NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Health Literacy Research : Ensuring that Indigenous communities have the opportunity to autonomously conceptualise health literacy policy and practice is critical to decolonising health care.

” Enhancing health literacy can empower individuals and communities to take control over their health as well as improve safety and quality in healthcare.

However, Indigenous health studies have repeatedly suggested that conceptualisations of health literacy are confined to Western knowledge, paradigms, and practices. The exploratory qualitative research design selected for this study used an inductive content analysis approach and systematic iterative analysis.

Publicly available health literacy-related policy and practice documents originating from Australia, Canada, and New Zealand were analysed to explore the extent to which and the ways in which Indigenous knowledges are recognised, acknowledged, and promoted.

 Findings suggest that active promotion of Indigenous-specific health knowledges and approaches is limited and guidance to support recognition of such knowledges in practice is rare.

Given that health services play a pivotal role in enhancing health literacy, policies and guidelines need to ensure that health services appropriately address and increase awareness of the diverse strengths and needs of Indigenous Peoples.

The provision of constructive support, resources, and training opportunities is essential for Indigenous knowledges to be recognised and promoted within health services.

Ensuring that Indigenous communities have the opportunity to autonomously conceptualise health literacy policy and practice is critical to decolonising health care. “

Gordon Robert Boot and Anne Lowell Charles Darwin University, Australia

Download full copy of research 

Health Literacy

Image above from Menzies study : The aim of this study was to understand the interplay between health literacy, gender and cultural identity among young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males living in the Northern Territory.

The health promotion sector is increasingly recognising that developing and improving individual, population, and provider health literacy (HL) is an important and effective strategy to enhance health and wellbeing, as well as to improve safety and quality in healthcare (Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care [ACSQH], 2014; Centre for Literacy, 2011; Johnson, 2014).

Integral to HL is the capability of individuals and the wider community to take active control and participate in addressing their healthcare needs (ACSQH, 2014, Johnson, 2014, Nutbeam, 2008).

Health outcomes can be improved through HL competencies that enable self-care and self-advocacy, development of mutual trusting relationships with health professionals, more effective access to and navigation of the healthcare system, as well as the ability of service providers to communicate effectively (Paasche-Orlow & Wolf, 2007, Sørensen et al., 2012).

Recent studies have highlighted that inclusion and promotion of Indigenous health knowledges within health promotion practices can enhance overall Indigenous health outcomes through mutual recognition of differing worldviews (Smylie, Kaplan-Myrth, McShane & Métis Nation of Ontario-Ottawa, 2008; Vass, Mitchell, & Dhurrkay, 2011), improved health communication (Lowell et al., 2012), and through strengthening cultural safety within culturally diverse healthcare systems (Rowan et al., 2013; Nielsen, Alice Stuart & Gorman, 2014).

However, representation of Indigenous health knowledges and practices within health literacy-related policy and practice documents does not appear to have been investigated in previous research.

The overall purpose of this paper is to present selected findings of a larger study (Boot, 2016), which has sought to address this knowledge gap by exploring the extent and means by which Indigenous knowledges, paradigms, and practices are recognised, acknowledged, and promoted within HL-related documents across Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.

This article focuses on two themes from the findings that have particular relevance: acknowledging cultural beliefs, practices, and norms, and promotion of Indigenous cultural health knowledges, paradigms, and practices (Boot, 2016).

The next section of this article explores definitions and context encompassing Indigenous health and health literacy. The Methods section describes in detail the exploratory research approach, document selection, and content analysis process.

The Findings section illustrates prominent examples from within the two themes that are represented within this article. The relevance and implications of these findings are further explored in the concluding discussion, and recommendations for future research are presented.

Background

Many countries, including Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, are considered to have world-class healthcare systems (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2017).

Extensive efforts are made by governments and the health promotion sector to improve overall health and quality of life outcomes within these populations (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2017).

The majority of people living within these countries have reasonably good health and enjoy an average life expectancy of 78 to 82 years of age (Australian Bureau of Statistics [ABS], 2015b; Statistics Canada, 2015; Statistics New Zealand, 2015).

All three countries have a similarly rich history of Indigenous cultures, knowledges, and languages, but life expectancy for many Indigenous people within these countries remains significantly lower, ranging from 69 to 80 years of age, in comparison with the national average (ABS, 2015a; Statistics Canada, 2015; Statistics New Zealand, 2015).

The health inequities Indigenous people experience today are predominantly linked to the effects of colonisation and persistently unfavourable social determinants (Dudgeon, Milroy & Walker, 2014; Griffiths, Coleman, Lee & Madden, 2016; Sherwood, 2013).

Governments and frontline health services aim to overcome these inequities by developing and implementing a variety of policies, strategies, and evidence-based approaches.

Defining Health Literacy 

The concept of health literacy originates from the field of education and has in recent years expanded to include a wide range of skills and knowledges. Health literacy is commonly defined as the abilities and skills of an individual or community to access, appraise, and communicate health-related information, to navigate and engage with the healthcare system, and to advocate and maintain personal and community health and wellbeing (Centre for Literacy, 2011; Nutbeam, 2000; Sørensen et al., 2012; World Health Organisation, 2016a).

Governments and scholars advocate that developing and enhancing HL within populations supports the process of empowerment thereby enabling the individual, community, and society to take control over their healthcare needs and engage in collective action to promote health (ACSQH, 2014; Estacio, 2013; Freedman et al., 2009; Johnson, 2014; Kickbusch, 2009; Ministry of Health, 2015; Mitic & Rootman, 2012; Nutbeam, 2008; Sykes, Wills, Rowlands, & Popple, 2013).

Health literacy skills develop across the lifespan, are context specific, and influenced by social, cultural, and political contexts (Centre for Literacy, 2011; Kickbusch, Wait, & Maag 2006; Mitic & Rootman, 2012; Paasche-Orlow & Wolf, 2007; Vass et al., 2011; Zarcadoolas, Pleasant, & Greer, 2005).

Zarcadoolas et al. (2005), for example, asserted that cultural health literacy needs to be inherent within health literacy models. This is defined as having “the ability to recognize and use collective beliefs, customs, world-view and social identity in order to interpret and act on health information” (p. 197).

In addition, Ewen (2011) argued that health professionals need to obtain and effectively utilise cultural literacy skills in order for them to be culturally competent in their service delivery.

Cultural literacy is considered a skill-set that encompasses awareness, respect, and responsiveness to cultural differences and needs (Ewen, 2011). These abilities become critical within culturally diverse healthcare environments where worldviews, values, approaches to communication, and conceptualisations of health and wellbeing differ significantly from those endorsed by the dominant culture.

More recent conceptualisations of HL are increasingly recognising the significance and complexity of the health literacy environment: That is, “the infrastructure, policies, processes, materials, people and relationships that make up the health system and have an impact on the way in which people access, understand, appraise and apply health-related information and services” (ACSQH, 2014, p. 10). The Global Conference on Health Promotion in Shanghai in 2016 also identified HL as a critical social determinant of health that needs to be developed and strengthened within populations (World Health Organisation, 2016b). Enhancing HL skills within Indigenous populations, however, requires sophisticated cultural literacy and a collaborative, comprehensive, and empathetic approach due to the diversity in worldviews, perceptions of health and wellbeing, as well as complex sociocultural factors (Ewen, 2011; Smylie, Williams & Cooper, 2006; Vass et al., 2011).

