NACCHO Invites all health practitioners and staff to a webinar : Working collaboratively to support the social and emotional well-being of Aboriginal youth in crisis

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NACCHO invites all health practitioners and staff to the webinar: An all-Indigenous panel will explore youth suicide in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. The webinar is organised and produced by the Mental Health Professionals Network and will provide participants with the opportunity to identify:

  • Key principles in the early identification of youth experiencing psychological distress.
  • Appropriate referral pathways to prevent crises and provide early intervention.
  • Challenges, tips and strategies to implement a collaborative response to supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth in crisis.

Join hundreds of doctors, nurses and mental health professionals around the nation for an interdisciplinary panel discussion. The panellists with a range of professional experience are:

  • Dr Louis Peachey (Qld Rural Generalist)
  • Dr Marshall Watson (SA Psychiatrist)
  • Dr Jeff Nelson (Qld Psychologist)
  • Facilitator: Dr Mary Emeleus (Qld GP and Psychotherapist)

Read more about the panellists.

Working collaboratively to support the social and emotional well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth in crisis.

Date:  Thursday 23rd February, 2017

Time: 7.15 – 8.30pm AEDT

REGISTER

No need to travel to benefit from this free PD opportunity. Simply register and log in anywhere you have a computer or tablet with high speed internet connection. CPD points awarded.

Learn more about the learning outcomes, other resources and register now.

For further information, contact MHPN on 1800 209 031 or email webinars@mhpn.org.au.

The Mental Health Professionals’ Network is a government-funded initiative that improves interdisciplinary collaborative mental health care practice in the primary health sector.  MHPN promotes interdisciplinary practice through two national platforms, local interdisciplinary networks and online professional development webinars.

 

 

 

 

 

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health : Death by #racism: Is bigotry in the health system harming Indigenous patients ?

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” Death by racism should be a category on death certificates, because the racism in hospitals is hindering the recovery of many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Spend some time as a patient in a hospital and you soon find out that the medical profession is full of bigots and people who might not consider themselves racist, but have preconceived ideas on race and hold outdated beliefs in racial stereotypes.”

 We need cultural awareness programs on all levels of the system, writes Colleen Lavelle for IndigenousX : Our stories, our way” – each week, a new guest hosts the @IndigenousX Twitter account to discuss topics of interest to them as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people. Produced with assistance of Guardian Australia staff.

NACCHO background info

Read previous 69 articles NACCHO Aboriginal health and racism

Read previous 10 articles NACCHO Aboriginal health / Cultural safety

 ” The National Cultural Respect Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health 2016–2026 (the Framework) was recently launched by the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council .

This ten year framework seeks to guide delivery of culturally safe, responsive, and quality health care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities.

Download the COAG Cultural Respect Framework here :

cultural_respect_framework_1december2016_1

I have been in and out of hospital for years with a brain tumour and have experienced the bigotry within the system first hand. I have also collected stories from Indigenous people around the country and a common thread is either: “Is it me or do they treat all of us like this?” or “Am I being overly sensitive?”

Indigenous cancer patients have even had pain relief denied to them. This might happen for a couple of reasons. First, because apparently some people think we Indigenous people can cope with more pain than our European counterparts. Let me state now that that ethnocentric view is not true. Another common view is that we are “faking it” to get drugs. Now, I don’t know about you, but if someone has cancer and is crying in pain, it’s pretty obvious they are not trying to get some cheap thrills.

A similar misconception is that we are drunk. I have even heard of cancer patients having their blood alcohol level tested before a doctor will see them. This assumption that we all take drugs or drink is outdated and just insulting.

Traditional people from remote communities have had to deal with their cultural mores being completely overlooked. Men have been shamed by having a young female nurse attend to them, when a male nurse is required. The same happens to our women too: a male attendant will try to do something that should only be done with or by a female. And when women ask to have another female in with them, they are quite often overlooked. I can’t understand why our cultural needs are overlooked when other peoples have their cultural rules respected.

The medical system seems so against us in so many ways, particularly if we are sent to a hospital away from home and English is not our first language. Good luck trying to find a translator to help! Governments, both at state and federal level can’t say they are doing all they can when our needs are not even considered important. All we hear are excuses like, “The cost is prohibitive for translators, patient transport, mobile medical units …”

We are the first people of this country and as such we shouldn’t be constantly overlooked. Perhaps fewer trips to the Gold Coast and a little bit more money into Indigenous health could help.

There are ways to make the road to good health better. For starters, no doctor or nurse should be allowed to work with Aboriginal people unless they have had cultural awareness training. It should be a requirement that all medical professionals do a cultural awareness course, with a refresher course after every year. Make it part of the accreditation process. It should be a part of the Close The Gap scheme that every general practice has to sign on to do cultural awareness. Even if it’s just one person in the practice doing it online. There could also be an incentive, such as the practice receives money for each Indigenous patient they see.

