NACCHO Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health News: Health Journey Mapping tools launched

Image in feature tile is by Ngarrindjeri artist Jordan Lovegrove – Karko Creations from the Lowitja Institute Learning and Development Hub website page.

Health Journey Mapping tools launched

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people often experience complex and challenging health care journeys that are culturally unsafe, leading to adverse health outcomes.

Yesterday, Associate Professor Janet Kelly of the University of Adelaide and the Lowitja Institute, launched the Health Journey Mapping tools and resources to improve the quality and cultural safety of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s health care journeys.

Lowitja Institute CEO, Adjunct Professor Janine Mohamed, said the tools will help embed culturally safe practices into healthcare through a strengths-based approach, “Like most Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, I know the critical importance of good health journeys and the harms caused when we experience, all too often, poor health journeys. I have experienced this as an Aboriginal woman and mother, as a nurse, and through exploring policy and research on cultural safety, or the lack of it, in mainstream health services and systems.”

The package of tools consists of three mapping tools, a handy user guide, some worked examples and introductory videos, such as the one below. You can find out more here.

To view Lowitja Institute’s media release Health Journey Mapping: embedding culturally safe practices into healthcare in full click here.

ACCHO AHW’s career blooms

Wiradjuri woman Kristy Purnell’s entry into the healthcare system amid a global pandemic has been a rewarding experience Employed as an Aboriginal Health Worker at Toowoomba’s Carbal Medical Services since September 2020, Ms Purnell has been administering COVID vaccines alongside her regular roles.

I work in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medical services because I want to help my community and provide health care to people that need it,” she said. “My role entails screening clients, doing annual health checks, going to community events, assisting nurses in the treatment room and promoting various programs that Carbal run.”

Ms Purnell’s passion for her role has seen her undertake a CQUniversity TAFE course in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care. She said with a Certificate III already under her belt, Carbal encouraged her to keep acquiring new skills.

“I started (the Certificate IV) last year and have done some residential schooling, which has reinforced my knowledge of comprehensive screening,” she said. “I feel that I’m learning new things that I’m able to utilise in my role on a daily basis. I enjoy sharing my new knowledge with other team members. “This course is helping me to become a confident health worker. It is giving me the skills I need to continue growing in my position at Carbal.” Ms Purnell said the course was worth pursuing for anyone interested in the field.

To view the National Indigenous Times article Kirsty Purnell’s health career blooms amongst pandemic response click here.

AHW Kirsty Purnell

Aboriginal Health Worker Kirsty Purnell. Image source: National Indigenous Times.

Our Vote Our Story – 4 days left to enrol!

Your vote is your voice on the laws and decisions that affect you and your community. To vote you need to be enrolled.

If you are an Australian citizen aged 18 years or older you are required to vote in the 2022 federal election on Saturday 21 May 2022.

You must be correctly enrolled by 8:00PM local time Monday 18 April 2022. You can enrol online here or if you are already enrolled you can update you name or address here.

Exciting nursing scholarship opportunity

In collaboration with HESTA, the Australian College of Nursing (ACN) is delighted to offer four scholarships for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses to complete any of ACN’s nursing Graduate Certificates in the July 2022 intake. Information about all 20 Graduate Certificates available to this scholarship can be accessed online here.

For more information, including eligibility criteria and to apply here.  Applications are closing soon, at 11:59PM AEST Wednesday 20 April 2022.

First Nations leaders call for climate action

Peak Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health organisations have released a powerful position paper on the climate emergency and health, calling for action to address pervasive racism, the privileging of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledges in climate change responses, and support for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander environmental health workforce.

The need to address climate change and it impact on health and wellbeing is a major concern for members of the National Health Leadership Forum (NHLF) which is made up of 13 members including NACCHO. The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2021-31 acknowledges the impact of climate change by including healthy environments, sustainability, and preparedness, however the need for action goes beyond the scope of the Health Plan.