Indigenous Concepts of Health and Wellbeing

Indigenous populations across and within each of the three countries that are the focus of this article

(Australia, Canada, and New Zealand) are diverse in terms of languages and their physical environment (urban, rural, level of remoteness, and climate), as well as political and social relationships, ancestral heritage, and cultural knowledges and practices (Dudgeon et al., 2014; Greaves, Houkamau & Sibley, 2015; Stephenson, 1995). Although Indigenous Peoples share some common health beliefs, their health knowledges and healing practices are diverse due to the unique social, cultural, political, and environmental circumstances within which they have developed and continue to exist (Dudgeon et al., 2014; Durie, 1994).

Despite this diversity, Indigenous people across all three countries tend to regard health and wellbeing as a holistic, multidimensional, and interconnected concept that cannot be separated from other aspects or fragmented into distinguishable individual units (Durie, 1994; Morgan, Slade & Morgan, 1997; Stephens, Porter, Nettleton & Willis, 2006). Health and wellbeing incorporates physical, psychological, social, ecological, spiritual, and cultural aspects and is sustained by nurturing and attending to all these relational aspects regularly in an appropriate and meaningful manner (Campbell, 2002; Durie, 1994; Morgan et al., 1997; Vukic, Gregory, Martin-Misener & Etowa, 2011; Wilson, 2008). Individual studies within all three countries similarly highlight how positive strengthening and maintaining of those interrelated aspects can provide preventative and long-lasting health benefits (Colles, Maypilama & Brimblecombe, 2014; Dockery, 2010; Hopkirk & Wilson, 2014; Lambert et al., 2014; Lowell, Kildea, Liddle, Cox & Paterson, 2015; Smylie et al., 2008; Wilson, 2008).

Previous research addressing Indigenous health concerns have identified HL-related barriers and challenges including racism, communication and language barriers, poor relationships, and culturally associated misconceptions (Durey & Thompson, 2012; Lambert et al., 2014; Lowell et al., 2015; Vass et al., 2011). Such challenges can significantly obstruct access to and provision of effective primary healthcare services, inevitably influencing health outcomes (Lambert et al., 2014). The need for healthcare systems to adequately acknowledge and incorporate Indigenous health knowledges within health promotion practices has also been identified (Hopkirk & Wilson, 2014; Liaw et al., 2011; Lowell et al., 2015; Nielsen et al., 2014; Priest, MacKean, Davis, Briggs & Waters, 2012; Rowan et al., 2013; Vass et al., 2011).

Incorporating and promoting Indigenous knowledges within an Indigenous healthcare environment has the potential to strengthen culturally safe practices and opportunities for self-determination, enhance health communication, and to foster relationships that are built on trust and mutual respect (Colles et al., 2014; Dockery, 2010, Hopkirk & Wilson, 2014; Lambert et al., 2014, Lowell et al., 2015). However, the majority of current conceptualisations of HL are commonly confined to Western pedagogies and paradigms. As such, they frequently disregard the significance of Indigenous cultures, languages, and knowledges as strengths, with potential health benefits (Akena, 2012; Barwin, 2012; Durey & Thompson, 2012; Lambert et al., 2014; Priest et al., 2012; Sherwood, 2013; Smylie et al., 2006; Vass et al., 2011).

Ingleby (2012) suggested that every person has some form of HL that is intrinsic to their personal and cultural beliefs. Enhancing HL within diverse populations can therefore only be achieved when distinctive personal and cultural beliefs are taken into account and appropriately acted upon (Ingleby, 2012). Indigenous concepts of holistic health and associated knowledges and practices have developed over millennia, ensuring individual and community survival, health, and well-being prior to colonisation and beyond. For example, Indigenous-specific HL includes knowledges and practices related to bush medicines and sourcing traditional food (Ewen, 2011) and the interconnectedness of language, physical, emotional, environmental, and spiritual aspects that as a whole contribute to health and wellbeing among First Nation people (Smylie et al., 2006).

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Research Health News : New @NHMRC project to implement and evaluate 715 annual health checks interventions designed to help Close the Gap

 “The prevalence of most chronic diseases increases with age and affects not only physical health, but also the broader contributors to the well-being of older Aboriginal people, including participation in family, community and cultural leadership roles and connection with community networks.

Aboriginal people often receive a diagnosis at a more advanced stage of chronic disease, which means there’s less opportunity to prevent their condition and health deteriorating “

Professor Sanson-Fisher said chronic diseases continue to be a major contributor to unhealthy ageing among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Timely diagnosis and appropriate management was vital to improving health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. See Website

Consider these facts

  • In 2016-2017 just 27 per cent of Indigenous adults aged 15 to 24 had an annual health assessment.
  • Only 30 per cent of 25-to 54-year-olds, and 41 per cent of Indigenous adults over 55 had one.
  • Around 37 per cent of the burden of disease in Aboriginal people could be prevented by reducing risk factors

Read previous NACCHO 715 Health Check Articles

Download resources to boost the rates of the 715 health check. Information available for patients and health professionals!

An intervention designed to help Close the Gap, by increasing the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who receive an annual health check by their GP, will be implemented and evaluated by a new National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) project.

Renowned population health researcher, Laureate Professor Rob Sanson-Fisher of the University of Newcastle and Hunter Medical Research Institute, will lead a team of expert Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal researchers in the five-year research project – which was awarded $745,056 following a Targeted Call for Research** for Healthy Ageing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People.

Indigenous people die about eight years earlier than non-Indigenous Australians. For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians born in 2015-17, the life expectancy is 71.6 years for men and 75.6 years for women – about 8.6 and 7.8 years less than non-Aboriginal men and women respectively.

Twenty-two mainstream general practice clinics within the central Coast and New England regions will participate in the research project.

The intervention package will comprise strategies such as continuing medical education, recall and reminder systems, and mailed invitations to patients.

The project will also test whether the intervention increases doctors’ adherence to best practice care and improves patient outcomes.

More than 60 per cent of Indigenous people regularly visit mainstream general practice services – a key opportunity to deliver an annual ‘715’ health assessment, which forms an integral part of the Australian Government’s Closing the Gap commitment.

The aim of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Assessment (Medicare Benefits Schedule item 715) is to help ensure Indigenous Australians receive primary health care matched to their needs, by encouraging early detection, diagnosis and intervention for common and treatable conditions that cause morbidity and early death.

The health assessment is an annual service and covers the full age spectrum..

Key contributing chronic conditions include cardiovascular diseases (19 per cent of the chronic disease prevalence gap), mental and substance use disorders (14 per cent), cancer (9 per cent), chronic kidney disease, diabetes, vision loss, hearing loss and respiratory, musculoskeletal, neurological and congenital disorders.

Around 37 per cent of the burden of disease in Aboriginal people could be prevented by reducing risk factors.

The risk factors causing the most burden are tobacco use (12 per cent of the total burden), alcohol use (8 per cent), high body mass (8 per cent), physical inactivity (6 per cent), high blood pressure (5 per cent) and high blood glucose levels (5 per cent).

“Mainstream general practice is a crucial setting to impact on prevention, timely diagnosis and appropriate management of chronic disease for Aboriginal people, which is imperative to help Close the Gap,” Professor Sanson-Fisher said.

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #ClosingTheGap #NAIDOC2019 : @AIHW Key results report 2017-18 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health organisations:

Findings from this report:

  • Just under half (45%) of organisations provide services in Remote or Very remote areas

  • In 2017–18, around 483,000 clients received 3.6 million episodes of care

  • Nearly 8,000 full-time equivalent staff are employed in these organisations and 4,695 (59%) are health staff

  • Organisations reported 445 vacant positions in June 2018 with health vacancies representing 366 (82%) of these
  • In 2017–18, nearly 200 organisations provided a range of primary health services to around 483,000 clients, 81% of whom were Indigenous.
  • Around 3.6 million episodes of care were provided, nearly 3.1 million of these (85%) by Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services.