If every doctor and nurse across the country had this training and if hospitals and health executives spent quality time with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients, they might learn we are not so different. We might have some different needs, but they shouldn’t compromise the levels of compassion, caring and proper medial attention that we need.

NACCHO Aboriginal #Heart Health @HeartAust @AusHealthcare : Lighthouse Hospital project employment opportunities

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What is the Lighthouse hospital project?

  • The Lighthouse hospital project is a joint initiative of the Heart Foundation and the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA).
  • The aim: to improve care and health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples experiencing coronary heart disease, the leading cause of death among this population.

Australia is a privileged nation by world standards. Despite this, not everyone is equal when it comes to heart health and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are the most disadvantaged. The reasons are complex and not only medical in nature. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have a troubled history with institutions of all kinds, including hospitals.

The Lighthouse Hospital project aims to change this experience by providing both a medically and culturally safe hospital environment. A culturally safe approach to healthcare respects, enhances and empowers the cultural identity and wellbeing of an individual.

This project matters because the facts are sobering. Cardiovascular disease occurs earlier, progresses faster and is associated with greater co-morbidities in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. They are admitted to hospital and suffer premature death more frequently compared with non-Indigenous Australians[1].

Major coronary events, such as heart attacks, occur at a rate three times that of the non- Indigenous population. Fatalities because of these events are 1.5 times more likely to occur, making it a leading contributor to the life expectancy gap [2].

Current employment opportunities

1.The National Project Manager – Lighthouse Hospital Project

Will manage the development, delivery and evaluation of the Lighthouse Hospital Project (Phase 3) across 18 hospital sites nationally. The role will lead project partnerships and oversee a national team of four to drive sustainable change in acute settings to improve cardiac care and outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Regular interstate travel will be required.

Download job description

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2.The Lighthouse Hospital Project ( 3 ) Coordinators

Will manage the day to day support for the development, implementation and evaluation of the Lighthouse Hospital Project (Phase 3) in approximately six hospital sites each. The Coordinators will support the development of local and state-based project partnerships and work as part of a national project team of five to drive sustainable change in acute settings to improve cardiac care and outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Regular interstate travel will be required.

Download job Description

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Contact:

Fiona Patterson, National Programs Manager,

fiona.patterson@heartfoundation.org.au, 03 9321 1591

Phase 1 (2012–2013)

Aim – To improve the care of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples experiencing acute coronary syndrome (ACS).

We developed this project was developed in response to a 2006 report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The project first focused on providing culturally safe and positive consumer experiences, which were reviewed by 10 organisations known for providing exemplary care in the treatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients with acute coronary syndromes (ACS).

The project identified key elements that make a difference to ACS care:

  • expanding roles for Aboriginal Liaison Officers, Health Workers, Patient Pathway Officers and equivalent roles
  • better identification of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients
  • building strong partnerships and communication channels with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and other relevant organisations
  • fostering and supporting clinical champions
  • building capacity for patient-focused care
  • use of technology
  • use of an industry-based quality matrix.

Phase 2 (2013–2016)

Aim – To drive systemic change in acute care hospital settings to improve care for and the experience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples experiencing ACS.

In Phase two, the scope was to improve activities in eight public hospitals across Australia to improve clinical and cultural care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients with ACS.

The toolkit

We developed a quality improvement toolkit, ‘Improving health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with acute coronary syndrome’, to provide a framework to address health disparities.

The toolkit aimed to:

  • ensure care providers met minimum standards of care, cultural safety
  • identify practices and actions that can and/or should be improved
  • foster engagement
  • improve healthcare services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with ACS.

The toolkit outlined four areas that were critical in providing holistic care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their families as they journeyed through the hospital system and return to their communities.

The four domains were:

  • governance
  • cultural competence
  • workforce
  • care pathways.

The pilot

Eight pilot hospitals participated in testing the toolkit:

  • Bairnsdale Regional Health Service, Victoria
  • Coffs Harbour Health Campus, New South Wales
  • Flinders Medical Centre, South Australia
  • Liverpool Hospital, New South Wales
  • Princess Alexandra Hospital, Queensland
  • Royal Perth Hospital, Western Australia
  • St Vincent’s Hospital, Victoria
  • Tamworth Rural Referral Hospital, New South Wales.

Each hospital developed an action plan that outlined the areas they would address and the quality improvement activities they would undertake during the pilot. The project outcomes were dependent on community engagement, capacity to embed change, project support and the governance structures at each site.

