,167) was associated with fewer and shorter inpatient stays. Reduced use of inpatient facility translated into an opportunity cost of improved patient flow equivalent to AU$12,555 per resident (bootstrapped 95% CI = $5,680-$19,280). More noticeable outcomes were observed among those who stayed in PARC for longer during index admission (rs = 0.16, p = 0.024), who have had more and lengthy inpatient stays (rs = 0.52, p < 0.001 and rs = 0.69, p < 0.001), and those who stepped-down from the hospital (p < 0.001). This information could be proactively used within step-up/step-down services to target care to patients most likely to benefit. Despite early evidence of positive association, the results warrant further investigation using an experimental study design with alongside economic evaluation. CONCLUSION:Efforts should be directed toward the adoption of cost...
Tsey, K, Onnis, L-A, Whiteside, M, McCalman, J, Williams, M, Heyeres, M, Lui, SMC, Klieve, H, Cadet-James, Y, Baird, L, Brown, C, Lui, FW, Grainger, D, Gabriel, Z, Millgate, N, Cheniart, B, Hunter, T, Liu, H-B, Yang, Y, Yan, L, Lovett, R, Chong, A & Kinchin, I 2019, 'Assessing research impact: Australian Research Council criteria and the case of Family Wellbeing research', EVALUATION AND PROGRAM PLANNING, vol. 73, pp. 176-186.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Heyeres, M, Kinchin, I, Whatley, E, Brophy, L, Jago, J, Wintzloff, T, Morton, S, Mosby, V, Gopalkrishnan, N & Tsey, K 2018, 'Evaluation of a Residential Mental Health Recovery Service in North Queensland.', Frontiers in Public Health, vol. 6, pp. 123-123.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Evidence shows that subacute mental health recovery occurs best when a person remains active within the community and fulfils meaningful and satisfying roles of their choosing. Several residential care services that incorporate these values have been established in Australia and overseas.This study describes (a) the development of an evaluation framework for a new subacute residential mental health recovery service in regional Australia and (b) reports on the formative evaluation outcomes.Continuous quality improvement and participatory research approaches informed all stages of the development of the evaluation framework. A program logic was established and subsequently tested for practicability. The resultant logic utilizes the Scottish Recovery Indicator 2 (SRI 2) service development tool, Individual Recovery Plans (IRPs), and the impact assessment of the service on psychiatric inpatient admissions (reported separately).Service strengths included a recovery-focused practice that identifies and addresses the basic needs of residents (consumers). The consumers of the service were encouraged to develop their own goals and self-manage their recovery plans. The staff of the service were identified as working effectively in the context of the recovery process; the staff were seen as supported and valued. Areas for improvement included more opportunities for self-management for residents and more feedback from residents and carers.
Jacups, S, Rogerson, B & Kinchin, I 2018, 'An innovative approach to address homelessness in regional Australia: Participant evaluation of a co-payment model.', Public Health, vol. 156, pp. 26-33.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Homelessness is not only about lack of secure housing, it is sometimes caused by simple reasons such as lack of money to travel home. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether the participant co-funded assistance program ('Return to Country' [R2C]), when offered to low socio-economic individuals experiencing homelessness, represented an effective use of scarce resources.In northern Australia, a remote and sparsely populated area, Indigenous persons who travel to regional centres cannot always afford airfares home; they therefore become stranded away from their 'country' leading to rapidly deteriorating health, isolation and separation from family and kin. The R2C program was designed to facilitate travel for persons who were temporarily stranded and were voluntarily seeking to return home. The program provided operational support and funding (participants co-funded AU$99) to participants to return home.Using a descriptive, case series research design, university researchers independently evaluated the R2C program using semi-structured interviews with 37 participants.An investment of AU$970 per participant in the program with partial co-payment was associated with high participant acceptability and satisfaction in-line with harms reduction around substance and criminal abuse, which is suggestive of long-term success for the model.Findings from this study can contribute to the development of best practice guidelines and policies that specifically address the needs of this unique population of stranded persons, who are seeking to return home. The acceptance of the co-payment model can be adopted by policy makers involved in homelessness prevention in other locations in Australia or internationally as an add-on service provision to mainstream housing support.
