NACCHO Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health News: Racism is a public health crisis

Image is the feature tile is from The Conversation.

Racism is a public health crisis

Last month the British Medical Journal published an editorial calling for racism to be listed as a leading cause of death among Black people in the US. The authors argue reporting excess deaths by race and ethnicity will “galvanise action and promote accountability”. This call echoes the global shift to declare racism a public health crisis, after the confluence of COVID and the Black Lives Matter movement showed how it affected the lives of Black and Indigenous peoples.

Measuring the impact of racism by the number of excess deaths raises concerns however about how we deal with the racialised health disparities Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people continue to experience. Measuring racism via excess deaths also fails to account for the ways race bears down heavily upon the lives of Indigenous peoples from birth to death.

To view The Conversation article in full click here.

2 Aboriginal men, one with Aboriginal flag over shoulder walking in front of Aboriginal flag mural on brick wall

Image source: The Guardian.

Queensland ACCHO plans new clinic

An indigenous health service has put forward plans for a new clinic and community headquarters in a small town west of Toowoomba. Applicant Goondir Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Corporation for Health Services, known to the public as Goondir Health Service, lodged a proposal with the Toowoomba Regional Council to build a new health and community services centre on Bridge Street in Oakey.

The new development would include a health care clinic with space for two practitioners, a community use area and 15 car parks. Goondir currently has a clinic on Campbell Street in Oakey, along with a presence in Dalby and St George. “The health care use will provide critical health care services to the Oakey community,” the planning report said.

Goondir Health Services employs nearly 60 staff and services more than 5000 clients across the surrounding region. “Services offered at Goondir are unique and tailored to address the sensitivity needed when interacting with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander client base due to their cultural and traditional values,” the website said.

concept art for new Goondir AHS - Bridge St, Oakey

Concept art for the new Goondir Aboriginal health service on Bridge Street in Oakey. Image source: The Chronicle.

ACCHO CEO joins pandemic panel

Victoria’s Minister for Health has appointed a panel of independent experts to provide oversight and advice as part of Australia’s most transparent and accountable pandemic management framework.

The Independent Pandemic Management Advisory Committee (IPMAC) will include members with knowledge and experience in fields such as public health, infectious diseases, primary care, emergency services, critical care, business, law and human rights.

Multiple members will also represent the interests and needs of traditional owners and Aboriginal Victorians as well as other vulnerable communities. CEO of the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service and Acting Chair of VACCHO Michael Graham is one of the 12 appointed to the panel.

To view the full article click here.

VAHS CEO & a/g Chair VACCHO Michael Graham

VAHS CEO and Acting Chair VACCHO, Michael Graham. Image source: ProBono Australia.

Supporting mob to stop vaping

A Supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People to stop vaping webinar was held on 27 January 2022. The webinar is now available to view on the RACGP events page. The recording is also be available on the NACCHO website.

You can access webinar presentation slides (inclusive of useful resources at end of presentation) and also the recording transcript should you be experiencing any difficulties in accessing the recording here.

If you have any queries about the webinar, please contact Daniela Doblanovic, Education and Events Project Officer using this email link.

hand holding vape, smoke blown from mouth

Image source: The Guardian.

More alcohol than ever in homes

A new report by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) has confirmed more alcohol is flowing into the homes of Australians than ever before, causing concerns for increased harms to families and communities.

Reviewing newly released Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) retail trade data, the report found a $3.6 billion (29%) increase in alcohol retail turnover in Australia between 2019 to 2021.

FARE CEO, Caterina Giorgi, said that at the same time many families in the community are experiencing increased stress from the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, alcohol companies are shamelessly pushing their products into Australian homes. “Far too many Australians are negatively impacted by family violence, mental illness, chronic health conditions, injury and death, and all are made worse because of alcohol,” Ms Giorgi said.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, there are indications more people are needing help because of alcohol harms. At the same time, alcohol companies have used the pandemic as a marketing opportunity. Action is needed from Governments to address the predatory marketing practices of alcohol companies. Without it, companies will continue to push more alcohol into homes, increasing the risk of alcohol harms to families and communities.”

You can read FARE’s media release in full here and the full report here.

bin full of wine bottles

Image source: The Guardian.

Indigenous public health teaching position

The University of Melbourne is seeking an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person who is enthusiastic about teaching and supporting the learning for the next generation of public health professionals.

They would love to hear from you if you have:

  • a PhD or equivalent, or postgraduate qualifications
  • teaching and learning qualifications or relevant experience in a health field
  • great communication skills
  • a desire to work collaboratively and make a difference

This well supported Lecturer/Teaching Coordinator in Indigenous Health position will work with the Onemda team in the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health to develop and coordinate an innovative teaching and learning program that is integrated with outstanding research and translation into policy and practice to drive real improvements for the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

They would be open to offering part-time options and/or secondment opportunity if that worked better than full-time for someone currently in a health service delivery role who wanted to try something different for a while.

You can access more information here, contact Cath Chamberlain using this email link or phone 0428 921 271.

Professor Catherine Chamberlain, Head of the Indigenous Health Equity Unit, University of Melbourne. Image source. Uni Melbourne website.

NT teen suicide rate highest

The latest figures from the Productivity Commission show the NT has recorded the highest teen suicide rates in the country. The suicide rate among those aged 5 to 17 in the NT is more than double that of the next highest jurisdiction.

Between 2016 and 2020, the rate of teenage suicide was 8.6 per 100,000 people. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people also faced significantly higher suicide rates than the rest of the population.

NT Mental Health Coalition CEO Geoff Radford said “Mental health in the NT presents a complexity unfound in other states and territories in Australia due to its geographical vastness, its cultural and linguistic diversity, its concerning social determinants of health and intergenerational trauma experienced by many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”

“For young Territorians suffering from mental ill-health it is estimated that 70% do not seek help. This number is compounded by the fact that young people aged 15 to 24 years represent 24.6% of admissions to mental health inpatient facilities.”

The above is extracted from an article in NT News published yesterday.

Image source: NT Independent.

Empowering health in community

Melbourne University is offering a Specialist Certificate in Empowering Health in Aboriginal Communities.

Course details: 

  • Part-time (great for those working)
  • Eligibility: 2 years exp working in Aboriginal health or community development or bachelor’s degree
  • Relationship with Aboriginal community required to complete class project
  • Both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people can apply
  • Pathways into Graduate Certificate in Aboriginal Health in Rural Communities (all subjects from both certificate contribute toward Master of Public Health).

You can access a flyer for the  course here. People who are interested are encouraged to get in contact even if they think they aren’t eligible, using this email address.

New process for job advertising

NACCHO have introduced a new system for the advertising of job adverts via the NACCHO website and you can find the sector job listings here.

Click here to go to the NACCHO website where you can complete a form with job vacancy details – it will then be approved for posting and go live on the NACCHO website.

COVID-19 vaccine update for Primary Care

The latest in the series of COVID-19 vaccine updates for Primary Care, providing the latest information on the vaccine rollout, will be held from 11:30 AM – 12:00 PM (AEDT) Thursday 17 February 2022.

The panel this week will be: Professor Michael Kidd AM (Chair), Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health, Dr Lucas de Toca, First Assistant Secretary, COVID-19 Primary Care Response, Department of Health and Professor Nigel Crawford Chair, Vaccine Safety, Special Risk Groups, Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI).

GPs and all health professionals are welcome to attend the webinar and can join using this link. If you’re unable to view this webinar live, you can view it on-demand using the same link, within a few hours of the live stream ending.

tile text 'Primary Care COVID-19 Update' - blue background, image of COVID-19 virus cell

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