NACCHO Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health News: Strong Born Campaign resources, webinars, grants

eature tile, collage strong born logo, NACCHO staff from launch, Pat Turner, Sarah Hayton and team

The image in the feature tile is made up of photos from the launch of the Strong Born campaign launch yesterday. From from bottom left anti-clockwise: NACCHO CEO Pat Turner, Senior Director Policy and Programs Dr Sarah Hayton and NACCHO Strong Born project officers Annabel Campbell and Holly Kemp.

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.

Strong Born Campaign

Yesterday afternoon NACCHO launched Strong Born, a communications campaign designed to raise awareness of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and the risks of drinking alcohol while pregnant and breastfeeding, among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in rural and remote communities. Strong Born is also about supporting people with FASD and their families and carers, by understanding what FASD is, and the services that may be available for individuals and families.

You can find a range of Strong Born resources (including a Health Professionals Booklet, a Community Booklet, posters and social media tiles), information about upcoming Implementation Webinars and the FASD Grant on the NACCHO website here.

NSW Far South Coast’s largest cultural camp

Yuin dancer and songwoman Sharon Mason has been reviving traditional cultural practices on the NSW Far South Coast for years and inviting other women on her journey. Now, she is realising a long-held dream of bringing traditional gatherings back to Country. Late last year, Ms Mason helped lead the region’s largest cultural camp in living memory, held on Djiringanj land at Mystery Bay.

Close to 100 men, women and children travelled from as far as Tamworth, Moree, Wellington, Taree and Maitland — and from across Yuin country — to participate in the Yuin Dhugan camp. They visited sacred teaching areas, gathered traditional medicines and foods, and shared stories, songs and dances. Sitting around the campfire, they made lifetime connections.

The healing power of these gatherings on sites of cultural significance is being documented in a University of NSW research project called Gaawaadhi Gadudha — a combination of Gomeroi and Yuin words meaning “from freshwater to saltwater”. The study is collecting data on the Narran Lake and Mystery Bay camps to back up anecdotal evidence of their importance for health and wellbeing.

You can read the ABC News article Yuin traditional knowledge holders lead largest cultural camp in living memory on NSW Far South Coast in full here.

More young Victorians dying by suicide

Indigenous Victorians are dying by suicide at a rate nearly three times higher than non-Indigenous people, new data shows. About 108 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people took their own lives between 2018 and 2022 compared to 3,429 non-Indigenous people, according to the Victorian coroners report released yesterday. That represents a rate of about 27.4 suicides per 100,000 Indigenous people compared to 10.6 per 100,000 for non-Indigenous people.

The figures for 2022 were a reduction on the previous year – 18 Indigenous suicides compared to 34 in 2021 – but the state coroner said the numbers were still “worryingly high”. “Many of these passings are preventable,” Judge John Cain said in a statement. We will continue releasing this data to support targeted approaches to suicide prevention for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Victoria.”

Between 2018 and 2022, suicides were more prevalent in younger age groups for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, with 58.3% being people aged under 35 years. The average age of male Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who died by suicide was 36.1 years, compared to 46 years in non-Indigenous males. For Indigenous women, the average age was 29.8 years compared to 46.1 years in non-Indigenous females.

“The findings of this report highlight that more needs to be done to strengthen approaches to Aboriginal health and wellbeing,” Coroners Aboriginal Engagement Unit acting manager Jessica Gobbo said in a statement.

To view the HealthTimes article More young Indigenous Victorians dying by suicide in full click here.

Aboriginal girl sitting with arms wrapped around her head on her knees

Image source: Cherbourg Regional Aboriginal & Islander Community Controlled Health Services website.

VACCHO launches cancer screening campaign

The Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation’s (VACCHO) ‘Don’t miss a moment’ campaign aims to encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to participate in cancer screening and health checks to help improve the health and wellbeing of Community. Cancer screening and health checks allow for early diagnosis and treatment intervention, which increases the likelihood of better health outcomes.

The Victorian Cancer Registry modelling demonstrated that there were an estimated 6,600 missing cancers between April 2020 to March 2022. This drop in diagnosis was found to be caused by a decrease in the number of people screening, not a decrease in cancer incidence. In addition, the Cancer in Victoria Statistics and Trends Report 2021 showed that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Victoria are twice as likely to be diagnosed with cancer than non-Indigenous Victorians. Other findings from the report include:

• Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Victoria are more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with cancers of the liver, lung and head and neck.
• The 5 most common cancers for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Victorians are lung, breast, bowel, prostate and melanoma.
• Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Victoria over 70 are 1.8 times as likely to be diagnosed with cancer than non-Aboriginal Victorians.

To read the PHN North Western Melbourne article VACCHO launches early detection and cancer screening campaign in full click here.

tile with text 'don't miss a moment' with smiling grey-haired ATSI woman

Image source: PHN North Western Melbourne website.

Kinchela Boys Home healing bus

Kinchela Aboriginal Boys Training Home (KBH) was a ‘home’ run by the NSW Government for almost 50 years from 1924–1970 to house Aboriginal boys forcibly removed from their families; today it remains a place of deep importance for survivors, their families and communities. Kinchela Boys Home survivors are travelling across NSW and parts of surrounding states in their Mobile Education Centre bus. The vehicle is the country’s first ever Stolen Generations travelling bus and displays educational materials and survivor testimonies.

Uncle William Nixon was taken away from his mum and dad when he was a child. He now shares his story with the mission of healing and truth-telling. “Our childhood got taken away from us, when we were put in the boys home, our culture, trying to turn us into little toy soldiers,” Uncle William said. “They said it was supposed to be a training but it was a detention centre.”

“It’s educational kind of stuff we got for this bus here, this is our healing process and telling our stories about the Stolen Generations.” Survivors are working towards ownership of the former site of Kinchela Boys Home. Their aim is to turn it into a national site of survivor-led truth-telling and healing, through the creation of a living museum and healing centre.

To view the National Indigenous Australians Agency article Kinchela Boys Home journey of truth-telling and healing in full click here.

First Kurongkul Katitjin PhD graduate

Dr Charmaine Green, a Wajarri, Badimaya and Wilunyu woman of the Yamaji Nation, and a Research Fellow with the WA Centre for Rural Health in Geraldton, has become the first PhD to be awarded through Kurongkurl Katitjin, Edith Cowan University’s (ECU) Centre for Indigenous Australian Education and Research. “I feel very honoured and somewhat surprised to the first Kurongkurl Katitjin PhD graduate and hope for many more to come through this school,” said Dr Green.

In her thesis, Dr Green explored ways that cultural knowledges can assist to understand pathways to health and social transformation. Senior Research Fellow Dr Mick Adams negotiated and recruited Dr Green to undertake the Neil Thomson Scholarship. Professor Neil Drew said Dr Green’s was a lovely success story.

“As a recipient of the Neil Thomson Scholarship, which is jointly funded between The Lowitja Institute and the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet, Dr Green’s research is a testament to herself and her community for it embodies the common goal of achieving the best health and wellbeing outcomes for Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples,” said Professor Drew.

One of Charmaine’s PhD supervisor’s Professor Sandra Thompson, who said Charmaine’s “thesis is impressive and stands as testimony to what a deep and original thinker she is and I congratulate ECU in recognising this by the award of the Kurongkurl Katitjin research medal.”

To read the WA Centre for Rural Health and the University of WA’s joint media release Achieving firsts awarding excellence in transformative cultural research click here.

Dr Charmaine Green in PhD graduation robe

Dr Charmaine Green. Photo: Tamati Smith. Image source: University of WA.

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.

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