See AIHW detailed Interactive site locations map HERE

In 2017–18, Indigenous primary health services were delivered from 383 sites (Table 3). Most sites provided clinical services such as the diagnosis and treatment of chronic illnesses (88%), mental health and counselling services (88%), maternal and child health care (86%), and antenatal care (78%). Around two-thirds provided tobacco programs (69%) and substance-use and drug and alcohol programs (66%).

Most organisations provided access to a doctor (86%) and just over half (54%) delivered a wide range of services, including all of the following during usual opening hours: the diagnosis and treatment of illness and disease; antenatal care; maternal and child health care; social and emotional wellbeing/counselling services; substance use programs; and on‑site or off-site access to specialist, allied health and dental care services.

Most organisations (95%) also provided group activities as part of their health promotion and prevention work. For example, in 2017–18, these organisations provided around:

  • 8,400 physical activity/healthy weight sessions
  • 3,700 living skills sessions
  • 4,600 chronic disease client support sessions
  • 4,100 tobacco-use treatment and prevention sessions.

In addition to the services they provide, organisations were asked to report on service gaps and challenges they faced and could list up to 5 of each from predefined lists. In 2017–18, around two-thirds of organisations (68%) reported mental health/social and emotional health and wellbeing services as a gap faced by the community they served.

This was followed by youth services (54%). Over two-thirds of organisations (71%) reported the recruitment, training and support of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff as a challenge in delivering quality health services.

Read full report and all data HERE

This is the tenth national report on organisations funded by the Australian Government to provide health services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Indigenous primary health services

Primary health services play a critical role in helping to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Indigenous Australians may access mainstream or Indigenous primary health services funded by the Australian and state and territory governments.

Information on organisations funded by the Australian Government under its Indigenous Australians’ health programme (IAHP) is available through two data collections: the Online Services Report (OSR) and the national Key Performance Indicators (nKPIs). Most of the organisations funded under the IAHP contribute to both collections (Table 1).

The OSR collects information on the services organisations provide, client numbers, client contacts, episodes of care and staffing levels. Contextual information about each organisation is also collected. The nKPIs collect information on a set of process of care and health outcome indicators for Indigenous Australians.

There are 24 indicators that focus on maternal and child health, preventative health and chronic disease management. Information from the nKPI and OSR collections help monitor progress against the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Closing the Gap targets, and supports the national health goals set out in the Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013–2023.

Detailed information on the policy context and background to these collections are available in previous national reports, including the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health organisations: Online Services Report—key results 2016–17 and National Key Performance Indicators for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary health care: results for 2017.

At a glance

This tenth national OSR report presents information on organisations funded by the Australian Government to provide primary health services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It includes a profile of these organisations and information on the services they provide, client numbers, client contacts, episodes of care and staffing levels. Interactive data visualisations using OSR data for 5 reporting periods, from 2013–14 to 2017–18, are presented for the first time.

Key messages

  1. A wide range of primary health services are provided to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. In 2017–18:
  • 198 organisations provided primary health services to around 483,000 clients, most of whom were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (81%).
  • These organisations provided around 3.6 million episodes of care, with nearly 3.1 million (85%) delivered by Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs).
  • More than two-thirds of organisations (71%) were ACCHSs. The rest included government-run organisations and other non-government-run organisations.
  • Nearly half of organisations (45%) provided services in Remoteand Very remote
  • Services were delivered from 383 sites across Australia. Most sites provided the diagnosis and treatment of chronic illnesses (88%), social and emotional wellbeing services (88%), maternal and child health care (86%), and antenatal care (78%). Around two-thirds provided tobacco programs (69%) and substance-use and drug and alcohol programs (66%).

See this AIHW detailed Interactive site locations map HERE

  1. Organisations made on average nearly 13 contacts per client

In 2017–18, organisations providing Indigenous primary health services made around 6.1 million client contacts, an average of nearly 13 contacts per client (Table 2). Over half of all client contacts (58%) were made by nurses and midwives (1.8 million contacts) and doctors (1.7 million contacts). Contacts by nurses and midwives represented half (49%) of all client contacts in Very remote areas compared with 29% overall.

  1. Organisations employed nearly 8,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) staff

At 30 June 2018, organisations providing Indigenous primary health services employed nearly 8,000 FTE staff and over half of these (54%) were Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. These organisations were assisted by around 270 visiting staff not paid for by the organisations themselves, making a total workforce of around 8,200 FTE staff.

Nurses and midwives were the most common type of health worker (14% of employed staff), followed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers and practitioners (13%) and doctors (7%). Nurses and midwives represented a higher proportion of employed staff in Very remote areas (22%).

  1. Social and emotional health and wellbeing services are the most commonly reported service gap

Organisations can report up to 5 service gaps faced by the community they serve from a predefined list of gaps. Since this question was introduced in 2012–13, the most commonly reported gap has been for mental health and social and emotional health and wellbeing services. In 2017–18, this was reported as a gap by 68% of organisations.

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #ClosingTheGap @nhmrc and @UniCanberra Project : Commissioning stronger evaluations of Indigenous health and wellbeing programs

 ” Billions of dollars are spent annually on Indigenous programs, services and initiatives yet, despite the need, there is limited evidence on what programs are effective for improving Indigenous health outcomes.

The Productivity Commission has called for ‘more and better’ evaluations of Indigenous programs and commissioning processes that engage Indigenous communities, organisations and leaders.

The commissioning of evaluations plays a significant role in the way program evaluations are carried out. It is through the commissioning process that the budget is set, the evaluators are identified, the aims and objectives of the evaluation are set, and many other aspects of the evaluation are determined.” 

See University of Canberra website 

This National Health and Medical Research Council funded project (GNT1165913) responds to a call from Indigenous leaders for opportunities to influence decision-making processes within the health system and across sectors for the commissioning of health programs to reflect their needs, priorities and views on program design, delivery and evaluation.

This project aims to identify how government (federal, state/ territory) and non-government (not-for-profit, corporate, foundation, philanthropic) commissioning practices can better support Indigenous engagement and leadership in the evaluation of health and wellbeing programs in Australia.

To achieve this aim, this project will address the following objectives:

  1. To characterise the spectrum of commissioning practices of government and non-government organisations in contracting evaluations for health and wellbeing programs particularly the role of Indigenous engagement and leadership during, and resulting from, the commissioning process.
  2. To identify the issues, challenges and opportunities for Indigenous engagement and leadership across the spectrum of commissioning practices from the perspectives of: (a) commissioners/policy makers; (b) service providers; and (c) the Indigenous community.
  3. To translate the findings into resources to support Indigenous engagement and leadership in the commissioning of program evaluations.

The project will be supported by an advisory group, chaired by Professor Tom Calma AO.

The project is funded until October 2022.

Research team

Contact

For more information on the project, please contact Margaret Cargo at margaret.cargo@canberra.edu.au.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #IndigenousEvaluationStrategy : The Australian Government has asked the @ozprodcom to develop a whole-of-government evaluation strategy for policies and programs affecting Indigenous Australians

 ” We are developing an evaluation strategy for Australian Government policies and programs affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

 Better evidence about what works and why is needed to improve policies and programs.

The strategy will cover both Indigenous‑specific and mainstream policies and programs.”

 Romlie Mokak, Commissioner, Productivity Commission

Download the brochure HERE

indigenous-evaluation-about

Great ideas, engagement and interest in #IndigenousEvaluationStrategy workshop at #LowitjaConf2019 facilitated by Commissioner @RMokak and team members. Strong indicator of need for more attention on policy and program development and evaluation.