Key Phase 2 achievements

  • Improved relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients
  • Strengthening relationships with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and medical services
  • Creating culturally safe environments for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients
  • Increased self-identification among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients
  • Streamlining processes related to culturally appropriate clinical care of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients
  • Enhanced staff capacity to respond to the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients

Phase 3

We are awaiting funding for Phase three of the Lighthouse Project.

This will aim to increase the reach and the critical mass of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples experiencing an acute coronary syndrome who receive evidence based care in a culturally safe manner.

Within this phase there will be a focus on integration of health services and care coordination by enhancing the relationships between local community groups, hospitals, local Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations and Primary Health Networks.

The implementation of this phase would enable hospitals to address the actions in the revised Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare National Safety and Quality Health Service.

The Lighthouse hospital project is a joint initiative of the Heart Foundation and the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association and is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health.

Download the poster.

References

  1. Australian Health Ministers Advisory Council (AHMAC). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework 2012 Report. Canberra: AHMAC, 2012.
  2.  Mathur S, Moon L, Leigh S. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with coronary heart disease: further perspectives on health status and treatment. Cardovascular disease series no. 25. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2006.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Human Rights : Nomination open 2017 National Indigenous #HumanRights Awards

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 ” The National Indigenous Human Rights Awards recognises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons who have made significant contribution to the advancement of human rights and social justice for their people.”

The awards were established in 2014, and will held annually. The inaugural awards were held at NSW Parliament House, and were welcomed by the Hon Linda Burney, MP and included key note speakers Dr Yalmay Yunupingu, Ms Gail Mabo, and Mr Anthony Mundine. A number of other distinguished guests such as political representatives, indigenous leaders and others in the fields of human rights and social justice also attended.

The Awards were presented by leading Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander elders, and leading Indigenous figures in Indigenous Social Justice and Human Rights. All recipients of the National Human Rights Award will be persons of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander heritage.

To nominate someone for one of the three awards, please go to https://shaoquett.wufoo.com/forms/z4qw7zc1i3yvw6/
 
For further information, please also check out the Awards Guide at https://www.scribd.com/document/336434563/2017-National-Indigenous-Human-Rights-Awards-Guide

AWARD CATEGORIES:

 

DR YUNUPINGU AWARD – FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
 
To an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person who has made a significant contribution to the advancement of Human Rights for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples. Dr Yunupingu is the first Aboriginal from Arnhem Land to achieve a university degree. In 1986 Dr Yunupingu formed Yothu Yindi in 1986, combining Aboriginal (Yolngu) and non-Aboriginal (balanda) musicians and instrumentation.

In 1990 was appointed as Principal of Yirrkala Community School, Australia’s first Aboriginal Principal. Also in that year he established the Yothu Yindi Foundation to promote Yolngu cultural development, including Garma Festival of Traditional Cultures Dr Yumupingu was named 1992 Australian of the Year for his work in building bridges between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities across Australia.

THE EDDIE MABO AWARD FOR ACHIEVEMENTS IN SOCIAL JUSTICE

In memory of Eddie Koiki Mabo (1936-1992), this award recognises an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person who has made a significant contribution to the advancement of Social Justice for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Eddie Koiki Mabo was a Torres Straits Islander, most notable in Australian history for his role in campaigning for indigenous land rights.

From 1982 to 1991 Eddie campaigned for the rights of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to have their land rights recognised. Sadly, he died of cancer at the age of 56, five months before the High Court handed down its landmark land rights decision overturning Terra Nullius. He was 56 when he passed away.

THE ANTHONY MUNDINE AWARD FOR COURAGE

 

To an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person who has made a significant contribution to the advancement of sports among Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Anthony Mundine is an Australian professional boxer and former rugby league player. He is a former, two-time WBA Super Middleweight Champion, a IBO Middleweight Champion, and an interim WBA Light Middleweight Champion boxer and a New South Wales State of Origin representative footballer. Before his move to boxing he was the highest paid player in the NRL.

In 2000 Anthony was named the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Person of the Year in 2000. He has also won the Deadly Award as Male Sportsperson of the Year in 2003, 2006 and 2007 amongst others.

He has a proud history of standing up for Indigenous peoples, telling a journalist from the Canberra Times: “I’m an Aboriginal man that speaks out and if I see something, I speak the truth.”

NACCHO Aboriginal Health : A call to acknowledge the harmful history of nursing for Aboriginal people

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 ” While we ourselves did not work there, the societal beliefs interwoven with the professional theories practised at that time are a legacy we have inherited. Those attitudes and practices remain present within our professional space.

Have we done sufficient work to decolonise ourselves?

Decolonising is a conscious practice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses. It involves recognising the impact of the beliefs and practices of the coloniser on ourselves at a personal and professional level, then disavowing ourselves from them.

