NACCHO Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health News: CATSINaM 25th Anniversary Conference highlights

The image in the feature tile is of the CATSINaM logo created by Lesley Salem, a descendent of the Gringai-Wonnarua Nation in NSW, a Nurse Practitioner and member of CATSINaM. Image source: CATSINaM website.

CATSINaM 25th Anniversary Conference highlights

Yesterday, as part of its 25th Anniversary National Conference the Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives (CATSINaM):

• celebrated the opening of its In Our Own Right: Black Australian Nurses and Midwives Stories Exhibition. The exhibition pays tribute to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nursing and midwifery trailblazers and role models, showcasing individual and collective stories of educational achievement and of facing and overcoming challenges, like racism, in order to effect change within health services for the benefit of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. You can view CATSINaM’s media release relating to exhibition here.

• launched the highly anticipated report: ‘gettin em n keepin em n growin em’: Strategies for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nursing and midwifery education reform (GENKE II). A formative work in CATSINaM’s 25 Years of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nursing and midwifery activism was the original 2002 ‘getting em n keepin em’: Report of the Indigenous Nursing and Education Working Group (GENKE I) that aimed to address the detrimentally low numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses and midwives in the health workforce. Honoring and reviewing this work, this year CATSINaM developed GENKE II 2022 presenting renewed strategies to address the persistent. CATSINaM’s media release, about the GENKE II report is available here.

Today, for the first time in Australian history, a national nursing and midwifery leadership group will deliver an apology to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, for the hurt and harm caused by non-Indigenous nurses and midwives. Professor Karen Strickland, Chair of the Council of Deans of Nursing and Midwifery (CDNM), will deliver an apology on behalf of the CDNM and its members, to over 300 delegates attending the 2022 CATSINaM National Conference. The majority of delegates will be Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander practising or retired, and student nurses and midwives. CATSINaM’s media release relating to the apology is available here.

Photos from the CATSINaM 2022 National Conference. CATSINaM Tweet Friday 19 August 2022.

NACCHO CEO delivers keynote address

Earlier this morning NACCHO CEO and Lead Convener of the Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peaks organisations, Pat Turner AM delivered a keynote address at the CATSINaM National Conference. In her address Ms Turner said she received a letter last week from the PM confirming his government’s commitment to the National Agreement on Closing the Gap. Although Ms Turner believes “there is no single strategy, idea, or group that will deliver the equity and change [Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people] are entitled to, the National Agreement on Closing the Gap is fundamental to driving reform in how Australian governments interact with all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”

The National Agreement on Closing the Gap, Ms Turner said “is the first intergovernmental agreement designed to improve the lives of our people that has been negotiated and agreed with representatives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across Australia. The National Agreement commits this country to a new direction and is a pledge from all governments to fundamentally change the way they work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and organisations.”

You can read Pat Turner’s keynote address in full on the NACCHO website here.

Pat Turner, 2022 CATSINaM National Conference. Image source: Lowitja Institute Tweet.

Reducing cervical cancer impacts

Aboriginal organisations across NSW will benefit from six new Cervical Screening Community Grants which will provide culturally responsive and targeted health promotion initiatives within Aboriginal communities. The locally-led programs are aimed at boosting the number of Aboriginal women across the state who access cervical screening, reducing the impact of cervical cancer.

Minister for Women, Regional Health and Mental Health, Bronnie Taylor said the grants are part of $114,350 in funding awarded to Local Health Districts and non-profit organisations through the Cancer Institute NSW to promote the National Cervical Screening Program. “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are almost four-times more likely to die from cervical cancer than non-Aboriginal women and these grants work towards closing the gap,” Mrs Taylor said. “Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable cancers and we know having a Cervical Screening Test every five years is now the best way to prevent it. By funding these grants, we are working to provide opportunities to educate local communities on the ground about the importance of cervical screening.”

To view the NSW Government media release Grants awarded to reduce the impact of cervical cancer in Aboriginal communities in full click here.