Evaluation can help policy-makers and communities determine:

  • whether government policies and programs are achieving their objectives
  • what influences whether government policies and programs are effective
  • how government policies and programs can be improved

We will engage widely across metropolitan, regional and remote locations.

We want to hear from individuals, communities and organisations.

  • How can Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge, priorities and values be better integrated into policy and program evaluation?
  • What principles should guide Australian Government agencies’ evaluation efforts?
  • What should be the priority policy areas for future Australian Government evaluation efforts?
  • How can evaluation results be better used in policy and program design and implementation?

We are particularly keen to get input and advice from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, communities and organisations.

An issues paper will be released in June 2019.

Learn more about the project, or register your interest or call 1800 020 083

Indigenous Evaluation Strategy

Letter of Direction

Evaluation of policies and programs impacting on Indigenous Australians

I, Josh Frydenberg, Treasurer, pursuant to Parts 2 and 4 of the Productivity Commission Act 1998 hereby request the Productivity Commission to develop a whole-of-government evaluation strategy for policies and programs affecting Indigenous Australians. The Commission will also review the performance of agencies against the strategy over time, focusing on potential improvements and on lessons that may have broader application for all governments.

Background

A number of high profile reports have highlighted the need for more evaluation of policies and programs that have an impact on Indigenous Australians. For example, the Commission’s Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage Report 2016found that only a relatively small number of programs have been rigorously evaluated.

Improving outcomes for Indigenous Australians depends on agencies with responsibility for policies and programs affecting Indigenous Australians undertaking meaningful evaluations. The Commission is to develop a strategy to guide that evaluation effort.

Scope

The Commission should develop an evaluation strategy for policies and programs affecting Indigenous Australians, to be utilised by all Australian Government agencies. As part of the strategy, the Commission should:

  • establish a principles based framework for the evaluation of policies and programs affecting Indigenous Australians
  • identify priorities for evaluation
  • set out its approach for reviewing agencies’ conduct of evaluations against the strategy.

In developing the strategy, the Commission should consider:

  • how to engage Indigenous communities and incorporate Indigenous knowledge and perspectives
  • ethical approaches to evaluations
  • evaluation experience in Australia and overseas
  • relevant current or recent reviews commissioned or undertaken by Australian, state, territory or local government agencies
  • the availability and use of existing data, and the further development of other required data and information
  • areas in which there may be value in the Productivity Commission undertaking evaluation
  • how to translate evidence into practice and to embed evaluation in policy and program delivery.

Process

The Commission should consult widely on the strategy, in particular with Indigenous people, communities and organisations (such as the Empowered Community regions), and with all levels of government. It should also consult with non-Indigenous organisations, and individuals responsible for administering and delivering relevant policies and programs.

The Commission should adopt a variety of consultation methods including seeking public submissions.

The Commission should provide the evaluation strategy and forward work program to Government within 15 months of commencement.

The Hon Josh Frydenberg MP
Treasurer

[10 April 2019]

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #SuicidePrevention @cbpatsisp The #WISPC18 #NISPC18Conference Report, released this week, confirms the urgent need for action in colonised countries throughout the world

Our people know the solutions, as is evidenced in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project (ATSISPEP), Solutions that work: What the evidence and our people tell us along with countless other reports and bodies of work. It’s time for all parties to work together, and with us on co-designing and implementing clinically proven culturally driven solutions.”

Professor Pat Dudgeon, a Psychologist and Project Director at the Centre of Best Practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention (CBPATSISP), has found intergenerational trauma and suicide to be a legacy of colonisation for Indigenous peoples the world over.

Download the Report

SuicidePreventionReport_JUNE-2019_FINAL_WEB

Read over 140 Aboriginal Health and SUicide Prevention articles published by NACCHO in past 7 years 

Indigenous suicide is a global concern. The 2nd National and World Indigenous Suicide Prevention Conferences in Perth WA in November 2018 brought together Indigenous peoples from Australia, Canada, United States of America and New Zealand. The Conference Report, released today, confirms the urgent need for action in colonised countries throughout the world.

Suicide rates have been increasing worldwide and are especially high amongst Indigenous peoples. The critical importance of identifying and implementing effective suicide prevention strategies in Indigenous communities was highlighted by a report Global Overview: Indigenous Suicide Rates. Prepared for and launched at the Conferences, the report details the consistently higher rates of suicide amongst Indigenous compared to non-Indigenous people and demonstrates the urgency for action.

Indigenous Elders, policy makers, researchers and community members representing LGBTIQ+SB, Youth, and Lived Experience participants came together at the Conferences to recognise the impacts of colonisation and subsequent trauma, disadvantage, marginalisation and lack of action by government on Indigenous issues and the need for healing and recovery processes for suicide prevention.

Professor Pat Dudgeon, a Psychologist and Project Director at the Centre of Best Practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention (CBPATSISP), has found intergenerational trauma and suicide to be a legacy of colonisation for Indigenous peoples the world over.

There’s an emerging story about people who have been colonised. Usually the takeover of their lands has been quite brutal. There were genocides and people removed from country and treated like second-class citizens, which in itself is traumatic.

Professor Dudgeon cited the work of psychologists Professor Michael Chandler and Professor Christopher Lalonde as pointing a way forward in preventing suicide in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

They looked at Canadian First Nation tribes and found that some communities had no suicide and others were right off the scale. So they examined the communities that had no or low suicide rates and coined the term ‘cultural continuity’. Translated into plain English, those communities had good self-determination. They had their own councils, they were in charge, they had agency over their community and their lives.

Another factor was that they were doing cultural reclamation activities. These could be simple things like building a long house or ensuring you had your cultural ceremonies happening. These issues corresponded directly to suicide rates.

Recovery from colonisation is our globally shared agenda and the conference enabled delegates to examine issues and identify solutions that are needed. Indigenous peoples from all countries who attended the conferences are calling upon their respective governments to recognise the Indigenous Rights declaration, the right to self-determination and the right for data sovereignty.

Recommendations included a dedicated National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy and Implementation Plan; allocation of greater levels of program funds for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities; and an Elders call on all levels of government for an immediate response to unacceptable rates of suicides of young people, including a Royal Commission or ‘Truth and Reconciliation’ as the basis for healing and moving forward, programs and services to recognise and support the restoration and maintenance of culture and identity for the younger generation.

As Professor Dudgeon says:

Our people know the solutions, as is evidenced in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project (ATSISPEP), Solutions that work: What the evidence and our people tell us along with countless other reports and bodies of work. It’s time for all parties to work together, and with us on co-designing and implementing clinically proven culturally driven solutions.

The next Conference will continue the legacy of the Calls to Actions and Recommendations. Ms Carla Cochrane who is the Regional Research Coordinator for the First Nations Health and Social Secretariat of Manitoba is coordinating and planning the 3rd World Suicide Prevention Suicide Prevention Conference that will take place in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada in August 2020.

Ms Cochrane stated:

The 2018 Conference allowed us to share our stories and to connect on all levels, including spirit, with the promotion of life.  Even though we come from different regions, our experiences and history are very similar and so is our strength, perseverance and resiliency to overcome the challenges we may face. Our connection to who we are as Indigenous people, our connection to the land and our languages set this foundation and this was highlighted at the conference.

Our focus at the 2020 Conference will be on continuing the legacy of the Calls to Actions and Recommendations from the 2018 Conference and on strengthening our communities through sharing our stories and our Knowledge.

