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All in the blood: a review of Aboriginal Australians’ cultural beliefs about blood and implications for biospecimen research


Kowal, E and Greenwood, A and McWhirter, RE, All in the blood: a review of Aboriginal Australians' cultural beliefs about blood and implications for biospecimen research, Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics, 10, (4) pp. 347-359. ISSN 1556-2646 (2015) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2015 The Author(s)

DOI: doi:10.1177/1556264615604521


Public participation in medical research and biobanking is considered key to advances in scientific discovery and translation to improved health care. Cultural concerns relating to blood have been found to affect the participation of indigenous peoples and minorities in research, but such concerns are rarely specified in the literature. This article presents a review of the role of blood in Australian Aboriginal cultures. We discuss the range of meanings and uses of blood in traditional culture, including their use in ceremonies, healing, and sorcery. We draw on more recent literature on Aboriginal Australians and biomedicine to consider how traditional beliefs may be changing over time. These findings provide an empirical basis for researchers and bioethicists to develop culturally grounded strategies to boost the participation of Aboriginal Australians in biomedical research. They also serve as a model for integrating anthropological literature with bioethical concerns that could be applied to other indigenous and minority groups.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:blood, biospecimen, Aboriginal, indigenous, culture, ethics
Research Division:Medical and Health Sciences
Research Group:Public Health and Health Services
Research Field:Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Indigenous Health
Objective Field:Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health - Determinants of Health
UTAS Author:McWhirter, RE (Dr Rebekah McWhirter)
ID Code:103142
Year Published:2015
Web of Science® Times Cited:6
Deposited By:Menzies Institute for Medical Research
Deposited On:2015-09-22
Last Modified:2018-12-11
Downloads:3 View Download Statistics

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