We talk about this in CATSINaM with our Members. We invite our non-Indigenous colleagues to engage in this self-reflective conversation through many aspects of our work.

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Janine Mohamed (right), CEO of the Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives (CATSINaM), argues we should.

Is it time for the nursing and midwifery professions to reflect on our historical involvement in the subjugation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and consider whether we owe a statement of regret for our failures as part of the wider healthcare system to respond to the needs of Aboriginal Australians?

Do formal apologies mean anything?

We welcome your input on this fundamental issue for Australians – and especially input from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses and midwives.

Editorial Nurse Uncut Conversations

In September 2016, the Australian Psychological Society issued a formal apology to Indigenous Australians for their past failure as a profession to respond to the needs of Aboriginal patients.

In the past, the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association and the ANMF more broadly have issued statements of apology for our professions’ involvement in the practices associated with the forced adoption of babies from the 1950s to 1980s.

In doing so we recognised that while those nurses and midwives were working under direction, it was often they who took the babies away from mothers who had been forced, pressured and coerced into relinquishing their children and we apologised for and acknowledged the pain these mothers, fathers and children had experienced in their lives as a result.

Following the recent commendable move by the Australian Psychological Society, is it now time for the nursing and midwifery professions to reflect on our historical involvement as healthcare providers in the subjugation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and consider whether we owe a similar statement of regret for our failures as part of the wider healthcare system to respond to the needs of Aboriginal Australians?

But firstly, do such apologies mean anything?

Professor Alan Rosen AO (a non-indigenous psychiatrist) makes a cogent argument for an apology by the Australian mental health professions to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples:

The recent apology by the Australian Psychological Society to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is of profound national and international significance.

The APS is believed to be the first mental health professional representative body in the world to endorse and adopt such a specific apology to indigenous peoples for what was done to them by the profession as part of, or in the name of, mental health/psychological assessment, treatment and care.

The APS Board also substantially adopted the recommendation of its Indigenous Psychologists’ Advisory Group (IPAG), whose Indigenous and non-Indigenous members crafted this apology together. This sets a fine precedent.

As some other Australian mental health professional bodies are still considering whether to make such an apology, it is to be hoped that the APS has set a new trend. The APS has provided a robust example of how to do it well and in a way that it is more likely to be considered to be sincere and acceptable by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Historically, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have suffered much more incarceration, inappropriate diagnoses and treatments and more control than care in the hands of mental health professionals, facilities and institutions.

This is also true for all First Nations peoples, globally.

Professor Rosen argues that such apologies demonstrate concern for possible historical wrongs, either deliberate or unwitting, by professionals and institutions and the enduring mental health effects of colonialism. The Croakey.org article goes on to describe the purposes and goals of an apology, why they are worth doing and proposes a template.

So, just as we have recognised and apologised for the role our professions played in forced adoptions, is it now time to examine and take responsibility for our professions’ historical contribution to undermining Indigenous Australians’ social and emotional health and wellbeing?

Janine Mohamed (right), CEO of the Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives (CATSINaM), argues we should.

Between 1908 and 1919, hundreds of Aboriginal patients were incarcerated in the Lock Hospitals off the coast of Carnarvon, with more than 150 people dying there. The West Australian government established the hospitals for the treatment of Aboriginal people with sexually transmitted infections, but there remains considerable doubt as to the accuracy of such diagnoses – many of which were made by police officers.

The Fantome Island Lock Hospital operated in Queensland from 1928-45 under similar arrangements, detaining Aboriginal people with suspected sexually transmitted infections. There was also a lazaret on Fantome Island (1939-73) for segregated treatment of Aboriginal people with Hansen’s disease.

Aboriginal people taken to the hospitals were often forcibly removed from their families and communities and transported in traumatic conditions, in chains and under police guard. There is also evidence of medical experimentation and abuse.
The NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association has embarked on the process of developing a Reconciliation Action Plan. As a first step, over coming months we will be working on developing a more thorough understanding of how historical practices have affected Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in our care.

We welcome feedback, especially from our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander colleagues.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health News Alert : Expressions of interest invited from emerging consumer/carer leaders @CHFofAustralia , @NRHAlliance , @AUMentalHealth

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 ” Our aim is to involve individuals who are emerging consumer/carer leaders.  By this we mean individuals who have started to be involved in health consumer/carer representation or advocacy work, perhaps at a local, regional or state/territory level, and who are enthusiastic and interested in doing more or different roles, particularly at the national level.

The Colloquium is occurring at a time when the value of people-centred approaches to policy is gaining currency.  The health and social care horizon is rapidly changing and we face many challenges as well as growing opportunity for reform and innovation.”

