NACCHO Aboriginal Health Conferences and Events #Saveadate This week @CAACongress @RegionalHealth1 @UniNewEngland #SpinifexSymposium Alice Springs @ozprodcom #MentalHealth report national hearings commence plus #QLD #closingTheGap #HaveYourSayCTG

This week 

November 12 – 13 National Spinifex Symposium in Alice Springs to feature drought and rural mental health

15 November Productivity Commission national hearings begin as stakeholders respond to draft mental health report

This month

18 November : The Victorian Aboriginal Health Service will hold an official opening ceremony for the new Epping Clinic 

28 November HealthInfonet Environmental Health portal and climate change Webinar

July to October 2020 Adjunct Professor Tracy Westerman’s  Workshops for 2020

November 12 – 13 National Spinifex Symposium in Alice Springs to feature drought and rural mental health

Australia’s medical researchers unite in the Red Centre for rural health

In a move not seen before, institutions from across Australia are banding together to find new ways to use research to help rural people. Facing an unrelenting drought and the impact this has had on mental health, employment and community survival, rural and regional Australians have welcomed the united support from the inaugural Spinifex Symposium.

Led by NSW Regional Health Partners, the University of New England and the Alice Springs-based Central Australia Academic Health Science Network (CA AHSN), the Spinifex Symposium will address topics including access issues, and the need for health solutions to be “place-based” in regional Australia, not dictated from the major cities.

“This is more than a two-day conference,” University of New England Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer, Professor Brigid Heywood said.

“This is the birthing of a new health research ecosystem in regional Australia. Our goal is to form a new alliance which will respond to the current and future health needs of the people who live in remote regional communities, which are different to their metropolitan counterparts.”

“We need to start a new conversation,” NSW Regional Health Partners director, Professor Christine Jorm said.

“Many of these communities were doing it tough before the drought, and ultimately, without the right research, we may not be able to keep some of these parts of Australia liveable into the future.”

The conference will be held in Alice Springs from November 12-13 and will see representatives from the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress, the Australian Psychological Society, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, Australian Rural Health Education Network, Country Women’s Association of Australia and many others unite to identify ways to solve the long term problems created by drought and rural life.

“We all know that we need water in rural communities. But what many people don’t realise is that we need a lot more than that,” Central Australian Aboriginal Congress chief executive Donna Ah Chee said.

“We need to know what the best ways are to support small communities and each other – and they will include listening and sharing and developing the research expertise of our people.”

Executive Director of the Central Australia Academic Health Science Network (CA AHSN) network, Chips Mackinolty, welcomed the Spinifex Symposium.

“It’s totally appropriate that this concerted effort and commitment to building sustained research investment, capacity and employment is being held at the heart of rural and remote Australia,” he said.

“The statistics tell it all: general health outcomes are much poorer in rural and remote areas, and this will be the beginning of a new deal for health research in Australia.”

15 November Productivity Commission national hearings begin as stakeholders respond to draft mental health report

See Croakey managing editor Melissa Sweet’s comprehensive wrap of the 1,238 page, two volume report, in which she urges those concerned with health equity to respond at public hearings or via written submissions (which close 23 January 2020), ahead of the Commission’s final report which is due by the end of May 2020.

Public hearings begin in Canberra on Friday (15 November) and will follow in Melbourne (18-19 November), Geraldton (20 November), Perth (21 November), Sydney (25-26 November), Broken Hill (28 November), Rockhampton (2 December), Brisbane (3 December), and Launceston (9 December). Dates and locations for South Australia and the Northern Territory are yet to be announced.

Mental health stakeholders have to date generally welcomed the draft report, saying it provides a comprehensive consolidation of issues that have long needed urgent attention and recognised the role of broader social determinants like housing and justice systems, and is prompting new thinking on funding and institutional reform.

But there are concerns, in particular from key consumer groups and individuals who believe their voices have not been fully heard, and disappointment from the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) that it did not recommend an immediate increase to Newstart and investment in new social housing units.

There are also early signs of professional concerns, including from the Australian Medical Association, which has said it will be “seeking assurances” on the future of current private sector models, especially specialist psychiatric care, and to be sure that appropriate non-GP specialist referrals are “not a casualty of reform.

Here are some of the key responses to the draft report, and links to more detailed statements.

More responses and analysis can be found in Associate Professor Lesley Russell’s latest Health Wrap.

18 November : The Victorian Aboriginal Health Service will hold an official opening ceremony for the new Epping Clinic on Monday November 18th.