Jacups, SP, Kinchin, I & McConnon, KM 2018, 'Ear, nose, and throat surgical access for remote living Indigenous children: What is the least costly model?', Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, vol. 24, no. 6, pp. 1330-1338.View/Download from: Publisher's site
RATIONALE, AIMS, AND OBJECTIVES:This costing evaluation compares three service delivery models for ear, nose, and throat (ENT) surgery for remote living Indigenous children to improve their hearing outcomes, with the aim to identify the least costly model. METHODS:The main outcome measure presented was the incremental cost difference between the base case (Model 1) and two alternative models (Model 2, 3). The costs in 2017 Australian dollars are assessed from two viewpoints: (1) health system perspective, and (2) patients and their families including travel out-of-pocket expenses, presented separately according to the funding source. RESULTS:Findings indicate that the least costly model offered low-risk ENT surgery from a state funded hospital in a remote setting, with high use of videoconference technology: TeleHealth (Model 3) could save $3626 to $5067 per patient, compared with patients travelling to a regional centre public hospital (Model 1). A federally funded scheme which allowed groups of patients to access a direct flight charter transfer to the private hospital in regional centre (Model 2) reduced the cost by $2178 to $2711 per patient when compared with standard care (Model 1). From a societal perspective, Model 1 required out-of-pocket patient expenses, with greater time away from home, and hence appears the least preferred option. CONCLUSIONS:The sensitivity analyses also demonstrate that Model 3 would be the more economical model for providing ENT surgery for remote living children. By proving an accurate assessment of the true costs of delivering these important ear and hearing health services, strategic health service planners may be better informed and sufficient budgets can be allocated to provide improved service delivery. The benefits of Model 3, over Models 1 or 2, would also incorporate improvements to patient safety as a result of reducing patient travel, which should in-turn, reduce failure-to-attend rates.
Suicide is the leading cause of death among Australians between 15 and 24 years of age. This study seeks to estimate the economic cost of youth suicide (15–24 years old) for Australia using 2014 as a reference year. The main outcome measure is monetized burden of youth suicide. Costs, in 2014 AU$, are measured and valued as direct costs, such as coronial inquiry, police, ambulance, and funeral expenses; indirect costs, such as lost economic productivity; and intangible costs, such as bereavement. In 2014, 307 young Australians lost their lives to suicide (82 females and 225 males). The average age at time of death was 20.4 years, representing an average loss of 62 years of life and close to 46 years of productive capacity. The average cost per youth suicide is valued at $2,884,426, including $9721 in direct costs, $2,788,245 as the value of lost productivity, and $86,460 as the cost of bereavement. The total economic loss of youth suicide in Australia is estimated at $22 billion a year (equivalent to US$ 17 billion), ranging from $20 to $25 billion. These findings can assist decision-makers understand the magnitude of adverse outcomes associated with youth suicide and the potential benefits to be achieved by investing in effective suicide prevention strategies.
Kinchin, I, Jacups, S, Mann, J, Quigley, R, Harvey, D, Doran, CM & Strivens, E 2018, 'Efficacy and cost-effectiveness of a community-based model of care for older patients with complex needs: a study protocol for a multicentre randomised controlled trial using a stepped wedge cluster design.', Trials, vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 668-668.View/Download from: Publisher's site
BACKGROUND:Community-dwelling older persons with complex care needs may deteriorate rapidly and require hospitalisation if they receive inadequate support for their conditions in the community. INTERVENTION:A comprehensive, multidimensional geriatric assessment with care coordination was performed in a community setting-Older Persons ENablement And Rehabilitation for Complex Health conditions (OPEN ARCH). OBJECTIVES:This study will assess the acceptability and determine the impact of the OPEN ARCH intervention on the health and quality of life outcomes, health and social services utilisation of older people with multiple chronic conditions and emerging complex care needs. An economic evaluation will determine whether OPEN ARCH is cost-effective when compared to the standard care. METHODS/DESIGN:This multicentre randomised controlled trial uses a stepped wedge cluster design with repeated cross-sectional samples. General practitioners (GPs; n ≥ 10) will be randomised as 'clusters' at baseline using simple randomisation. Each GP cluster will recruit 10-12 participants. Data will be collected on each participant at 3-month intervals (- 3, 0, 3, 6 and 9 months). The primary outcome is health and social service utilisation as measured by Emergency Department presentations, hospital admissions, in-patient bed days, allied health and community support services. Secondary outcomes include functional status, quality of life and participants' satisfaction. Cost-effectiveness of the intervention will be assessed as the change to cost outcomes, including the cost of implementing the intervention and subsequent use of services, and the change to health benefits represented by quality adjusted life years. DISCUSSION:The results will have direct implications for the design and wider implementation of this new model of care for community-dwelling older persons with complex care needs. Additionally, it will contribute to the evidence base on acceptability, efficacy and cost-effec...
