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Elissa Elvidge

Elissa Elvidge

What are your research interests?

  • Social determinants of health
  • Indigenous Health
  • Cultural Safety
  • Improving equity of access for marginalized populations

Why did you get into research?

Prior to beginning my PhD I worked in public health and it was during this time that I developed a passion for improving health equity and understanding how the social determinants of health and in particular, how racism and discrimination can impact the health of marginalized communities. My research is about giving hospitals the tools and information to be able to improve the cultural safety of the services they provide to the Aboriginal community. Cultural safety is determined from the patient’s perspective and it encompasses the positive relationships that health care providers need to foster to ensure respectful interactions that are free from discrimination and are built on trust, where Aboriginal people feel comfortable accessing services.

What would be the ultimate goal for your research?

I believe that there is a genuine commitment to Closing The Gap and improving Indigenous health inequality. But hospitals need the information, tools and resources to be able to make these positive changes. Ultimately, the aim of my research is to address the current gaps between the policy, evidence and practice by producing the first empirically validated framework that measures cultural safety from the patient perspective. Once the resulting framework is validated it will be used to inform subsequent research methods as well as the development and evaluation of future culturally based programs aimed improving accessibility and acceptability of health services for Aboriginal people in NSW and Australia as a whole.


Elissa is a PhD candidate with the school of medicine and public health. Her PhD will develop an empirically validated cultural safety framework for NSW hospitals. The aim of the Framework is to measure cultural safety from the Aboriginal community perspective using methods that align with existing hospital accreditation standards. 

Prior to commencing her studies Ms Elvidge worked for Hunter New England Local Health District population health unit in a range of different areas including HIV/AIDS health promotion, influenza and vaccine safety surveillance and cultural redesign. It was through her work on the Cultural Redesign Advisory Group that she developed an interest in health policy, closing the gap and cultural safety. Elissa is passionate about working with marginalised communities to improve health equity.

Future Focus

Upon completion of my PhD I hope to continue to work with communities and health services to improve their cultural safety. Once the framework is validated, I would like to use the findings from my research as the basis for a best practice framework for future studies to consider. By producing the first empirically validated model of cultural safety this work will provide the methodological foundation for future health policy that will contribute to improving both the accessibility and acceptability of hospitals for Aboriginal people in NSW.

Specialised/Technical Skills 

Ms Elvidge’s work uses a mixed methods approach with both qualitative and quantitative data analysis underpinned by the principles of cultural safety.

  • Qualitative interviews with thematic or discourse analysis using NVivo software
  • Confirmatory Factor Analysis surveys
  • Developing and implementing innovative participant recruitment strategies
  • Conducting Aboriginal health research in genuine partnerships with the Aboriginal community
  • Using social media as a method of engagement with other researchers and health organizations