VAHS would like to invite community members/clients to this event. Please RSVP for catering purposes. RSVP or any questions, please contact Bianca Charles on 8592 3920. Hope to see you there!

19 November New National Agreement on Closing the Gap community engagement dates in Queensland

Thursday Island: Monday 11 November ( Closed )
Townsville: Tuesday 19 November
Cairns: Wednesday 20 November
Mt Isa: Tuesday 26 November
Ipswich: Thursday 28 November
Rockhampton: date t.b.c.

More information available HERE

28 November HealthInfonet Environmental Health portal and climate change Webinar

The Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet is hosting a free webinar on Thursday 28 November 2019 to provide information about our new responsive design Environmental Health portal and climate change section.

The webinar will provide a tour of the Environmental Health Portal, including information on:

  • HealthInfoNet navigation
  • the new search features
  • the new filter features
  • the new climate change section
  • the key facts

The webinar will be presented by research staff from the Environmental Health team.
It will run for approximately 20 minutes, and is free to attend. There is no additional software required to join the webinar, other than a stable internet connection. We’d recommend that participants use a pair of headphones, and we’d also recommend that participants use Google Chrome to view the webinar.
The webinar will be held at:

  • 1:00 pm (NSW, Vic, Tas and ACT)
  • 12.30 am (SA)
  • 12:00 pm (Qld)
  • 11:30 am (NT)
  • 10:00 am (WA).

This is the link to log onto the webinar (you will be able to log on about ten minutes before it starts).
Participants are invited to register their interest prior to the event with the webinar organiser Vilma FitzGerald (contact details below).

Contact details
Webinar Organiser
Vilma FitzGerald
Senior Research Officer
Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet
Ph: (08) 6304 6328

31 January 2020 AMA Indigenous Medical Scholarship 2020 closes

This Scholarship is open to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are currently studying medicine at an Australian university.

For the purposes of this Scholarship, an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person is someone who is of Australian Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent, who identifies as an Australian Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person and is accepted as such by the community in which he or she lives or has lived.  Applicants will be asked to provide a letter from an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander community organisation supporting their claim.

The Scholarship commences no earlier than the second year of the recipient’s medical degree.  To receive the Scholarship, the recipient must be enrolled at an Australian medical school at the time of application, and have successfully completed the first year of a medical degree.  However, students who are in their first year of medicine are eligible to submit an application for their second year.  Results for the first year will be sought before any award is made.

In awarding the Scholarship, preference will be given to applicants who do not already hold any other scholarship or bursary.

The Scholarship will be awarded on the recommendation of a selection panel drawn from the AMA’s Taskforce on Indigenous Health.  Selection of the Scholarship recipient will be based on:

  • satisfactory academic performance judged on results achieved;
  • reports from referees familiar with applicant’s work and suitability for a career in medicine; and
  • a statement provided by the applicant describing his or her aspirations, purpose in studying medicine, and the uses to which he or she hopes to put his or her medical training.

Each applicant will be asked to provide a curriculum vitae (maximum two pages) including employment history, the contact details of two referees, and formal proof of full-time enrolment in a medical course for the 2019 academic year.

The Scholarship will be awarded for a full course of study, subject to review at the end of each year.  The Scholarship may be withheld or terminated if a Scholarship holder’s performance in any semester is unsatisfactory. The final decision to withhold or terminate a Scholarship is at the discretion of the AMA.

The value of the Scholarship in 2020 will be $10,000 per annum, paid in a lump sum.  Please note that it is the responsibility of applicants to seek advice from Centrelink on how the Scholarship payment may affect ABSTUDY or any other government payment.

Applications close 31 January 2020.

The Indigenous Peoples’ Medical Scholarship Trust Fund was established in 1994 with a contribution from the Australian Government.   In 2016, the Trust Fund became The AMA Indigenous Medical Scholarship Foundation.  The Foundation is administered by AMA Pty Ltd.

The Australian Medical Association would like to acknowledge the contributions of the following donors:  Reuben Pelerman Benevolent Foundation; the late Beryl Jamieson’s wishes for donations towards the Indigenous Medical Scholarship; Deakin University; The Anna Wearne Fund and B B & A Miller, sub-funds of the Australian Communities Foundation.

July to October 2020 Adjunct Professor Tracy Westerman’s  Workshops for 2020

Aboriginal Mental Health Assessment & Suicide Prevention in Aboriginal Communities Workshops

Website for more info bookings

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