Halima Akanbi

Social Science
Winter 2019

On completing my Masters of Health and International Development at Flinders University, I was fortunate to be selected for an Aurora internship to be hosted at the Lowitja Institute (Australia’s National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research Institute) in Carlton, Melbourne. The Lowitja Institute is well known for the commissioning of research that promotes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health. During my internship, I worked with the Research and Knowledge Translation (R&KT) team. The R & KT’s core business is to quality manage research activities, translate research knowledge into plain language summaries for the public and monitor the impact of research on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing.

The 5-week internship provided me the opportunity to learn about Indigenous research and research impact. I also got a bit of insight into the importance of health research in policy making. As an intern, I was tasked with the sorting, categorisation and transfer of research files into a digital space. One of the highlights of my time as an intern was attending the Lowijta Institute’s 2019 International Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Conference where I chaired poster sessions, supported activities of the Conference Statement Team and got to meet key players in Indigenous Health from across the globe.

I also assisted with other boutique tasks which included doing background work on Human Research Ethics Committees as well as mapping out activities of a Women’s Shelter to create a digital timeline. These tasks I found incredibly valuable to my personal and professional development. I felt so connected and valued. The R & KT team and the entire member of staff were nothing but welcoming and supportive to me throughout.

I ended my internship with a march around the Melbourne CBD in support of the 2019 NAIDOC week. My time at the Lowitja Institute will forever be memorable not only because of the relationships and connections that I built but also how the experience completely changed my perspective on Indigenous health research and what it truly means for Indigenous research to be led and controlled by Indigenous people. The power in that sovereignty is what the Lowitja Institute showcases and will continue to support.

I have since completed my internship and was offered a job as a Research Project Officer. My honest two cents to anyone interested in policy/research and research impact specifically in Indigenous affairs is to consider an Aurora internship. There is so much value to this than I can put in words. To find out how to apply, go to

http://auroraproject.com.au/about-internship-program.  Applications for the winter 2020 round will be open from 2 through 27 March 2020.