CHF, NRHA and MHA are working together to hold a Consumer and Carer Leadership Colloquium on 20-21 March 2017 in Canberra.  Colloquium participants are being selected from CHF, NRHA and MHA networks.

CHF therefore seeks expressions of interest from individuals who are interested in participating in the Colloquium, and who will benefit from its focus on emerging consumer/carer leaders.

Online applications here

Why a Colloquium?

The three host organisations all work with consumers/carers who are interested in advocating for a better Australian health system.

Our ways of working with these leaders may differ and we may use different terminology, but we have a shared interest in:

  • identifying and nurture emerging consumer/carer leaders with potential and interest to participate in and shape health reform at the national level;
  • supporting consumer/carer leaders to act with impact and influence;
  • providing opportunities for cross-fertilisation of ideas from consumer/carer leaders with different perspectives on the health system; and
  • growing and diversifying our pools of consumer/carer leaders.

What is a colloquium?

A colloquium is an interactive conference-style event. Our Colloquium is an opportunity to discuss issues of importance to emerging health consumer/carer leaders. It will have a learning, development and planning focus.

Who is the Colloquium aimed at?

Up to 80 consumers/carers will participate in the Colloquium.  The Colloquium is a learning and development forum.  We seek participants who want to achieve a more consumer-centred health system and enjoy sharing ideas with other like-minded people.

Our aim is to involve individuals who are emerging consumer/carer leaders.  By this we mean individuals who have started to be involved in health consumer/carer representation or advocacy work, perhaps at a local, regional or state/territory level, and who are enthusiastic and interested in doing more or different roles, particularly at the national level.

All expressions of interest will be assessed on their merits.

What is the time commitment?

You will need to be able to be in Canberra for:

  • the Colloquium networking dinner on the evening of 20 March 2017; and
  • the Colloquium itself on 21 March 2017.

You will also benefit from participating in two lead-in webinars on 8 and 15 March 2017.  The webinars will be for one hour.

The Colloquium program will include a mix of interactive and expert-led sessions, including peer experts.  The two lead-in webinars will provide background information about national health reform, allowing more informed discussion at the Colloquium itself.

What is the cost?

Your travel and accommodation costs will be met.  Meals will be provided, but not drinks at the networking dinner.  Sitting fees will not be paid.

What will participants get out of the Colloquium?

As an emerging consumer/carer leader, the Colloquium program will provide you with an opportunity to:

  • to discuss and better understand the health reform environment, implications and opportunities;
  • learn some new leadership skills and mentorship practices;
  • join an emerging leaders network as well as existing consumer/carer networks through CHF, MHA and NRHA;
  • discuss and identify development, mentorship and leadership needs of emerging consumer/carer leaders.

What outcomes will result from the Colloquium?

In addition to what you as an individual can expect to get out of your participation at the Colloquium, the Colloquium is designed to generate a plan of action for future co-operation to strengthen the role of the consumer/carer community in shaping health and related policy.  Such an action plan could include, for example, a future webinar program, online discussion forums, etc.

How do I express interest in participating in the Colloquium?

If you would like to be considered as a Colloquium participant, please complete the following form and submit it by 5 February 2017.  Following our selection process, we will advise you if your expression of interest has been successful by 24 February 2017.

 Online applications here

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Racism : Ode to Ms Dhu a powerful means to expose racism and demand justice

Della Roe, mother of Ms Dhu outside the coroner's court in Perth on Friday, Dec 16, 2016. The State Coroner is due to hand down findings into the death of Ms Dhu, who died in police custody in August, 2014. (AAP Image/Richard Wainwright) NO ARCHIVING

 ” Racism mires this nation, despite the denials of the many who reduce the debate to a minimum. Unsurprisingly, our state and federal governments remain idly quiet, as their parliaments do not reflect the demography of the nation in their make-up.

During  Ms Dhu coronial inquest, I listened to ludicrous assertions, such as, ‘there is no racism or discriminating in the work places of hospitals and police stations’.

All anti-discrimination, anti-racism and cross cultural training teaches us to recognise that every workplace is tainted by racism and discrimination, and only by recognising this can we manage and reduce incidences of racism and discrimination.

The police should have focused on Ms Dhu’s wellbeing, which was their duty of care, not her fines. “

By Gerry Georgatos

Image above : Della Roe, mother of Ms Dhu outside the coroner’s court in Perth on Friday, Dec 16, 2016.

On August 4, 2014, I was phoned by Ms Dhu’s family. Only hours before the phone call, she had passed away at the hand of racism. Some will argue racism did not kill Ms Dhu, but I am of the view racism did.