  • Lifeline: 131 114
  • Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800
  • Mensline: 1300 78 99 78
  • Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467
  • Open Arms Veterans and Families Counselling 1800 011 046
  • Qlife – 1800 184 527
  • National Indigenous Critical Response Service 1800 805 801

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #LowitjaConf2019 Speech  : Donnella Mills Acting Chair NACCHO and John Paterson CEO AMSANT presents the Coalition of ACCO Peaks on #ClosingtheGap

 

We have started the task of determining an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander position on Closing the Gap. We know that Closing the Gap needs to be more than a set of targets. What we need is a radical shift to the way governments work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples at all levels of policy design and implementation. We also want to place Aboriginal Community Controlled Services at the heart of delivering programs and services to our people.”

Donnella Mills, the Acting Chair of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation or NACCHO, and John Paterson, the Chief Executive Officer of the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory, an affiliate member of NACCHO, and convener of the Aboriginal Peak Organisations Northern Territory.

I wish to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land we are meeting on. I wish to acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this city and this region.

I would also like to acknowledge and welcome other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who may be attending today’s session and acknowledge their lands and culture.

We thank the Lowitja Institute for bringing us together again to think, speak and be First Nations solutions for global change, and for giving us the opportunity to speak with you today about the work of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak organisations across Australia on Closing the Gap.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have historically been excluded from decision-making on the policies and programs that directly affect them and the communities in which they live. This is despite evidence which demonstrates that the only way to improve our people’s health and wellbeing is with their full participation in the design and delivery of services that impact on us. And despite our collective repeated calls over many years for full participation in decisions that impact on our lives.

Today we want to share with you how a group of Aboriginal community controlled organisations have exercised political agency by leading the way, challenging the possibilities and imagining a future of shared decision-making with governments on policies and programs that impact on our people and our communities.

You may remember that in 2007, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), comprising leaders of federal, state and territory, and local governments, committed to ‘closing the gap’ in life expectancy between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and other Australians. They also committed to a range of targets to end the disparity between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians in areas like infant mortality, employment and education.

This was the first time that Australian Governments had come together in a unified way to address the disadvantage experienced by too many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The Commonwealth Government at the time also made an unprecedented investment in programs and services to ‘close the gap’.

Despite this unprecedented coming together of Australian Governments and investment, Aboriginal people were not formally involved in Closing the Gap, it was not agreed by us and it was a policy of governments and not for our people.

Many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people felt that Closing the Gap presented the issue of our disadvantage as a technical problem built around non-Indigenous markers of poverty. This only served to hide the extent to which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ disadvantage is a political problem requiring deep structural reforms.

Closing the Gap did not address the biggest gap that we face: the gulf between the political autonomy and economic resources of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous people.

The policies and programs that then followed whilst making some difference to our peoples lives did not achieve their potential. Now ten years later we have not made the progress against the closing the gap targets that had been hoped.

In 2017 the Commonwealth Government embarked on a ‘refresh’ of the Closing the Gap framework and undertook a series of consultations. The consultations were inadequate and superficial. There was no independent report prepared on their outcomes. The lack of transparency and accountability surrounding these consultations were very disappointing, but not surprising.

As the ‘refreshed’ Closing the Gap strategy was being prepared for sign off by the Australian Governments, our dismay and disappointment galvanised a small group of community controlled organisations to come together to write to the Prime Minister, Premiers and Chief Ministers asking that it not be agreed.

We weren’t going away, and there were three important messages that we wanted governments to hear. These were:

  1. When Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are included and have a real say in the design and delivery of services that impact on them, the outcomes are far better;
  2. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples need to be at the centre of Closing the Gap policy: the gap won’t close without our full involvement; and
  3. the Council of Australian Governments cannot expect us to take responsibility and work constructively with them to improve outcomes if we are excluded from the decision making.

By staying strong and consistent in our messaging, our voices could not be ignored. In late October 2018, we were invited to meet with the Prime Minister, who acknowledged that the current targets were ‘government targets’ not ‘shared targets’, and that for Closing the Gap to be realised Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people had to be able to take formal responsibility for the outcomes through shared decision making.

On 12 December 2018, Australian Governments publicly committed to developing a genuine, formal partnership between the Commonwealth, state and territory governments and Indigenous Australians through their representatives on Closing the Gap and that through this partnership a new Closing the Gap policy would be agreed.

The initial fourteen organisations then became almost forty, as we brought together Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peaks bodies across the country to form a formal Coalition to negotiate a new Closing the Gap framework with Australian Governments. We include both national and state and territory based Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peaks representing a diverse range of services and matter that are important to us as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and to Closing the Gap.

As a first step and through our initiative, we negotiated and agreed a formal Partnership Agreement between the Council of Australian Governments and the Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak organisations which came into effect in March 2019.

The Partnership Agreement sets out that the Coalition of Peaks will have shared decision making on developing, implementing and monitoring and reviewing Closing the Gap for the next ten years. This is an historic achievement.

It is the first time that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peaks have come together in this way, to work collectively and as full partners with Australian Governments. Its is also the first time that there has been formal decision making with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and Australian Governments in this way.

A key commitment of the Partnership is the creation of the new Joint Council on Closing the Gap. The inaugural meeting of COAG’s Joint Council on Closing the Gap took place on 27 March. Noting that it is the first Council established by COAG that has representatives from outside government, it marked a historic step forward in the working relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and governments.

It is not an easy path that we are on and there are many challenges.

The Coalition of Peaks are strengthening their own governance and it is not always easy coming together by teleconferences to work through our positions as we navigate our distances and the pace in which we need to work to stay in front of Australian Governments with their many resources.

We are committed to being transparent and accountable to each other through consensus-based decision-making. This has helped us build trust in each other, in our agreed processes of negotiation and representation, and has made us a strong and effective force to be reckoned with.

Australian Governments are also slow to change, and despite agreeing to the formal partnership with us, we are yet to see them fully embrace what it means to have us at the table and respond to our propositions.

We have started the task of determining an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander position on Closing the Gap. We know that Closing the Gap needs to be more than a set of targets. What we need is a radical shift to the way governments work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples at all levels of policy design and implementation. We also want to place Aboriginal Community Controlled Services at the heart of delivering programs and services to our people.

The Coalition of Peaks have also agreed with Australian Governments that they will lead consultations with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and communities across Australia on a new Closing the Gap framework later this year. This will be the first time that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak bodies will lead consultations with our own peoples on government policy.

Whilst the road is challenging, by presenting governments with alternative model for engaging with us, an historic new model of power sharing has been forged.

In conclusion, I’d like to share with you some of the key learnings of partnering for success and keeping governments accountable to community health priorities.

Throughout our negotiations with government, we learned the importance of staying strong and presenting a unified voice. Our membership may be large and reflective of very diverse organisations. But this diversity is also a strength, as long as we are willing to stay true to our common.

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Conferences and Events #SaveADate : This weeks feature @LowitjaInstitut June 17 -20 #LowitjaConf2019 program @ausprogress #Progress2019 Plus July 10 @KenWyattMP at #NPC @IAHA_National @SNAICC @CATSINaM @IAHA_National @2019wihc #NACCHOAgm2019 #OCHREDay

This weeks featured NACCHO SAVE A DATE events

18 -20 June Lowitja Health Conference Darwin

Download the 2019 Health Awareness Days Calendar 

20 – 21 June First Nations led content and free tickets at Progress 2019

2019 Dr Tracey Westerman’s Workshops 

5 July NAIDOC week Symposium

6 July National NAIDOC Awards Canberra

10 July Minister Ken Wyatt at the National Press Club 

7 -14 July 2019 National NAIDOC Grant funding round opens

2-5 August Garma Festival 

4 August  National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day 2019

13- 14 August Indigenous Health Justice Conference (IHJ) Darwin 

29th  – 30th  August 2019 NACCHO OCHRE DAY

2- 5 September 2019 SNAICC Conference

23 -25 September IAHA Conference Darwin

24 -26 September 2019 CATSINaM National Professional Development Conference

2- 4 October  AIDA Conference 2019

9-10 October 2019 NATSIHWA 10 Year Anniversary Conference

16 October Melbourne Uni: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Wellbeing Conference

November date TBA World Indigenous Housing Conference

4 November NACCHO Youth Conference -Darwin NT

5 – 7 November NACCHO Conference and AGM  -Darwin NT

5-8 November The Lime Network Conference New Zealand 

This weeks feature event 

Leading national and international experts in the field of Indigenous health and wellbeing will be in Darwin from 18 to 20 June 2019 for the Lowitja Institute International Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Conference 2019.