Yorta Yorta, Dja Dja Wurrung and Gamiloroi artist Madison Connors was commissioned by Cancer Council Victoria to create 12 unique art pieces to raise awareness about cervical screening to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Image source: Cancer Council VIC website.

Mental health support for flood victims

The Albanese Government is delivering $13.1 million in targeted mental health support for NSW communities impacted by the devastating recent floods. Disasters don’t just affect the economy – there are also severe environmental and social impacts, including impacts on the wellbeing and mental health of individuals and communities – manifesting in increased rates of anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and domestic and family violence. The compounding effect of multiple floods in these communities will have a lasting impact, so improving the availability and accessibility of support is critical during this stage of recovery.

This funding will ensure those most impacted by the floods can receive the support they need to recover. First Nations communities most impacted by the floods will be supported by $3 million to NACCHO to distribute across impacted community controlled organisations to provide much needed trauma counselling, healing and support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

To view the Minister for Health and Aged Care, the Hon Mark Butler MP’s media release Mental health support for NSW floods in full click here.

AIHW releases health check data

Through Medicare, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can receive Indigenous‑‍specific health checks from their doctor, as well as referrals for Indigenous‑‍specific follow‑‍up services. According to an Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report released this week:

  • In 2020–‍21, 237,000 Indigenous Australians had one of these health checks (27% of the projected population).
  • The proportion of Indigenous health check patients who had an Indigenous‑‍specific follow‑‍up service within 12 months of their check increased from 12% to 47% between 2010–‍11 and 2019–‍20.

The report presents data on Indigenous‑‍specific health checks and follow‑‍up services for a time period up until the end of June 2021 (i.e. overlapping with the COVID‑19 period). It also includes data on telehealth MBS items that were introduced in 2020 as part of the response to COVID‑‍19.

To view the AIHW web report Indigenous health checks and follow-ups in full click here.

Image source: Galambia Aboriginal Health Services website.

Bowel screening webinar series

Cancer Council, in partnership with the Australian Government, recently launched a national campaign to encourage people to Get2it and participate in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP). As a part of this, content and resources have been developed specifically for GPs and other primary care health professionals to continue to encourage their patients to take part in bowel cancer screening. This includes a free three-part webinar series titled ‘Getting to the bottom of bowel screening’ for GPs, nurses, and other health professionals. This educational series will be presented by an array of experts from across Australia talking to key topics in the bowel screening space, providing valuable insights to GPs and health professionals to help drive participation in screening.

You can register for each webinar via the below links, or sign up to receive the recording if you are unable to make the 8–9 PM (AEST) webinars on the night.

• Improving NBCSP participation – understanding our audience – Tuesday 23 August, register here

• Bowel cancer screening – from the GP perspectiveWednesday 31 August, register here

• Getting to the bottom of colonoscopy use in bowel screening Wednesday 31 August, register here

You can access a range of GP and health professional specific resources, videos (such as the one below), newsletter and social media content, key messages and calls to action by visiting the Cancer Council Campaign Hub here.

Video consults find niche in mental health

Mental health consults are the top reason for clinicians to use video-based telehealth services, according to the national virtual public health information service. It’s been just over a month since the Department of Health ditched a swathe of MBS phone items, a move which many GPs were concerned would ultimately harm vulnerable mental health patients the most.

While phone consults were wholeheartedly embraced from the beginning of the pandemic, video telehealth uptake has lagged. From the beginning of the pandemic through to April 2022, phone consults have accounted for 96% of all GP telehealth consults.

Despite this general avoidance, there is at least one area where video telehealth is being embraced: mental health. One in every five video consults made using the Healthdirect video call program – which is currently free for general practices and ACCHOs to integrate into their services – is a mental health consult.

To read the Wild Health article Video consults find niche in mental health by Holly Payne in full click here.

Some studies have found that video mental-health therapy can be as effective as in-person treatment. Photo: Getty Images. Image source: The Wall Street Journal.

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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