Ways of Thinking and Ways of Doing (WoTWoD) - An Indigenous Cultural Respect Program in General Practice

Lead Researcher Email Number Webpage
Dr Phyllis Lau plau@unimelb.edu.au +61 3 8344 9042 View page

Project Details

Background/Rationale of Study

Since the Closing the Gap (CTG) Statement of Intent was signed in March 2008, progress on closing the life expectancy gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous Australians has been slow. Australian primary care and General practice must work together with the Aboriginal community must work together to address this issue.

Following extensive exploration with the community (NHMRC Project ID 509334 in 2008-2011), we have developed a framework and implementation program, called ‘Ways of Thinking, Ways of Doing’ (WoTWoD). WoTWoD uses a whole-of-practice clinical re-design process and care partnerships between general practice and Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations. It aims to assist general practices to embed cultural respect within culturally and clinically appropriate health care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. WoTWoD has been piloted in 2010-2011 and found to be feasible and acceptable to general practices.



  • Professor SiawTeng Liaw, University of New South Wales
  • Professor Mark Harrsion, University of New South Wales
  • Dr Iqbal Hasan, University of New South Wales
  • Ms Vicki Wade, National Heart Foundation
  • Dr Rosa Canalese, GP Synergy
    Professor Margaret Kelaher, University of Melbourne


National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Project Grant: (ID 1065491)  2014 - 2017 
National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Project Grant: (ID 509334) 2008 - 2011

Research Publications

Lau P, Woodward-Kron R, Livesay K, Elliott K, Nicholson P. Cultural Respect Encompassing Simulation Training – Being Heard about Health through Broadband. Journal of Public health Research

Liaw ST, Harris M, Hasan I, Lau P, Kelaher M, Wade V, Canalese R. Improving cultural respect to improve Aboriginal health in general practice: a multi-methods and multi-perspective pragmatic study. Australian Family Physician 2015; 44(6): 387-92.

Lau P, Pyett P, Burchill M, Furler J, Tynan M, Kelaher M, Liaw S. Factors influencing access to Urban General Practices and Primary Health Services by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians – A qualitative study. AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples 2012: 8(1): 66-84. https://doi.org/10.1177/117718011200800106

Burchill M, Lau P, Pyett P, Kelly S, Waples-Crowe P, Liaw S. Aboriginalising our research process: ‘hunting and gathering’ as a focus group methodology. International Journal of Critical Indigenous Studies 2011: 4(2): 29-38. ISSN: 1837-0144

Liaw S, Lau P, Pyett P, Furler J, Burchill M, Rowley K, Kelaher M. Successful chronic disease care for Aboriginal Australians requires cultural competence. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health 2011; 35(3): 238-48. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1753-6405.2011.00701.x

Lau P, Burchill M, Johnson B. Aboriginal health is not Aboriginal business ... it is everybody’s business. National Indigenous Times 20 Jan 2011; 217:36.

Burchill M, Lau P, Johnson B. Letter to the Editor: The Aboriginal Inclusion Framework Rights Yarn Up. Jun 2010; 5.

Research Group

Diabetes and Cardio-Metabolic Conditions

Faculty Research Themes

Infection and Immunology

School Research Themes

Integrated Critical Medicine

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre

General Practice

Unit / Centre

Diabetes and Cardio-Metabolic Conditions