Mainstream Australia only became truly aware of Ms Dhu’s death on December 16, when the CCTV footage of Ms Dhu’s final moments was finally released publicly, after a lengthy legal battle. Ms Dhu’s family wanted the footage to be shown for the benefit of the public interest.

When handing out her findings into the causes of Ms Dhu’s death, the West Australian coroner found Ms Dhu’s death was preventable, and police were ‘unprofessional and inhumane’.

As the CCTV footage lays witness, Ms Dhu was dragged, carted, and hauled to the pod of a police vehicle, as her spirit left behind her mortal coil. The footage is disturbing.

Some would say Ms Dhu was dumped into the paddy wagon ‘like a dead kangaroo’.

The rawness of this visual analogy was not lost on The Cat Empire’s Felix Riebl, who has just released a song about the events.

The renowned singer/songwriter had been reading my articles on Ms Dhu’s death and had contacted me to find out more.

Felix wanted to do something to raise awareness on Ms Dhu’s needless death. He felt the nation had to know about her abhorrent treatment in custody, and believes people should demand change.

Mid-last year, Felix emailed me a draft song: an ode in memory of Ms Dhu; a call to the nation’s principled and compassionate people to come as one and plea for justice.

When many rise, change happens

The song is a journey into injustice. It enumerates the wrongs Ms Dhu suffered in her last 48 hours.

Teenage female Aboriginal and Torres Strait youth choir, Marliya (Yindjibarndi for bush honey) from far north Queensland partnered with Felix.

Felix and Marilya capture the veils and layers of institutionalized systematic racism when they sing:

“…they carried her ‘like a dead kangaroo’, from her cell back to the same hospital who’d assumed that her pain must be invisible.”

The lyrics allude to some police having testified they thought Ms Dhu was faking illness and was coming down from drugs. Medical staff also thought she was exaggerating.

The bigger question is – why did police and hospital personnel decide ‘she was faking it’?

This assumption cost Ms Dhu her life. It denied her a proper health assessment and the care she needed.

Racism mires this nation, despite the denials of the many who reduce the debate to a minimum. Unsurprisingly, our state and federal governments remain idly quiet, as their parliaments do not reflect the demography of the nation in their make-up.

I endured racism as a child and have been haunted by it ever since. I have dedicated much of my research to unveiling it, but only so that we journey forward. I am exhausted by White Privilege talking down to minorities as if racism didn’t exist, as if White Privilege could ever understand what it is like to experience racism.

When Western Australian Coroner Ros Fogliani delivered her findings on Ms Dhu’s death on December 16, no one expected any damning condemnation from the coronial inquest.

We have been burnt so many times, hope was non-existent.

When 16-year-old John Pat died in 1983 in Roebourne, after being bashed to death by an inebriated police officer, Roebourne became to Western Australia what Birmingham had been to Alabama two decades prior: five police officers, who with furious fists laid into Yindjibarndi youth, were acquitted by an all-white jury.

A little over two decades later, we would be let down again when Mulrunji Doomadgee was critically injured in police custody. These police officers are still ‘serving the public’. So too are the police officers and health personnel who were ‘caring’ for Ms Dhu at the time of her death.

In November 2015 and March 2016, I attended most of the coronial inquest hearings into Ms Dhu’s death. I saw the footage, and though it broke the heart to see it, I was not surprised. Much injustice is perpetrated when racism, classism and sexism take hold.

Health personnel and police officers pleaded their innocence during the coronial inquest.

Felix and Marilya capture it best in the song:

“It wasn’t me, wasn’t me, I’m innocent, say the ones who betrayed her in every sense… Now they’re white washing away evidence, will we ever see a cop locked up for negligence?”

During the coronial inquest, I listened to ludicrous assertions, such as, ‘there is no racism or discriminating in the work places of hospitals and police stations’.

All anti-discrimination, anti-racism and cross cultural training teaches us to recognise that every workplace is tainted by racism and discrimination, and only by recognising this can we manage and reduce incidences of racism and discrimination.

Last November, I met with Coroner Fogliani to discuss some of my work in suicide. I also took the opportunity to discuss briefly Ms Dhu’s death and urged for the Custody Notification Service to be recommended.

This service would have mandatorily provided a stout advocate for Ms Dhu, which could have saved her life. I found Coroner Fogliani to be an open-minded individual, and I held out hope that she would come good in the findings and recommendations, despite the weight of pessimism rightfully felt by others.

Coroner Fogliani made eleven recommendations, the majority of which were much needed and long overdue.

She described the maltreatment by police as “unprofessional”, “inhumane and cruel”. However, she did not mention racism.

I would’ve gone further to describe the police’s treatment of Miss Dhu as brutal, malicious and racist. Yes, there was domestic violence incident, and yes, there was a staphylococcus infection and septicaemia. But what ensured Ms Dhu’s death was the police locking her up for fine defaulting, despite the fact that they had been called out to a domestic incident.