Under the theme of ‘Thinking, Speaking, Being’ the conference will bring together some 760 delegates from around Australia and the world to celebrate, share and strengthen Indigenous knowledges.

Download the full program

2019 Lowitja Program

Or access digital program

The digital program is available HERE. This version of the program will allow you to search all presentations including posters, their abstracts, and presenter bios.

This will be the up-to-the-minute version of the conference program. You will also be able to tailor the program to your preference.

The event is organised by the Lowitja Institute, Australia’s national institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research. The Chairperson, Ms Pat Anderson AO, said the conference would place where respectful, provocative conversations can take place about what concerns First Nations peoples today, and what our vision and ambitions are for future generations.

“We would like these conversations to explore new ways of thinking, speaking and being in the world, serve who we are, promote new ideas, and take a planetary approach. We want to facilitate opportunities for deep thought, for learning from each other, and for planning future action”, said Ms Anderson.

Larrakia Nation Elders representing the Traditional Custodians of the land on which the conference will be held — the Darwin Convention Centre — will welcome delegates with a traditional Welcome to Country on the evening of 17 June, before a conference program underpinned by a strong scientific and cultural framework.

In this United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages, the conference theme Thinking, Speaking, Being: First Nations solutions for global changehighlights the importance of language in enabling empowerment, cultural strength, wellbeing, and identity. 

The theme also reminds delegates and presenters to consider the global implications of their work, to highlight the role of First Nations people in leading change, and to showcase Indigenous solutions. It frames First Nations people as the guardians and stewards of the solutions for many of the complex issues and mega trends that affect them.

The program will include keynote addresses from Mr Peter Yu (Chair of the Indigenous Reference Group to the Northern Ministerial Forum), renown author Mr Bruce Pascoe (winner of the Australia Council 2018 Lifetime Achievement in Literature Award), Professor Tahu Kukutai (Professor of Demography, University of Waikato), Dr Julia Kim (Program Director of the Gross National Happiness Centre of Bhutan), Mr Bruce Blankenfeld (Master Navigator with the Polynesian Voyaging Society), and Dr Abhay Bang (past Chairman of the Expert Committee on Tribal Health, Government of India). 

8:35am on Day 2, Wednesday 19 June, Donella Mills (Chair of NACCHO) and John Paterson (CEO, AMSANT) will address the conference plenary session.

A strong art, performance and social program will feature Indigenous artists Electric Field, Richard Fejo, Warren Corrowa, Rochelle Pitt and the Merindas, as well as MCs Ben Graetz, Kevin Kropinyeri and dance groups One Mob Different Country, and Upai Purri. 

Six awards will be presented recognising excellence in Indigenous health and wellbeing research. More information:  https://www.conference2019.lowitja.org.au.

Cultural determinants of health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

The Lowitja Institute has been commissioned by the Department of Health to identify priorities and future directions that recognise and maximise the cultural determinants of health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

In order to gather Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives on cultural determinants of health and applications to theImplementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023, Professor Kerry Arabena will be conducting three workshops at the conference.

The workshops will be held on each of the three conference days:

  • Day 1, Tuesday, Meeting Room 4, 4:00–5:00pm
  • Day 2, Wednesday, Meeting Room 4, 2:30–4:30pm
  • Day 3, Thursday, Meeting Room 4, 2.:30–4:30pm

We invite all Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander researchers, community members and program specialists to offer contribute views of change agents and social influencers across the youth, climate change, social media, communications and other sectors who are agitating for recognition of the unique cultural contribution of Indigenous people to their own health and wellbeing.

Spaces are limited, so please select a session and register HERE as soon as you can.

Any questions should be directed to Alex Zurawski at the Lowitja Institute on 03 8341 5507 or alex.zurawski@lowitja.org.au.

Download the NACCHO 2019 Calendar Health Awareness Days

For many years ACCHO organisations have said they wished they had a list of the many Indigenous “ Days “ and Aboriginal health or awareness days/weeks/events.

With thanks to our friends at ZockMelon here they both are!

It even has a handy list of the hashtags for the event.

Download the 53 Page 2019 Health days and events calendar HERE

naccho zockmelon 2019 health days and events calendar

We hope that this document helps you with your planning for the year ahead.

Every Tuesday we will update these listings with new events and What’s on for the week ahead

To submit your events or update your info

Contact: Colin Cowell www.nacchocommunique.com

NACCHO Social Media Editor Tel 0401 331 251

Email : nacchonews@naccho.org.au

20 – 21 June First Nations led content and free tickets at Progress 2019

Progress 2019 is a two day conference to bring together 1,500 change makers from

across First Nations, racial justice, environment, social services, refugees, health, aid and union movements in Australia. Over the two days we’ll work to breakdown silos, build partnerships and campaigns to create stronger movements and set the tone for the new term of government.

Progress will take place at Melbourne Town Hall on Thursday 20th and Friday 21st June and we’re offering free tickets to all First Nationsparticipants –registerhere and use the code: full scholarship-progress2019.

At Progress 2019 we’re working to make sure issues of First Nations justice and self-determination are central to the conference agenda. On Thursday there will be a First Nations stream, which is being coordinated by Larissa (details on sessions below). It’ll be a chance to connect with folks from across the country, hear from people working with communities and organising at scale and talk about what First Nations people need from the rest of the movement.

We have free tickets available for First Nations people to attend Progress 2019 and we’d love if you could pass this email through your contacts and to First Nations people you work with. And if you have any suggestions for people to invite please let us know!

Some sessions that are being led by Larissa Baldwin that might be of interest to you:

· Progress 2019 opening plenary – Rod Little (National Congress), Larissa Baldwin (Getup!), Bruce Pascoe (Author), Lara Watson (ACTU), Ruby Wharton (WAR) and other First Nations community advocates will open Progress 2019 with a discussion about truth telling, the role of First Nations people in organising First Nations communities, how we’re agitating against the status quo, and what comes next.

· A breakout conversation on land justice, co-developed with Karrina Nolan from Original Power. Karrina and Larissa will be joined by Gadrian Hoosan (Borroloola community leader) and Dwayne Coulthard (SA advocate organising his community against underground coal seam gasification) for an open discussion to celebrate our achievements, and examine the challenges and opportunities ahead.

· Two First Nations caucus spaces – the first will be a breakout session after the opening plenary, offering the chance for participants to meet and greet, and space to talk about our issues. The second will be an informal caucus over lunch.

First Nations speakers on other sessions in the agenda include:

· Nayuka Gorrie,

· Tarneen Tarneen Onus-Williams

· Roxy Moore

· Ari Gorring

· Veronica Turner

· Judy Kay

· Phil Winzer

· Zane Sikulu

· Jeff Amatto

· Emily Wurramara (performing)

· Larissa Behrendt (tentative)

You can check out our full program here.