The impacts of climate change and global heating must always be at the forefront of planning and decision making. Accordingly, the HNLF supports the international calls for the establishment of a set of new norms that sees a warning limit goal of 1.5C rather than 2C, raising Australia’s 2030 ambitions, more equitable water management for communities, improvement in residential living standards, transition to renewable energy, and the end of fossil fuels.

The NHLF calls for all Australian governments to collaborate with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and adopt a its recommendations and principles for action to bring about systemic change to the way Australia looks after the environment and addresses the impacts of climate change.

To view the Croaky Health Media article Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health leaders call for climate action click here.

Art display paying respects to the needwonnee people in southern lutruwita/Tasmania and their care for Country. Photo: Melissa Sweet. Image source: Croakey Health Media.

‘Dire’ new RHD data

Last month, the ABC Four Corners program shone a light on the ongoing failure to tackle rheumatic heart disease (RHD), calling it a ‘hidden killer’ in remote communities. It recounted the confronting story of several young women in Queensland who died from an illness that is vanishingly rare outside of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

According to new research by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), the situation is sliding backwards. A report published this week highlighted the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people diagnosed with acute rheumatic fever (ARF), a precursor to serious heart disease, is rising.

At the time the Four Corners program aired, the most recently available five-year figures showed 2244 diagnoses of ARF from 2015–2019, itself a significant increase on the 1776 recorded from 2013–2017. And yet, according to the new AIHW figures, the tally now stands at 2611 diagnoses from 2016–2020, with the NT recording by far the highest prevalence at 344 per 100,000 population.

You can access the newsGP article in full here and view the AIHW’s report published this week here.

Aboriginal mother holding toddler

The number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people being diagnosed with acute rheumatic fever, a precursor to serious heart disease, is rising. Image source: newsGP.

New online diabetes modules

A package of interactive learning modules for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers to support people with diabetes has been launched via the National Diabetes Services Scheme. The package has been developed by Diabetes Australia to provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander healthcare workers and practitioners with diabetes information and culturally appropriate resources to support people living with diabetes and their families.

Diabetes Australia Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Engagement Manager Deanne Minniecon said the modules included interactive activities and stories, taking the user on an engaging journey as they learn more about diabetes related health complications and management strategies to support people to live well with diabetes.

The modules have been developed in consultation with expert groups including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clinicians, medical and research doctors, university academics specialising in diabetes and leaders in education. The SA Health & Medical Research Institute also contributed to the review process. The modules are engaging, accessible in bite size pieces, culturally appropriate and address all of the issues associated with managing diabetes, beyond the traditional scope.

You can view the National Indigenous Times article New diabetes online modules offer diabetes support and education in full here.

Diabetes Australia has partnered with Waanyi–Kalkadoon artist Keisha Leon to tell the story of diabetes and its significant impact of First Nations peoples. Image source: Diabetes Australia website.

Indigenous Marathon Project

Canberran Roxanne Jones is one of 12 Indigenous Marathon Project squad members set to run the New York Marathon. Canberra local, Palawa woman and PhD Candidate Roxanne Jones started running in 2017 and after a decline in her health in 2018, Roxanne was forced to adapt her training to include a wheelchair.

Despite her challenges, Roxanne persevered, racing in the world biggest fun run—the Sydney City2Surf in a wheelchair in 2018. She hasn’t stopped since. “I am passionate about sharing my story so that other people with disabilities, mental health or chronic conditions can see themselves represented. Representation and visibility is so important if we are to be a truly inclusive community. I want to demonstrate that [within the running and walking community], all abilities are welcome and valued”, says Roxanne.

Roxanne joins 11 other young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from across Australia who have been selected to join the 2022 Indigenous Marathon Project Squad to train for the 42.2km New York City Marathon in November.

You can listen to Roxanne and Head Coach Damian Tuck’s interview on ABC Radio Drive here.

New York marathon runners on bridge

New York Marathon. Image source: ABC News website.

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.

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