The police should have focused on Ms Dhu’s wellbeing, which was their duty of care, not her fines.

The Western Australian Police Commission has a lot to answer for, but has limited itself to reprimands. Country Health (WACHS) issued a statement in December accepting “the comments and recommendations made by the Coroner about the care Ms Dhu”.

The response reads: “WACHS has received, and is currently reviewing, the full Coroner’s report, and is seeking additional advice as to whether any further actions are reasonably required by WACHS”.

The coroner’s eleven findings, which include the call for the Custody Notification Service, were appropriate; however, they fell short of making involved police and health professionals accountable before the criminal justice system for their conduct. The coroner didn’t call out the role racism played, or required compensation for the Dhu family.

As the song illustrates:

Ms Dhu pleaded for her life.

“I am in so much pain.”

“Oh God, someone please help me.”

They did not. Where to from here?

 

22-year-old Ms Dhu would have turned 25 on Christmas Eve.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health : Cultural learning the key to new ways of improving Aboriginal health

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” Our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health training strategic plan is to expand our capacity and improve the quality of GP training in Aboriginal health settings.

We aim to develop mutually beneficial relationships by building a culturally diverse health workforce, by raising the awareness about the unique cultural history that Aboriginal people enjoy, particularly in Tasmania.”

Allyson Warrington chief executive of General Practice Training Tasmania

GENERAL Practice Training Tasmania is committed to “Closing the Gap”, through its partnership with the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre and the Tasmanian Aboriginal Community.

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GPTT aims to improve health outcomes for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Evidence clearly points out Aboriginal people continue to suffer a greater burden of ill health compared to the rest of the population.

Overall, they experience lower levels of access to health services, are more likely to be hospitalised for most diseases and conditions, to experience disability and reduced quality of life, and to die at younger ages than other Australians.

Aboriginal people also suffer a higher burden of emotional distress and mental illness than that experienced by the wider community.

GPs have a key service delivery role in addressing these issues. One of GPTT’s main aims is to train GP registrars to deliver high-quality, innovative, regionally based training programs that meet the primary healthcare needs of all Australians.

Our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health training strategic plan is to expand our capacity and improve the quality of GP training in Aboriginal health settings.

We aim to develop mutually beneficial relationships by building a culturally diverse health workforce, by raising the awareness about the unique cultural history that Aboriginal people enjoy, particularly in Tasmania.

Last year we held a Cultural Camp at trawtha makuminya, or Gowan Brae, near Bronte Park.

For two days, GP registrars from across the state enjoyed catering, cultural walks and activities with 10 Aboriginal community members, who ranged in age and experience from elders to young children.

Community members Jason Smith and Nathan Maynard guided the walks and shared information about the traditional fire burning they have been conducting on the property.

They also shared Aboriginal history and culture, showing GP registrars stone tools and the importance of our heritage.

Our GP registrars were treated to a cultural lunch — barbecued mutton-birds and kangaroo patties, with an abundance of salad and fresh fruit. They were taught some of the basic skills of basket weaving and making kelp water carriers. Participants enjoyed wearing ochre and asking lots of questions about the way the original Tasmanian aboriginals lived and survived.

The feedback from our GP registrars was around the strength of their experience and how much they were privileged to learn about the culture of Tasmania’s first people. We will continue to work with the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre to deliver this experience.

In the past, GPTT has also been involved with program initiatives, including:

THE delivery of an outreach service for frail, socially isolated, elderly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients with chronic diseases.

GP registrars planning and organising their learning, specifically facilitated by the Medical Director from the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre.

WE have also been involved through registrar and GP support across the Tasmanian Aboriginal Health Service network.

Every year, GP registrars have the opportunity to spend a significant part of their training at the Aboriginal Health Services in Hobart, Launceston and Burnie and persuade future GP registrars to choose these services as part of their GP training.

General Practice Training Tasmania has also contributed funds for the refurbishment of medical facilities and the upgrading of existing clinical rooms at the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre, as well as supplying appropriate medical equipment.

General Practice Training Tasmania is committed to both continuing and improving our partnership with the Tasmanian Aboriginal Community.

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Children : Launch of the National Framework for Health Services for Aboriginal Children and Families

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Closing the Gap is a number one priority for the Government, and we know that the most successful programs, the ones achieving outcomes, are those developed and driven by the community themselves,

Providing the right care from the very beginning, from the health of mothers before they conceive, to caring, supportive and appropriate care through pregnancy, to postnatal care, and through to the early days of school – this Framework is about ensuring that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and their families have the services, and information they need to set children up for better health outcomes for the rest of their lives.