Lasen, M, Evans, S, Tsey, K, Campbell, C & Kinchin, I 2018, 'Quality of WIL assessment design in higher education: a systematic literature review', Higher Education Research and Development, vol. 37, no. 4, pp. 788-804.View/Download from: Publisher's site
© 2018 HERDSA. We investigated the quality of work-integrated learning (WIL) assessment design in higher education programmes, through review of peer-reviewed studies published internationally and in English, 1990–2015. Such a review is timely in light of vested interests from a range of WIL stakeholders; high-level endorsement of WIL across university programmes; a regulatory environment requiring development and assurance of higher-order learning outcomes; and a WIL assessment literature that identifies a number of challenges and opportunities. We searched six electronic databases, yielding 20 intervention studies that met inclusion criteria. Findings reveal high-quality assessment design, albeit a need for greater involvement of industry/professional partners in assessment practices and stronger alignment between reflective assessment tasks and students' WIL experiences. The evidence base under review largely comprised qualitative and mixed methods studies, with the indication that the quality of the study design had improved over time, although variably across disciplinary fields. The key recommendation from this review is that resources are needed to support research-active WIL academics, partners and students to: (a) design and participate in assessment practices, which promote integration of student learning, across university and work settings, and achievement of higher-order learning outcomes and (b) pursue a collaborative research agenda involving robust evaluation research, inclusive of quantitative studies.
Vincent, GE, Kinchin, I, Ferguson, SA & Jay, SM 2018, 'The Cost of Inadequate Sleep among On-Call Workers in Australia: A Workplace Perspective.', International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol. 15, no. 3, pp. 1-12.View/Download from: Publisher's site
On-call or stand-by is becoming an increasingly prevalent form of work scheduling. However, on-call arrangements are typically utilised when workloads are low, for example at night, which can result in inadequate sleep. It is a matter of concern that on-call work is associated with an increased risk of workplace injury. This study sought to determine the economic cost of injury due to inadequate sleep in Australian on-call workers. The prevalence of inadequate sleep among on-call workers was determined using an online survey, and economic costs were estimated using a previously validated costing methodology. Two-thirds of the sample (66%) reported obtaining inadequate sleep on weekdays (work days) and over 80% reported inadequate sleep while on-call. The resulting cost of injury is estimated at $2.25 billion per year ($1.71-2.73 billion). This equates to $1222 per person per incident involving a short-term absence from work; $2.53 million per incident classified as full incapacity, and $1.78 million for each fatality. To the best of our knowledge this is the first study to quantify the economic cost of workplace injury due to inadequate sleep in on-call workers. Well-rested employees are critical to safe and productive workplace operations. Therefore, it is in the interest of both employers and governments to prioritise and invest far more into the management of inadequate sleep in industries which utilise on-call work arrangements.
Yinghong, Y, Yan, L, Lui, SM, Kinchin, I, Heyeres, M & Tsey, K 2018, 'County development and sustainability in China: A systematic scoping of the literature', OIDA International Journal of Sustainable Development, vol. 11:02.
Kinchin, I & Doran, CM 2017, 'The Economic Cost of Suicide and Non-Fatal Suicide Behavior in the Australian Workforce and the Potential Impact of a Workplace Suicide Prevention Strategy', INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH AND PUBLIC HEALTH, vol. 14, no. 4.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Kinchin, I, Doran, CM, Hall, WD & Meurk, C 2017, 'Understanding the true economic impact of self-harming behaviour', LANCET PSYCHIATRY, vol. 4, no. 12, pp. 900-901.