2019 Dr Tracey Westerman’s Workshops 

More info and dates

5 July NAIDOC week Symposium

Symposium: Our Voice, Our Truth
Kick off NAIDOC week in Canberra with a Symposium event with keynote speakers and expert panel on the topic of good governance through strong leadership. A daylong event, fully catered with morning and afternoon tea, lunch and post-event drinks and canapes with entertainment to conclude.
This is an exclusive ticketed event in a stunning lakeside venue with limited seats available.
6 July National NAIDOC Awards Canberra

10 July Minister Ken Wyatt at the National Press Club 

During NAIDOC week and in his first major Address as Indigenous Affairs Minister, Ken Wyatt will lay out the pathway towards possible constitutional recognition for Australia’s first peoples and the importance of its view on the voice to parliament.

Ken Wyatt AM will outline how he and the Government want to do things differently – how partnerships, pride, respect and responsibility underpin his vision for a better future for Indigenous Australians and a stronger nation, even more confident in its cultural heritage and history.

Our first Aboriginal Minister for Indigenous Australians will detail the critical role of education, culture, community safety, suicide prevention, health, hope, employment and business development.

He will share the importance of co-designing and planning with Indigenous Australians at all levels, from the grassroots to peak representative bodies – and how inclusion and understanding is the only pathway towards Constitutional recognition.

As he has said, his dream is to ensure the greatness of our many Indigenous nations is reflected in the greatness of our Australian nation, now and forever.


Ken Wyatt was elected in 2010 as the Federal Member for Hasluck, located east of Perth, making history as the first Aboriginal Member of the House of Representatives.

The traditional garment worn by Ken on special occasions is a booka, a traditional kangaroo skin cloak presented to him by Perth’s Noongar elders and decorated with cockatoo feathers that signify his status in Noongar culture as a leader.

Since his election, Ken has worked tirelessly to be a strong advocate for his electorate to help build a stronger local community.

In 2015 Ken became the first Aboriginal member of the Federal Executive after being sworn in as Assistant Minister for Health, responsible for Aged Care, as well as for Dementia, the Organ and Tissue Authority and Australian Hearing.

In January 2017, Ken made history as the first Aboriginal Minister to serve in a Federal Government, after being appointed as Minister for Aged Care and Minister for Indigenous Health.

In August 2018, he was made Minister for Senior Australians & Aged Care and Minister for Indigenous Health.

In May 2019, he again made history when he became the first Aboriginal person to be made Minister for Indigenous Australians.

Before entering politics Ken worked in community and senior government roles in the fields of health and education including as Director of Aboriginal Health in both New South Wales and Western Australia.

In addition to Ken’s extensive public service career, he has made an enormous contribution to the wider community which was recognised in 1996 when he was awarded the Order of Australia for services to health, education and Indigenous affairs.

In 2000, Ken received a Centenary of Federation Medal for his contribution to improving the quality of life of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and mainstream Australian society.

BOOK HERE 

7 -14 July 2019 National NAIDOC 

VOICE. TREATY. TRUTH.

We invite you to walk with us in a movement of the Australian people for a better future.

The Indigenous voice of this country is over 65,000 plus years old.

They are the first words spoken on this continent. Languages that passed down lore, culture and knowledge for over millennia. They are precious to our nation.

It’s that Indigenous voice that include know-how, practices, skills and innovations – found in a wide variety of contexts, such as agricultural, scientific, technical, ecological and medicinal fields, as well as biodiversity-related knowledge.  They are words connecting us to country, an understanding of country and of a people who are the oldest continuing culture on the planet.

And with 2019 being celebrated as the United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages, it’s time for our knowledge to be heard through our voice.

For generations, we have sought recognition of our unique place in Australian history and society today. We need to be the architects of our lives and futures.

For generations, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have looked for significant and lasting change.

Voice. Treaty. Truth. were three key elements to the reforms set out in the Uluru Statement from the Heart. These reforms represent the unified position of First Nations Australians.

However, the Uluru Statement built on generations of consultation and discussions among Indigenous people on a range of issues and grievances. Consultations about the further reforms necessary to secure and underpin our rights and to ensure they can be exercised and enjoyed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

It specifically sequenced a set of reforms: first, a First Nations Voice to Parliament enshrined in the Constitution and second, a Makarrata Commission to supervise treaty processes and truth-telling.

(Makarrata is a word from the language of the Yolngu people in Arnhem Land. The Yolngu concept of Makarrata captures the idea of two parties coming together after a struggle, healing the divisions of the past. It is about acknowledging that something has been done wrong, and it seeks to make things right.)

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people want their voice to be heard. First Nations were excluded from the Constitutional convention debates of the 1800’s when the Australian Constitution came into force.  Indigenous people were excluded from the bargaining table.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have always wanted an enhanced role in decision-making in Australia’s democracy.

In the European settlement of Australia, there were no treaties, no formal settlements, no compacts. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people therefore did not cede sovereignty to our land. It was taken away from us. That will remain a continuing source of dispute.

Our sovereignty has never been ceded – not in 1788, not in 1967, not with the Native Title Act, not with the Uluru Statement from the Heart. It coexists with the sovereignty of the Crown and should never be extinguished.

Australia is one of the few liberal democracies around the world which still does not have a treaty or treaties or some other kind of formal acknowledgement or arrangement with its Indigenous minorities.

A substantive treaty has always been the primary aspiration of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander movement.

Critically, treaties are inseparable from Truth.

Lasting and effective agreement cannot be achieved unless we have a shared, truthful understanding of the nature of the dispute, of the history, of how we got to where we stand.

The true story of colonisation must be told, must be heard, must be acknowledged.

But hearing this history is necessary before we can come to some true reconciliation, some genuine healing for both sides.

And of course, this is not just the history of our First Peoples – it is the history of all of us, of all of Australia, and we need to own it.

Then we can move forward together.

Let’s work together for a shared future.

Download the National NAIDOC Logo and other social media resources.

2-5 August Garma Festival 

Garma Website

4 August  National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day 2019

We Play, We Learn, We Belong
We play on our land.
We learn from our ancestors.

We belong with our communities.

In 2019, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day is celebrating the early years, and promoting the importance of early years education and care for our little ones.

We recognise the critical role that family, community, country and culture play in their development.

And we will continue to fight for better access to culturally appropriate early childhood education for our children through Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations.

Our 2019 Ambassador is Nanna from the animated children’s series Little J & Big Cuz.

We are delighted to have Nanna representing Children’s Day this year.

Children’s Day has been celebrated on the 4th of August for more than 30 years. It’s a special time for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to celebrate our children, and for all Aussies to learn about our cultures.

Around the 4th of August, schools, kinders and communities run Children’s Day events. On this website you can get ideas for how to run a Children’s Day event, and register your event so we can see Children’s Day growing each year across the nation.

We sell Children’s Day bags with fun toys and activities for kids to play with at your event. We can send you posters to promote Children’s Day and we will have a video of Nanna that you can show at your event.

Aboriginal Childrens Day Website

Are you holding a Children’s Day event this year? Call us on (03) 9419 1921 or email info@snaicc.org.au to order your FREE Children’s Day poster!

13- 14 August Indigenous Health Justice Conference (IHJ)

This year AMSANT is pleased to partner with the group representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander lawyers and law students in the Northern Territory – Winkiku Rrumbangi NT Indigenous
Lawyers Aboriginal Corporation – to host the Indigenous Health Justice Conference (IHJ) in Darwin

This conference will run parallel to the 14th National Indigenous Legal Conference being held in Darwin for the first time. Collaborations between Health and Justice services are gaining momentum nationally and internationally because the broadly accepted evidence shows these can lead to improved outcomes.