The social and cultural determinants of health are one of our key priorities in Closing the Gap, and this means addressing the range of factors that impact on health, such as racism, cultural exclusion and economic status.

The holistic and consultative approach is the way forward.”

Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care, Ken Wyatt AM, MP today launched the new Framework, which is part of the Implementation Plan for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023.

The National Framework for Health Services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children and Families will help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children to get a better start in life.

DOWNLOAD Framework  HERE :

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It provides a guide for culturally appropriate maternal health care, pregnancy care and early childhood – setting children and families up for better health throughout their lives.

“This work was developed in collaboration with community leaders and a cultural advisory group. We also have consulted widely with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across the country, listening to what they need, so we can deliver the services that they require in the way that best suits different communities,” said Assistant Minister Wyatt.

“We needed to ensure this Framework spells out how to provide the right care at the most critical time of life for our children – from pre-conception and maternity care services through to eight years of age and the family unit that supports those children,” he said.

The focus of the Framework is on bringing a more holistic approach to health and wellbeing that draws on the strengths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and cultures to inform how high quality, evidence-based child and family health services are delivered.

A number of structural factors underpin the Framework, and are required to enable health services to meet the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families.

These system enablers include:

  • a culturally respectful and non-discriminatory health system (which is also a priority of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013 – 2023);
  • access to care based on proportionate universalism;
  • commitment to health equity, and addressing the social determinants of health. Strong and sustainable health outcomes cannot be achieved without recognition of the impact of colonisation, interpersonal and institutional racism, and the resulting health and social impacts of poverty, trauma, addiction, housing shortages, poor education, unemployment, and the lack of social supports;
  • evidence-based practice that is informed by researchers and the experience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families;
  • a focus on the cultural safety and development of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce at all levels of governance and service delivery;
  • governance structures that support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in leadership roles and ensure the participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in planning, delivery and review of child and family health services; and
  • supportive Government policy and funding. The vast majority of child and family health services are funded by governments. Government policy directly and indirectly affects the implementation of programs and services. It is vital that funded programs are built upon strong program logic, and that there is joint accountability and funding continuity (where possible) across the service system, irrespective of how existing programs are funded and managed. Funding must align with the principles of proportionate universalism with an expectation of delivering equitable health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The Framework also identifies key approaches that support culturally safe and appropriate care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Other approaches to care identified in the Framework include:

Central to these approaches is the importance of cultural competence, and the need for individuals and organisations to develop the capacity to work effectively within the cultural context of each client.

  • family-centred care to identify and respond to the needs and structures of individual families;
  • relationship-based care;
  • a focus on social and emotional wellbeing; and
  • strengths-based approaches.

It is acknowledged that many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have complex systems of family relationships. Children are often the responsibility of the entire extended family, rather than the biological parents alone. As such, the term family, as used in this Framework, is inclusive of carers as well as parents.

Similarly, this Framework covers all families where a child or children are of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent, regardless of either of their parents’ heritage.

In this sense, it places the child and their needs at the centre of the family.

The Framework will be embedded at the Commonwealth level in Funding Agreements, raising awareness through Aboriginal Health Partnership forums and including the principles in our policy design and program implementation.

For example, the Department of Education and Training has agreed to incorporate the Framework into the implementation of Connected Beginnings, building the same principles and shared vision for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children’s health across disciplines and jurisdictions.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health : Launch of the National Cultural Respect Framework for Aboriginal Health 2016–2026

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 ” The National Cultural Respect Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health 2016–2026 (the Framework) was recently launched by the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council .

This ten year framework seeks to guide delivery of culturally safe, responsive, and quality health care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities.

Download the COAG Cultural Respect Framework here :

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Launch of the Northern Territory Health Aboriginal Cultural Security Framework 2016-2026

The Department of Health is pleased to announce that the Northern Territory Health Aboriginal Cultural Security Framework 2016-2026 (the framework) has been finalised by the Office of Aboriginal Health Policy and Engagement (OAHPE). This framework was developed to guide staff in building a culturally secure health system.

DOWNLOAD NT Cultural Security Framework :

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DOWNLOAD NT Cultural Security Policy

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COAG Press release

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people generally experience poorer health outcomes than the rest of the Australian population, and while the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people has improved in a number of areas in recent years, ongoing effort is required to achieve sustainable improvements in health outcomes.

A fundamental step towards improving health outcomes is to address the many barriers Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience in accessing and receiving appropriate and professional health care.

The Framework provides the foundation and guides a nationally consistent approach for building culturally responsive health care design and delivery for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and contributes to achieving the Closing the Gap targets agreed by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG).

The Framework is a renewal of the Cultural Respect Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health 2004–2009 and was developed for the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council by the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Standing Committee.