NACCHO Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health News: Plans to end violence against women and children

feature tile image of cover of ATSI Action Plan 2023-2025; text 'First dedicated plan to address violence against women and children in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities'

The image in the feature tile is of the cover of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Act Plan 2023–2025 from the article The government has released its action plans to end violence against women and children. Will they be enough? published in The Conversation yesterday, Wednesday, 16 August 2023.

The NACCHO Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health News is 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.

Plans to end violence against women and children

Yesterday, 16 August 2023, the Australian government released the First Action Plan 2023–2027 and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Action Plan under the National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022–2032. These long-awaited plans detail what the Commonwealth, state and territory governments have agreed to do to progress their ambitious target to eliminate domestic, family and sexual violence.

In the first 32 weeks of 2023 alone, 44 women have been killed allegedly by violence. These action plans come at a critical time when advocates, academics and practitioners have been calling for more funding and clearer actions to counter domestic, family and sexual violence.

The action plans set out the national and state-based commitments across prevention, early intervention, response, recovery and healing. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Action Plan, available here, is the first dedicated plan to address violence against women and children in First Nations communities. It was developed with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Council and in consultation with First Nations communities. It provides a road map for addressing the disproportionately high rates of violence First Nations women and children experience.

To view The Conversation article The government has released its action plans to end violence against women and children. Will they be enough? in full click here.

Minister Linda Burney at lectern at release of the ATSI Action Plan 2023-2025

Minister Linda Burney at the release of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Action Plan. Image source: The Conversation.

Healthcare AI requires robust rules

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) says medical care delivered by human beings should never be replaced with Artificial Intelligence (AI), but AI technology can potentially achieve improved healthcare. The AMA’s first Position Statement on the use of AI in healthcare outlines a set of ethical and regulatory principles based on safety and equity which should be applied to the application of AI technologies in healthcare. The position statement covers the development and implementation of AI in healthcare and supports regulation which protects patients, consumers, healthcare professionals and their data.

AMA President Professor Steve Robson said with appropriate policies and protocols in place, AI can assist in the delivery of improved healthcare, advancing our healthcare system, and the health of all Australians, “The AMA sees great potential for AI to assist in diagnosis, for example, or recommending treatments and at transitions of care, but a medical practitioner must always be ultimately responsible for decisions and communication with their patients. There’s no doubt we are on the cusp of big changes AI can bring to the sector and this will require robust governance and regulation which is appropriate to the healthcare setting and engenders trust in the system.”

“Decisions about healthcare are the bedrock of the doctor-patient relationship and these will never be replaced by AI but AI can assist and supplement this work. We need to get ahead of any unforeseen consequences for patient safety, quality of care and privacy across the profession. The AMA’s position statement shows doctors are engaging with this rapidly evolving field and laying down some guiding principles. If we can get the settings right, so that AI serves the healthcare needs of patients and the wider community, we think it can enable healthcare that is safe, high quality and patient centred”, Professor Robson said.

You can read the AMA’s media release AI can improve healthcare for Australians, but with robust rules in place here and the AMA’s Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare Position Statement here.

graphic of blue brain made up of triangles overlaid with letters, numbers & dot to dot pathways

Image source: AMA AI in Healthcare webpage.

Trial could revolutionise medicine safety

Rather than managing adverse events after the fact, a new data-powered system has been designed to proactively tackle medicine-related problems before they arise. The Activating pharmacists to reduce medication related problems (ACTMed) stepped wedge trial – co-led by University of Queensland’s Professor Lisa Nissen FPS and Dr Jean Spinks – is set to launch across 42 Queensland-based primary care practices next month, following a successful 6-month pilot at three sites. The pharmacist-led quality improvement initiative uses an interactive real-time dashboard to alert pharmacists embedded in GP practices about potential medicine safety risks. “It’s a really positive way for pharmacists and GPs to collaborate, and for pharmacists to apply their clinical knowledge in a meaningful way,” Dr Spinks.

When a GP practice closes its doors for the night, the ACTMed system gets to work. A data-extraction tool works in conjunction with decision-support software to run patient records through a set of algorithms. When anyone meets certain criteria flagged in the algorithm, their information comes up into a dashboard for pharmacists to triage, said Dr Spinks. It’s up to the pharmacist to triage the appropriateness of recommendations so GPs are left with a refined list of patients with potentially pressing problems.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients have higher hospitalisation, morbidity and mortality rates than non-Indigenous Australians, so systems that proactively identify potential medicine-related problems can be hugely beneficial. Amanda Sanburg, a pharmacist who works across two ACCHOs, for example, identified several patients with an atrial fibrillation diagnosis through the ACTMed pilot who weren’t taking an oral anticoagulant. The ACTMed system is complementary to the broader ACCHO pharmacist activities including Integrating Pharmacists within Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services to Improve Chronic Disease Management (IPAC Project) trialled in 22 ACCHOs in 2020.

To read the Australian Pharmacist article The trial that could revolutionise medicine safety in full click here.

