NACCHO Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health News: Protection of language central to health

feature tile - map of Australia filled with names of ATSI languages & text Language Revitalisation links to improved mental and physical health and overall wellbeing of Indigenous communities

The image in the feature tile is from an Australian Geographic article Speaking up by Amanda Burdon, 28 April 2016. Image credit: David Foster.

The NACCHO Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health News is a platform we use to showcase the important work being done in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health focusing on the work of NACCHO, NACCHO members and NACCHO affiliates.

We also share a curated selection of news stories that are of likely interest to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector, broadly. The content included in these new stories are not necessarily NACCHO endorsed.

Protection of language central to health

A article, Endangered Languages Project launches first-of-its-kind language revitalisation mentorship program for International Mother Language Day, available here, says 2022 marked the beginning of the UN International Decade of Indigenous Languages, which identifies the protection of Indigenous languages as a central issue for human rights, peace, and health. Research shows that language revitalisation is linked to improved mental and physical health, lower suicide rates and overall well-being of Indigenous communities.

The First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria, is encouraging governments and organisations  to embrace local Indigenous languages when naming places and buildings, saying the naming of new places such as schools and hospitals is an important step in keeping those languages alive.

To mark the annual International Mother Language Day, the Indigenous organisation has renewed calls for dual naming to become standard practice. Assembly co-chair and Bangerang and Wiradjuri elder Aunty Geraldine Atkinson said dual naming is a simple step to show respect and help culture thrive. “This country is home to the oldest living culture in the world, yet today some First Nations languages are on the brink, we risk losing them when we could be breathing new life into their use,” Aunty Geraldine said. “Embracing First Nations languages in place names is one very easy way to help our languages live on.”

To view the Moree Champion article Indigenous language names preserve local pride of place in full click here.

Also, making International Mother Language Day, CEO of the Federation of Victorian Traditional Owner Corporations has released a media statement Australian Indigenous Languages Represent 9% of Critically Endangered Languages. We Must Do Better. available here.

Aunty Geraldine Atkinson black board room chair with possum skin head rest

Aunty Geraldine Atkinson says dual naming is a simple step to show respect and help culture thrive. Photo: Morgan Hancock, AAP. Image source: Moree Champion, 21 February 2023.

VtP will improve health and wellbeing outcomes

Lowitja Institute welcomes the significant progress and momentum now building towards a referendum to be held later this year on a constitutionally enshrined Voice to Parliament. Lowitja Institute CEO Adjunct Professor Janine Mohamed said the establishment of a Voice to Parliament would provide a strong foundation for the urgent work to improve health and wellbeing outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

“We welcome the Statement of Intent, recently signed by the PM and state and territory leaders, that formally recognises the importance of constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and for a Voice to Parliament enshrined in the Constitution,” Adjunct Professor Mohamed said.

To view the Lowitja Institute media release Enshrining a Voice to Parliament: towards improving health and wellbeing outcomes for our peoples in full click here.

portrait shot CEO Lowitja Institute Adjunct Professor Janine Mohamed

Lowitja Institute CEO Adjunct Professor Janine Mohamed. Image source: Lowitja Institute website.

Health Workforce Scholarship Program

The Health Workforce Scholarship Program is an initiative of the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care, Health Workforce Program, administered in Queensland by Health Workforce Queensland. If you are providing services in other states or the NT, please visit the Health Workforce Scholarship Program Australia website here.

Scholarships or bursaries are available for medical, nursing/midwifery, dental, allied health and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers providing primary health care services in rural and remote Queensland in private practice, an Aboriginal Medical Service (AMS), ACCHO or a non-government or not-for-profit organisation.

Eligible locations:

  • Qualified health professionals providing primary health care in rural and remote locations in Queensland in a MMM 3-7 location; or
  • Qualified health professionals providing primary health care employed by an AMS and ACCHO in MMM 1-7 location

Refer to the Health Workforce Locator here to identify your MMM (Modified Monash Model) 2019 location classification.

To apply for an HWSP, you must meet the eligibility requirements. The full eligibility requirements and exclusions are detailed in the Applicant Guidelines below.

To access the Health Workforce Queensland webpage Health Workforce Scholarship Program with links to applicant guidelines and submitting an application for a scholarship here.

