- Community-based organisations the way forward
- COVID-19 paves new ways for remote health
- Condoman creator reflects on career
- Meth use risk and protective factors
- Young voices challenge negative race perceptions
- Health problems related to trauma
- Maari Ma mixed results for young people
- Pioneer Indigenous doctor wins top WA gong
- Locals unmoved by Dan Murphy’s new site
- NRHA Board reflects diverse health skills
- Palliative care at home project seeks input
- CRE-STRIDE scholarships available
- Job Alert
Community-based organisations the way forward
The latest Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage report shows support for self-determination and community-based organisations is the way forward to address the systemic barriers faced by First Peoples, Oxfam Australia says. The Productivity Commission’s eighth report, which examines progress against 52 indicators, identified some areas of progress, but systemic problems remain in the high rates of removal of children from their families, incarceration, poor mental health, and in rates of suicide and self-harm. “Oxfam has long advocated self-determination as a core element in addressing the challenges that First Peoples face. We welcome the report’s finding that shared decision-making and participation on the ground are common elements in successful outcomes,” said Ngarra Murray, National Manager of Oxfam’s First People’s program.
COVID-19 paves new ways for remote health
One positive from COVID-19 disrupting face-to-face teaching is the opportunity it is giving health professions education (HPE) in regional, rural and remote communities, education experts from around Australia say. Health professionals and students are commonly required to drive long distances at a cost of time and money either to themselves and their families, or the health service which employs them.
However, this burden on regional, rural and remote (RRR)-based professionals and students will reduce if in-service, tertiary and professionally accredited training providers can embrace defensibly effective and engaging teaching approaches to make lectures, tutorials, skill education, and practice development accessible from a distance,” says SA Riverland-based Dr Amy Seymour-Walsh, lecturer in Clinical Education Development at Flinders University.
To view the Flinders University media release in full click here.
Condoman creater reflects on career
ABC Radio’s James Valentine spoke with Professor Gracelyn Smallwood on World HIV-AIDS day and two weeks into her retirement. Professor Gracelyn Smallwood AM is a Birrigubba woman from Townsville where she became internationally acclaimed for her work in Indigenous health. After 45 years of midwifery and 50 years of being a registered nurse, Gracelyn reflects on her achievements such as the creation of Condoman, a superhero that was used to promote culturally appropriate sexual health messages to Indigenous communities in the 1980s.
To listen to the Afternoons with James Valentine interview with Professor Gracelyn Smallwood click here.
Meth use risk and protective factors
A recently published study Identifying risk and protective factors, including culture and identity, for methamphetamine use in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities: Relevance of the ‘communities that care’ model has highlighted that methamphetamine use is of deep concern in Aboriginal communities and a deep understanding of risk and protective factors is needed to prevent harm. While many risk and protective factors overlap with mainstream settings some do not and it is crucial for culturally informed prevention systems to include culturally relevant factors.
To view the details of the study click here.
Young voices challenge negative race perceptions
Following on from large-scale Black Lives Matter rallies in Australia earlier this year, The Healing Foundation has launched the third podcast in its new series on intergenerational trauma and healing. This latest episode explores how racism continues to impact Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples 250 years after colonisation. It features four young Indigenous people as they confront the negative perceptions, stereotypes and prejudice they have encountered growing up.
The Healing Foundation CEO Fiona Petersen said the latest Healing Our Way podcast highlights the importance of truth telling in breaking the cycle of intergenerational trauma and enabling healing for young people and the nation more broadly.
Health problems related to trauma
The Healing Foundation CEO Fiona Petersen, a proud Wuthathi descendant with family roots from the Torres Strait has given a speech to the Indigenous Allied Health Australian (IAHA) Conference. Ms Petersen said “Healing refers to the recovery from the psychological and physical impacts of trauma, which is largely the result of colonisation and past government policies including state and federal assimilation policies. By healing trauma, we are tackling the source of social and health problems that are far more prevalent for our people, including family violence, substance abuse, incarceration and children in out-of-home care. These are the symptoms of trauma, not the nature of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Unfortunately, negative stereotypes like this still remain, but with your help we can improve understanding about the impacts of trauma that are still being felt today.”
To view the transcript of Fiona’s speech click here.
Maari Ma mixed results for young people
A new report looking at a number of health, educational, and social indicators for Indigenous children and young people in far-west NSW has shown improvements in some areas but a decline in others. Aboriginal health service Maari Ma released its latest Health, Development, and Wellbeing in Far Western NSW — Our Children and Youth report last week. It was compiled throughout 2019 with the cooperation of several agencies such as the state’s health and education departments, and follows previous reports on the indicators in 2014 and 2009. Maari Ma’s latest report shows that the rate of smoking in pregnancy for young Aboriginal people in the region is more than nine times higher than the rest of the NSW population.
To view the full report click here.
Pioneer Indigenous doctor wins top WA gong
The nation’s first recognised Indigenous medical doctor, Helen Milroy, has been named WA’s 2020 Australian of the Year. A descendant of the Palyku people from WA’s Pilbara region, Professor Milroy became a doctor in 1983 and is one of Australia’s foremost child and adolescent psychiatrists. That expertise led to her serving as a commissioner with the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse from 2013 to 2017.
She currently serves as commissioner with the National Mental Health Commission and lectures in psychiatry at the University of WA. A pioneer in Aboriginal and child mental health research, Professor Milroy was also appointed in 2018 as the AFL’s first Indigenous commissioner. “It’s been a privilege as a doctor and as a child psychiatrist to go on those journeys with so many people in their lives,” she said in a UWA profile last month. I think I have a natural inclination to wanting to find out more, to find out what makes people tick and to actually help them get back on track, particularly kids.”
To view the full article published in The Standard click here.
Locals unmoved by Dan Murphy’s new site
Local Indigenous health groups have hit out at Woolworths chairman Gordon Cairns’ claim a revised site for Dan Murphy’s mega-store in Darwin hasn’t been met with opposition. At Woolworths’ AGM last month Mr Cairns revealed its proposed site to build the liquor store had been moved 1.3km further away from three nearby dry communities. “We have an agreement in principle with our landlord, the NT’s airport, to relocate to an alternative site,” he said. “We understand that all current objectors will not oppose the new location.”
Mr Coates said the Government’s new laws would not allow for proper consideration of public health impacts. “In my view it can’t, especially in relation to this bill — it removes the requirement that everyone else has got to abide by and that is the onus is on the applicant to prove that the application is in the public interest,” Mr Coates said. “This bill takes that away from this application.”
To view the full article with Richard Coates’ comments click here.
NRHA Board reflects diverse health skills
The diversity of health professionals working across the rural sector is reflected in the new Board of the National Rural Health Alliance (the Alliance), elected at the 29th Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Canberra this week. The Alliance of 44 national rural and health-related organisations advocates for sustainable
and affordable health services for the 7 million people in rural and remote Australia. There membership includes representation from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector, health professional organisations, health service providers, health educators and students, as well as consumer groups.
At the AGM on Monday 30 November 2020, the representative for Allied Health Professions Australia, Nicole O’Reilly, was elected Chair. A former occupational therapy clinician and health manager from the NT, Ms O’Reilly has comprehensive skills and knowledge, and strong relationships across the allied health sector.
To view the Alliance’s media release about the new board click here.
Palliative care at home project seeks input
Although comprehensive data on rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people accessing palliative care services are not available in Australia, clinically it has been observed that these Australians are underrepresented in the palliative care patient population. In addition, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are more likely to be admitted for palliative care-related hospitalisations, with the rate of admissions in public hospitals approximately double that for other Australians. These statistics are noteworthy given that many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people report feeling culturally unsafe in hospitals and some (especially in remote communities) express a preference for dying ‘on country’.
The Australian Government Department of Health (DoH) is funding a new project entitled caring@home for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Families. The initial phase of this project is to consult with relevant stakeholders across the country to get feedback on how the existing caring@home resources for carers need to be tailored to meet the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families. DoH is currently designing the consultation with the aim of undertaking consultation in 2021.
As a first step in this process DoH would like to connect with relevant individuals/Departments at the state government/local health networks level and with peak Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations to ensure that everyone knows about this project. DoH has Steering and Advisory Committees for the project but would appreciate any advice/feedback about the project, especially any local consultation/processes they should undertake, that will help to promote use of the new resources.
A factsheet describing the project can be accessed here and you are invited to have input into the proposed 2021 consultation process by contacting Karen Cooper by phone 0428 422 818 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
CRE-STRIDE scholarships available
The Centre for Research Excellence – Strengthening Systems for Indigenous Health Care Equity (CRE-STRIDE) vision is equitable health care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities through quality improvement (QI) and collaborative research to strength primary health care systems. CRE-STRIDE involves leading researchers from across Australia with expertise in health systems and QI research, participatory action research, Indigenous methodologies, epidemiology, public health, health and social policy. The CRE Investigator team, and higher degree research (HDR) supervisors have outstanding national and international reputations and track records.
CRE-STRIDE is offering scholarships to support honours, Masters of Research and PhD candidates.
For more information about the scholarships and details of how to submit an Expression of Interest click here.
NT – Alice Springs – Children’s Ground
FT Health Promotion Coordinator – 6 months fixed term contract (extension subject to funding)
The Health Promotion Coordinator will work within a multi-disciplinary team that delivers the Children’s Ground Family Health and Wellbeing Framework – Health in the Hands of the People (HIHP) to improve the health and wellbeing outcomes for the community. This will include the recognition and support of local cultural knowledge systems and practices, and the agency of consumers. This position will coordinate the work of the Health and Wellbeing team. It will also be responsible for leading the development and implementation of family health plans with individuals and families and creating and delivering responses to population health needs with the local community
Children’s Ground is working to create an environment where families realise their aspirations for the next generation of children to be free from trauma and suffering, enjoy equity and safety, be able to grow into adulthood happy and healthy, and have agency over their social, cultural, political and economic life.