Yolngu mental health tool unveiled

Gundirr, a new mental health tool was recently introduced during the NT’s Garma Festival. It aims to empower mental health service providers, aiding Yolngu patients in adopting patient-centered strategies, encompassing culturally sensitive and informed practices. Crafted through a partnership involving researchers from Charles Darwin University (CDU), the Yothu Yindi Foundation, and Yolngu Traditional Owners, a website and app will supply mental health experts and patients with user-friendly materials.

These resources aim to dismantle cultural and linguistic obstacles frequently encountered while operating in the remote East Arnhem region. The Yolngu community’s involvement in crafting these tools also involved the naming process. The website and app were named “Gundirr” by local Yolngu Elder Djapirri Mununjjurritj. She explained the name is derived from termite mounds, symbolising the depth and complexity of relationships. “You have to dig deeper to understand our people and have a holistic view, we must find that sweet spot of where relationships are formed and connections are made,” Ms Mununjjurritj said.

CDU Alumni and contributor Holly Supple-Gurruwiwi described the new resource as a true collaboration of two-way learning, that will change the experience for Yolngu people who access the mental health system. “This resource is a powerful tool that will help people work together to form relationships so they can connect and understand their mental health journey,” Ms Supple-Gurruwiwi said. “By using examples of lived experience, recognisable people and different age groups we hope that it can create the change we need to see in our communities and improve Yolgnu people’s engagement with mental health treatments and prolong practitioners time working remote.”

To view the National Indigenous Times article Yolngu mental health tool unveiled at Garma Festival in full click here.

2 Charles Darwin Uni non-Indigenous men & 1 ATSI woman each holding iPhones showing mental health app, Gundirr

Launch of new mental health app, Gundirr. Image source: Garma Festival Facebook page 6 August 2023.

Deadly Runners visit Mutitjulu community

The Deadly Runners program is a 100% Indigenous owned and operated community focused running initiative, which since its conception in 2014, is rapidly growing with numbers and support among First Nations communities. This life changing, transformational program is an inclusive community, seeing runners as young as four and up to 68 years of age participating on a regular basis. The driving force behind the Deadly Runners program is accomplished marathon runner and former Canberra-Queanbeyan local hero who is now based in Narooma, Georgia Weir.

The Deadly Runners program already has extensive support from Indigenous communities, with the business establishing new partnerships with Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) and Tali Katu Program, Karunpa Kunpu. Through these partnerships, they are now launching the first ever Deadly Runners: Connect, Culture, Community Program (DRCCC) at Uluru. The DRCCC program will take 12 outstanding Indigenous women who have become leaders and role models within their respected communities to Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara Country, where they will become immersed in culture, whilst undertaking nationally accredited training in Mental Health First Aid and fitness.

Ms Weir said the original concept behind the program was to train leaders in each group so participants who demonstrated an eagerness to upskill were given an opportunity to learn and gain running qualifications. However, when you become a leader within a community, you then become a safe person and people can open up and share personal matters and existing trauma. “That’s where the idea of the Mental Health First Aid came in, just making sure that people who were leading these groups, were equipped with all aspects of it,” Ms Weir said.

To view the National Indigenous Times article Deadly Runners set to participate in empowerment program during six-day Uluru camp in full click here.

Deadly Runners creator Georgia Weir with river & city in background

Deadly Runners creator Georgia Weir. Photo: Jess Whaler. Image source: National Indigenous Times.

2023 Medical Training Survey now open

The Medical Training Survey (MTS), run by the Medical Board of Australia and Aphra, is a longitudinal study that tracks the quality of medical training over time. MTS data from past years is being used across the health sector to drive improvements in medical training. As comparison are important, survey questions are consistent year on year and each year the format and layout is streamlined to make the MTS quicker and easier to do. After three years, the questions about the pandemic are being retired and the 2023 MTS is asking more about flexible working and training arrangements.

Evidence links flexible work and training with a boost to equal opportunity, increase in workforce diversity and high-quality patient care and medical training. Given the serious challenges MTS results have exposed in the culture of medicine, there is a need to generate data that can be used in future to support positive cultural change. Medical Board of Australia Chair, Dr Anne Tonkin AO, urged doctors in training to do the MTS and use their voice to keep improving training, “You can pay it forward to future trainees – just by doing the 2023 MTS and sharing your feedback about training.”

MTS results are collated, published online and can be accessed by anyone. There are strict controls in place to assure the privacy of doctors in training. They form a robust evidence base being used by educators, employers and other health sector agencies to continuously improve training. Case studies showing how MTS results are being used to improve training are published on the MTS website and are available here.

You can find more information about the MTS on the Ahpra & National Boards website here including a link to the survey.

Ahpra & National Boards tile text 'Medical Training Survey - Survey now open'

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.

One comment on “NACCHO Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health News: Plans to end violence against women and children

  1. Pingback: NACCHO Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health News: COVID-19 competition – win flights to Perth | NACCHO Aboriginal Health News Alerts

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