NACCHO Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health News: ATSICHS Brisbane celebrates 50 years of service

NACCHO Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health News: ATSICHS Brisbane celebrates 50 years of service - feature tile

The image in the feature tile is the first Aboriginal Islander Community Health Service (AICHS), a converted fruit and vegetable shop front in Red Hill, Brisbane in 1973.

The NACCHO Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health News is a platform we use to showcase important work 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.

 ATSICHS Brisbane celebrates 50 years of service 

On May 14, 1973, the Aboriginal Islander Community Health Service (AICHS) was established in a converted fruit and vegetable shop at Red Hill. A dedicated group of volunteer community members and general practitioners, including Aunty Pamela Mam, Uncle Steve Mam, Uncle Denis Walker, Aunty Susan Chilly, Aunty Frances Cockatoo, Uncle Don Davidson, and Uncle Les Collins, worked tirelessly to get AICHS up and running.

In 1976, AICHS relocated from Red Hill to South Brisbane to accommodate its growth. However, the Grey Street location soon became insufficient. In 1985, AICHS moved to 10 Hubert Street, Woolloongabba, an area with a significant Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population.

In 2008, the organization changed its name to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service (ATSICHS) Brisbane to acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. By 2009, operations expanded to Woolloongabba, Woodridge, Northgate, and Acacia Ridge.

Throughout its 50-year history, ATSICHS Brisbane has grown and evolved to meet the changing needs of the community. Today, they offer medical clinics, dental services, a Birthing in Our Community hub, youth services, social and emotional wellbeing services, an aged care facility, and various family and child support services, including the Family Participation Program, Jajumbora Children and Family Centre, Ngumpi Uruue, Deadly Kindy programs, and Family Wellbeing Services.

To read more, click here.

How will The Voice impact First Nations’ health?

Selwyn Button says the Voice will amplify Aboriginal people’s health concerns and lead to improved outcomes. Image source: ABC Radio National

According to Selwyn Button, the Chair of the Lowitja Institute, when Aboriginal Health organisations are actively engaged and consulted regarding their own health, it leads to improved outcomes. He said, The Voice should help amplify these results.

In an interview this morning Selwyn stated, “The whole notion of NACCHO and the community-controlled health organisations right across the country are about responding to the needs of the community.”

The whole concept of community control evolved from within the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. The government was failing to provide adequate services and neglect basic health needs. This prompted action and leadership to form services that were meeting the health needs of the community in culturally safe spaces.

For example, the Aboriginal Islander Community Health Service (AICHS) in Meeanjin country celebrated 50 years of service on 14 May 1973. At that time a group of volunteer community members and general practitioners saw the need for better services and better access to services and formed the AICHS. They opened the doors to patients in a converted fruit and vegetable shop in Brisbane’s, Red Hill.

Selwyn noted that “in many cases, they were shunned by government, poorly funded and not provided with resources at the time but they kept going because they could see the need and community was responding.”

In instances where Aboriginal communities and health organistions have been engaged and in control of their own health, notable improvements have been witnessed, and The Voice has a crucial role to play in strengthen these positive outcomes.

To hear the interview, click here.

AMSANT supports Uluru Statement from the Heart

AMSANT Acting Chair, Rob McPhee.

AMSANT Acting Chair, Rob McPhee.

The Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory announced their support for The Voice yesterday in a media release yesterday. In it they state:

The Board of the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance NT (AMSANT) has reconfirmed its strong support for the Uluru Statement from the Heart and its recommendations regarding the establishment of a constitutionally enshrined ‘Voice to Parliament’ alongside a Makarrata Commission to supervise a process of agreement-making and truth-telling. At its meeting in Katherine on 12th May, the AMSANT Board considered current circumstances impacting on the recognition and achievement of the Statement’s objectives.

“Our Board Directors are strongly of the view that the Uluru Statement From the Heart provides the nation a precious opportunity to begin to resolve our unfinished business and to achieve fundamental change for our people”, said AMSANT Acting Chair, Rob McPhee. “The vision and goodwill that has been offered to the nation through the Statement requires and deserves our trust. The AMSANT Board emphasised its strong endorsement of the First Nations-led process that culminated in the National Constitutional Convention at Uluru in May 2017, bringing together First Nations delegates from across Australia to meet and to form a consensus position on the form that constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should take.

To read the full media release from AMSANT, click here.

Don’t use sugar substitutes for weight loss, WHO advises 

Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

A recent study conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that the use of non-sugar sweeteners (NSS) does not provide long-term benefits in reducing body fat for adults or children. While there may be a slight short-term reduction in body weight, it is not sustained over time.

“Replacing free sugars with non-sugar sweeteners does not help people control their weight long-term,” said Francesco Branca, director of WHO’s Department of Nutrition and Food Safety. “We did see a mild reduction of body weight in the short term, but it’s not going to be sustained.”

The guidance applies to all people except those with pre-existing diabetes, Branca said. Why? Simply because none of the studies in the review included people with diabetes, and an assessment could not be made, he said.

The review also highlighted potential undesirable effects associated with long-term use of sugar substitutes, including a slightly increased risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

However, it is important to clarify that this recommendation does not assess the safety of consumption. Branca emphasized that the guideline focuses on the inability of scientific evidence to demonstrate positive health effects in terms of obesity reduction, weight control, or the prevention of non-communicable diseases.

Reducing the use of non-sugar sweeteners is an important prevention strategy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples health, particularly in the prevention of diabetes. Diabetes is one of the fastest growing chronic disease conditions, globally, with the greatest burden falling on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

To see the report, click here

Sleep Matters

A 2021 report released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare states there is a high prevalence of sleep problems among Australian adults and explores their correlation with chronic health conditions. The report sheds light on the impact of both excessive and insufficient sleep on the heightened risk of various ailments such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, and stroke.

In considering the broader context of health in Australia, it is essential to recognise the specific challenges faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations and that these disparities extend to sleep health, with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples experiencing a higher prevalence of sleep problems compared to the general population.

Studies indicate that sleep disorders, including insomnia and sleep apnea, disproportionately affect Indigenous communities. For instance, research shows that the prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults is approximately three times higher than in the non-Indigenous population.

The relationship between sleep problems and chronic health conditions is particularly consequential for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. According to available data, Indigenous Australians are more likely to experience conditions such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, and stroke. Sleep disturbances contribute to these health disparities, as they can exacerbate existing chronic conditions and hinder overall well-being.

Whilst a lot more funding and resources are required to understand and support sleep problems, an initiative called, Dreamy, developed by Common Ground a First Nations, not-for-profit organisation. Dreamy aims to support better sleep with their collection of sleep stories created by First Nations storytellers. ​

These contemporary stories bring an 80,000-year-old oral tradition into the digital space, helping people of all walks of life to quiet their minds, drift into dream, and disconnect from their devices by connecting to Country.

To experience Dreamy, click here.

To read more of the implications of sleep health in First Nation Australians, click here.


One Mindful Minute

Image source: Photo by Chris Thompson on Unsplash

ICTVPlay, in collaboration with Adrian Thomas Music, present a mindful minute designed to bring a feeling of pride, happiness, and relaxation into your busy day.

In attempt to address the sense of chaos in these times of constant change and uncertainty, ICTV has provided a short, one minute meditation that helps to establish a strong connection with yourself and your mental well-being. ICTV recognizes the importance of bringing attention to the restless nature of our minds and bodies through the practice of meditation. By embracing this practice, we can attain a greater sense of inner calm, mindfulness, and feeling grounded.

To try it out for one minute! One Mindful Minute.


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 *