Kinchin, I, Doran, CM, McCalman, J, Jacups, S, Tsey, K, Lines, K, Smith, K & Searles, A 2017, 'Delivering an empowerment intervention to a remote Indigenous child safety workforce: Its economic cost from an agency perspective', EVALUATION AND PROGRAM PLANNING, vol. 64, pp. 85-89.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Kinchin, I, Mccalman, J, Bainbridge, R, Tsey, K & Lui, FW 2017, 'Does Indigenous health research have impact? A systematic review of reviews', INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL FOR EQUITY IN HEALTH, vol. 16.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Kitau, R, Whiteside, M, Kinchin, I, Hane-Nou, G & Tsey, K 2017, 'Transferring the Aboriginal Australian family wellbeing empowerment program from a Papua New Guinea University context to broader community settings: A Feasibility Study', Pacific Journal of Medical Sciences, vol. 17, no. 1, pp. 22-38.
Langham, E, McCalman, J, Matthews, V, Bainbridge, RG, Nattabi, B, Kinchin, I & Bailie, R 2017, 'Social and Emotional Wellbeing Screening for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders within Primary Health Care: A Series of Missed Opportunities?', FRONTIERS IN PUBLIC HEALTH, vol. 5.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Kinchin, I, Jacups, S, Hunter, G & Rogerson, B 2016, 'Economic evaluation of 'Return to Country': A remote Australian initiative to address indigenous homelessness', EVALUATION AND PROGRAM PLANNING, vol. 56, pp. 69-75.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Kinchin, I, Tsey, K, Heyeres, M & Cadet-James, Y 2016, 'Systematic review of youth mental health service integration research', AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF PRIMARY HEALTH, vol. 22, no. 4, pp. 304-315.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Kitau, R, Kinchin, I, Whiteside, M, Hane-Nou, G & Tsey, K 2016, 'Effectiveness of the uptake and implementation of an Aboriginal Australian empowerment program in the context of public health training in Papua New Guinea', Pacific Journal of Medical Sciences, vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 16-34.
McCalman, J, Bainbridge, R, Kinchin, I, Tsey, K, Lawson, K, Lui, FW & Cadet-James, Y 2016, 'Indigenous and tribal peoples' health', LANCET, vol. 388, no. 10062, pp. 2867-2868.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Tsey, K, Lawson, K, Kinchin, I, Bainbridge, R, McCalman, J, Watkin, F, Cadet-James, Y & Rossetto, A 2016, 'Evaluating Research Impact: The Development of a Research for Impact Tool', FRONTIERS IN PUBLIC HEALTH, vol. 4.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Bainbridge, R, Tsey, K, McCalman, J, Kinchin, I, Saunders, V, Lui, FW, Cadet-James, Y, Miller, A & Lawson, K 2015, 'No one's discussing the elephant in the room: contemplating questions of research impact and benefit in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australian health research', BMC PUBLIC HEALTH, vol. 15.View/Download from: Publisher's site
© 2015 Kinchin et al. Background: Empowerment programs have been shown to contribute to increased empowerment of individuals and build capacity within the community or workplace. To-date, the impact of empowerment programs has yet to be quantified in the published literature in this field. This study assessed the Indigenous-developed Family Wellbeing (FWB) program as an empowerment intervention for a child safety workforce in remote Indigenous communities by measuring effect sizes. The study also assessed the value of measurement tools for future impact evaluations. Methods: A three-day FWB workshop designed to promote empowerment and workplace engagement among child protection staffwas held across five remote north Queensland Indigenous communities. The FWB assessment tool comprised a set of validated surveys including the Growth and Empowerment Measure (GEM), Australian Unity Wellbeing Index, Kessler psychological distress scale (K10) and Workforce engagement survey. The assessment was conducted pre-intervention and three months post-intervention. Results: The analysis of pre-and post-surveys revealed that the GEM appeared to be the most tangible measure for detecting positive changes in communication, conflict resolution, decision making and life skill development. The GEM indicated a 17 % positive change compared to 9 % for the Australian Unity Wellbeing Index, 5 % for the workforce engagement survey and less than 1 % for K10. Conclusions: This study extended qualitative research and identified the best measurement tool for detecting the outcomes of empowerment programs. The GEM was found the most sensitive and the most tangible measure that captures improvements in communication, conflict resolution, decision making and life skill development. The GEM and Australian Unity Wellbeing Index could be recommended as routine measures for empowerment programs assessment among similar remote area workforce.