ATSI female doctor with stethoscope checking female ATSI woman

Image source: James Cook University Australia’s Townsville Aboriginal and Islander Health Service webpage.

Study grants for dental students

The Australian Dental Health Foundation (ADHF) is offering up to four study grants, worth $5000 each, to students of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background who are undertaking a course of study that will lead to registration as a dental hygienist or an oral health therapist.

The ADHF is a registered charity whose mission is to address the inequality between those Australians who can access the dental care they need, and those who can’t, and as part of fulfilling that mandate, the First Nations Study Grants, previously known as the Indigenous Study Grants, offer students funding that may be used to cover costs of dental equipment, textbooks and to financially support students while they are on placements or living away from home.

The ADHF Indigenous Study Grants will be open for applications from Wednesday 1 March 2023 and close on Wednesday 31 May 2023. Successful applicants will be advised of the outcome in June 2023.

To view the Bite Magazine article ADHF First Nations Study Grants open soon for applications in full click here.

laptop open on desk with words Application Grant

Photo: jack_the_sparrow 123rf. Image source: Bite Magazine.

Nurse graduate to return to remote community

A woman from a remote community, a mother-of-three and a person following in family footsteps are among those set to join the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health System. More than 140 graduates, from an array of backgrounds, are ready to translate the skills they’ve learned at university into excellent care for local patients.

127 nurses and 19 midwives were selected to join SCHHS, after it received about 800 applications. Among them is Abby Loiterton, who has just moved to the region to work in the rehabilitation team. “I grew up in a small remote community with a really high Indigenous population and being Indigenous myself I saw a real need for nurses and other allied health professionals,” she said via a SCHHS media statement.“When I became an AIN (assistant in nursing) I would go back home to work at my local hospital, I just realised how hard it was for them to get health staff to the area. “I want to get experience under my belt and branch out into something more acute like emergency. I definitely have a plan to return to rural and remote nursing, as a lot of indigenous people struggle with chronic illness and don’t always have access to healthcare.”

To view the Sunshine Coast News article Array of people from different backgrounds set to care for patients as nurses and midwives in full click here.

nursing student Abby Loiterton by hospital patient's bed

Abby Loiterton as a second year Southern Cross University nursing student. Image source: Country Education Foundation of Australia website.

Spinifex to be used to develop innovative medical gels

A University of Queensland (UQ) spin out company will use the traditional Indigenous knowledge of spinifex from the Queensland outback to develop innovative medical gels, following an agreement between Bulugudu Ltd (owner of the Indjalandji-Dhidhanu people) and UniQuest. Called Trioda Wilingi Pty Ltd, the spin out company will develop injectable medical gels from cellulose nanofibres extracted from spinifex, which can be used to treat arthritis and osteoarthritis; help deliver drugs more efficiently to the body; and in cosmetic procedures.

Trioda Wilingi Pty Ltd is the result of a long-term partnership between UQ’s Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Naotechnology (AIBN) and Bulugudu Ltd,  based in Camooweal about 200km north/west of Mt Isa; as well as investment from Uniseed. “Trioda Wilingi is a success story about what happens when scientists and Indigenous communities work together to translate ancient Indigenous knowledge into modern products like medical gels,” said UQ’s Professor Alan Rowan.

“Trioda Wilingi is a tangible demonstration of how spinifex, a plant that has been a building block for the Aboriginal societies in the desert, will continue to play a role in advancing local communities through business and employment opportunities.” Under the agreement signed this week, a percentage of all royalties will go into an Indigenous education fund at UQ, to enhance training and education opportunities for Indigenous Australians.

To read the UQ News article AIBN congratulates new Indigenous spin out company in full click here.

workers harvesting spinifex

Trioda Wilingi Pty Ltd will develop injectable medical gels from cellulose nanofibres extracted from spinifex. Image source: University of Queensland website.

Sector Jobs

Sector Jobs – you can see sector job listings on the NACCHO website here.

Advertising Jobs – to advertise a job vacancy click here to go to the NACCHO website Current job listings webpage. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to find a Post A Job form. You can complete this form with your job vacancy details – it will then be approved for posting and go live on the NACCHO website.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *