NACCHO Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health News: The benefits of integrating pharmacists into ACCHOs

The image in the feature tile is from Unspalsh.

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 benefits of integrating pharmacists into ACCHOs

Integrating pharmacists into ACCHOs brings many benefits for patients with chronic diseases, according to Associate Professor Sophia Couzos, a public health physician with the Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC). In a Croakey Health Media article Ms Couzos writes: We know that chronic diseases are the leading causes of illness, disability, and death among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and are estimated to be responsible for 70 percent of the health gap. This considerable loss of healthy life due to chronic disease burden occurs at 2.3 times the rate for Indigenous people, compared with non-Indigenous Australians.

When 26 non-dispensing pharmacists were integrated into 18 ACCHOs in QLD, the NAT and VIC, with a comprehensive induction process to ensure they had an understanding of the ACCHO setting and of cultural safety, we saw improved outcomes in all the chronic disease categories measured. This project has shown that integrating a pharmacist within an ACCHO can reduce chronic disease burden in patients who are at risk. By expanding out these services, we can reduce the burden on hospitals and GPs, all through better care, and by better utilising the pharmacist workforce we have right now.

Read the full Croakey Health Media article here.

You can also read NACCHO’s July 2023 media release MSAC support funding pharmacists in First Nations Primary Health Services here.

Image source: Unsplash.

Save the date! HIV Awareness Week Trivia

All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Health Services’ staff are invited to join this year’s HIV Awareness Week Virtual Trivia on Thursday 7 December at 3pm (EST). It is a fun and important opportunity to brush up on your HIV knowledge, dust off your sexual health themed costumes, and let your competitive edge shine through.

Sexual health-themed costumes and props are highly encouraged, with prizes for the best dressed up for grabs. Registration and event details will be announced soon. For now, mark your calendars for the annual trivia event of the year.

NACCHO would like to acknowledge Prof. James Ward, University of Queensland’s Poche Centre for Indigenous Health and SAHMRI, creators of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander HIV Awareness Week. HIV Awareness week will continue to build on the successes of the previous programs for years to come. For more information on the original program and the history, please visit here.

Big shout out to Jess and Naizel from Miwatj Health Aboriginal Corporation, who are 2023’s Lubelicious and Condoman.

QAIHC to launch mental health and wellbeing support program

Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC) has secured funding from Queensland Health and NACCHO to launch a comprehensive mental health and wellbeing program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Queensland following the defeat of the Voice to Parliament Referendum in October. QAIHC has identified a pressing need to address the emerging and ongoing social emotional and wellbeing challenges faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in Queensland. The “no” vote in the referendum has highlighted feelings of devastation for some, leaving communities, people and their families hurting.

The program will focus on: Member services support (e.g. community events, counselling, yarning circles), workforce and impact (professional debriefing and mental health support for ACCHO and affiliate staff), localised support (employment of local people to provide support and training to community members), community needs (identification of community needs by employing local people such as elders or young leaders to assist ACCHOs) and pathways to healing (health and wellbeing activities).

If you are feeling stressed, not sleeping well, or have increased anxiety and depression you can seek immediate help, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from:
• 13 Yarn (13 92 76)
• Brother-to-brother (1800 435 799)
• Lifeline (13 11 14)
• Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800)

Read the full article here.

Image source: Sector Leader.

More public hearings announced for the parliamentary inquiry into diabetes

The Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport has announced more public hearings for the parliamentary inquiry into diabetes. There will be five public hearings this month in Canberra, Brisbane, Yarrabah, Cairns, and Melbourne. Dr Mike Freelander MP, Chair of the Committee said, “as part of this broad inquiry, we are looking at all forms of diabetes including type 1, type 2, gestational diabetes, and other rarer forms such as cystic fibrosis-related diabetes.” In Yarrabah, the Committee will hear from the local ACCHO,
Gurriny Yealamucka, about its experiences with diabetes.

In May 2023, the inquiry into diabetes welcomed submissions from peak health bodies and other organisations that play a role in the prevention and treatment of diabetes as well as advocacy and education. The Diabetes Australia, Australian Diabetes Society and Australian Diabetes Educators Association joint submission includes a summary of recommendations to reduce the impact of type 2 diabetes among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Recommendations include that policies and programs be culturally appropriate, led by communities and designed collaboratively.

You can also read NACCHO’s September 2023 Inquiry into Diabetes here.

Gurriny Yealamucka will meet with the Committee on Tuesday 21 November.

Applications open for Birthing on Country midwifery scholarships

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander midwifery students and graduates are being encouraged to apply for a range of Southern Cross University scholarships and bursaries, including two Birthing on Country Honours Scholarships and several Birthing on Country Placement Bursaries. Recipients will explore Birthing on Country or midwifery education and confidence on providing smoking cessation information for Indigenous women in rural and remote settings. The bursaries will support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Bachelor of Midwifery students to attend clinical placement in an Aboriginal Health Service, additional to having travel and accommodation costs covered.

Taneeka Thomas Bachelor of Midwifery alumna and Bundjalung and Gumbaynggirr woman said she decided to study midwifery after following the pregnancy journey of a family member and researching the poor maternity outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.

“I was really interested in studying midwifery and found there is a big hole in the workforce for Aboriginal midwives. I looked into the statistics for Indigenous women and children and how a big part of improving those outcomes is increasing the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander midwives,” Ms Thomas said.

“The most rewarding experience is working in a continuity model of care, seeing women from the beginning stages of pregnancy right through to when they become mothers. Playing a part in such a big experience in their life makes the work so special.”

Applications close February 1, 2024. Eligibility criteria and applications are available here.

Read the full National Indigenous Times article here.

Bachelor of Midwifery alumna, Bundjalung and Gumbaynggirr woman Taneeka Thomas. Image source: SCU.

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.

Key Date – Trans Awareness Week

Monday 13 November – Sunday 19 November is Trans Awareness Week. The aim of the week is to celebrate trans and gender diverse pride and learn how to be a trans ally. The Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) created a video with helpful tips on how to be a better ally to trans mob:

1. Use people’s proper pronouns. If you’re not sure, just ask. It shows respect and support.
2. Make your space inclusive by proudly displaying the trans, pride, and First Nations flags.
3. If someone changes their name as a part of their gender affirmations, use the name they tell you and not their birth name.
4. Remember, being a good ally is about love, respect, and understanding.

One comment on “NACCHO Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health News: The benefits of integrating pharmacists into ACCHOs

  1. Pingback: NACCHO Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health News: A look back at SEWBG-4 | NACCHO Aboriginal Health News Alerts

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