AMSANT’s policy focus has raised the importance of dealing with the social determinants of healthand, for some individuals, unresolved legal issues can also be determinants of health.

To discuss this conference further, please contact John Rawnsley via email
directors.wrnt@gmail.com.

 

Website 

29th  – 30th  Aug 2019 NACCHO OCHRE DAY

Venue: Pullman Hotel – 192 Wellington Parade, East Melbourne Vic 3000

Website to be launched soon

2- 5 September 2019 SNAICC Conference

Preliminary program and registration information available to download now!

Less than 3 weeks until our discounted early bird offer closes.

Visit  for more information.

23 -25 September IAHA Conference Darwin

24 September

A night of celebrating excellence and action – the Gala Dinner is the premier national networking event in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander allied health.

The purpose of the IAHA National Indigenous Allied Health Awards is to recognise the contribution of IAHA members to their profession and/or improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The IAHA National Indigenous Allied Health Awards showcase the outstanding achievements in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander allied health and provides identifiable allied health role models to inspire all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to consider and pursue a career in allied health.

The awards this year will be known as “10 for 10” to honour the 10 Year Anniversary of IAHA. We will be announcing 4 new awards in addition to the 6 existing below.

Read about the categories HERE.

24 -26 September 2019 CATSINaM National Professional Development Conference

 

 

The 2019 CATSINaM National Professional Development Conference will be held in Sydney, 24th – 26th September 2019. Make sure you save the dates in your calendar.

Further information to follow soon.

Date: Tuesday the 24th to Thursday the 26th September 2019

Location: Sydney, Australia

Organiser: Chloe Peters

Phone: 02 6262 5761

Email: admin@catsinam.org.au

2- 4 October  AIDA Conference 2019

Print

Location:             Darwin Convention Centre, Darwin NT
Theme:                 Disruptive Innovations in Healthcare
Register:              Register Here
Web:                     www.aida.org.au/conference
Enquiries:           conference@aida.org.au

The AIDA 2019 Conference is a forum to share and build on knowledge that increasingly disrupts existing practice and policy to raise the standards of health care.

People with a passion for health care equity are invited to share their knowledges and expertise about how they have participated in or enabled a ‘disruptive innovation to achieve culturally safe and responsive practice or policy for Indigenous communities.

The 23rd annual AIDA Conference provides a platform for networking, mentoring, member engagement and the opportunity to celebrate the achievements of AIDA’S Indigenous doctor and students.

9-10 October 2019 NATSIHWA 10 Year Anniversary Conference

2019 Marks 10 years since the formation of NATSIHWA and registrations are now open!!!

Come and celebrate NATSIHWA’s 10 year Anniversary National Conference ‘A Decade of Footprints, Driving Recognition’ which is being held in Alice Springs. We aim to offer an insight into the Past, Present and Future of NATSIHWA and the overall importance of strengthening the primary health care sector’s unique workforce of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Health Practitioners throughout Australia.

During the 9-10 October 2019 delegates will be exposed to networking opportunities whilst immersing themselves with a combination of traditional and practical conference style delivery. Our intention is to engage Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Health Practitioners in the history and knowledge exchange of the past, todays evidence based best practice programs/services available and envisioning what the future has to offer for all Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Health Practitioners.

Watch this space for the guest speaker line up, draft agenda and award nominations

16 October Melbourne Uni: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Wellbeing Conference

The University of Melbourne, Department of Rural Health are pleased to advise that abstract
submissions are now being invited that address Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and
wellbeing.

The Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health Conference is an opportunity for sharing information and connecting people that are committed to reforming the practice and research of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander health and celebrates Aboriginal knowledge systems and strength-based approaches to improving the health outcomes of Aboriginal communities.

This is an opportunity to present evidence-based approaches, Aboriginal methods and models of
practice, Aboriginal perspectives and contribution to health or community led solutions, underpinned by cultural theories to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing.
In 2018 the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health Conference attracted over 180 delegates from across the community and state.

We welcome submissions from collaborators whose expertise and interests are embedded in Aboriginal health and wellbeing, and particularly presented or co-presented by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and community members.

If you are interested in presenting, please complete the speaker registration link

closing date for abstract submission is Friday 3 rd May 2019.
As per speaker registration link request please email your professional photo for our program or any conference enquiries to E. aboriginal-health@unimelb.edu.au.

Kind regards
Leah Lindrea-Morrison
Aboriginal Partnerships and Community Engagement Officer
Department of Rural Health, University of Melbourne T. 03 5823 4554 E. leah.lindrea@unimelb.edu.au

November date TBA World Indigenous Housing Conference

Want to be kept updated on the WIHC in November 2019 ?

Inbox us your email address and we will add you to the mailing list or email our Principal Project Manager- Brandon.etto@nationalcongress.com.au

4 November NACCHO Youth Conference -Darwin NT

Darwin Convention Centre

Website to be launched soon

Conference Co-Coordinator Ben Mitchell 02 6246 9309

ben.mitchell@naccho.org.au

5 – 7 November NACCHO Conference and AGM  -Darwin NT

Darwin Convention Centre

Website to be launched soon

Conference Co-Coordinator Ben Mitchell 02 6246 9309

ben.mitchell@naccho.org.au

5-8 November The Lime Network Conference New Zealand 

This years  whakatauki (theme for the conference) was developed by the Scientific Committee, along with Māori elder, Te Marino Lenihan & Tania Huria from .

To read about the conference & theme, check out the  website. 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Research News : Ngarruwan Ngadju: First Peoples Health and Wellbeing Research Centre gives the team a real identity says @kathleenclapham and @DrMLongbottom

” It will give us an identity. Rather than being the team that works in the corner of AHSRI, we are the Ngarruwan Ngadju: First Peoples Health and Wellbeing Research Centre.

Identity has finally been won and Indigenous health Professor Kathleen Clapham couldn’t be happier.

“Ngarruwan is the sea, the salt water over a long distance, it connects our communities down the coast, it connects us with our international partners.

Ngadju is fresh water, Kath [Prof Clapham] is a fresh-water woman. The name represents all of our team, it’s also about the sustenance that water provides us; water is life.

To start to explore the conundrum of the inequalities which exist, let’s look at the root causes of those.

Let’s not try to blame individuals, let’s look honestly at the history of Australia and our region, let’s look at the structures that sustain the inequalities.”

Researcher Dr Marlene Longbottom said the name Ngarruwan Ngadju had special meaning for all team members

NEW HOME: Dr Marlene Longbottom and Professor Kathleen Clapham at the Ngarruwan Ngadju: First Peoples Health and Wellbeing Research Centre launch at the UOW Innovation Campus. Picture: Robert Peet

Press Release : Identity has finally been won and Indigenous health Professor Kathleen Clapham couldn’t be happier.

So too are her fellow University of Wollongong researchers involved in the Ngarruwan Ngadju: First Peoples Health and Wellbeing Research Centre.

On Friday the team of eight finally had a place to call home.

Previously they had been working at the Australian Health Services Research Institute (AH SRI) at the Innovation Campus.

The centre’s new digs are in the same building but importantly the researchers have their own dedicated space.

The team’s research focuses on the health and wellbeing of South Coast Indigenous communities.

They aim to identify what’s working well, and bring evidence to light in the broader community.

Researcher Layne Brown has been evaluating a program run by the Coomaditchie United Aboriginal Corporation at Kemblawarra.

The program works with kids at risk of being suspended or leaving education. It supports cultural teaching and provides academic, living and social skills. It connects young people with their family and their community.

The team also addresses issues of inequality, such as Indigenous life expectancy and suicide rates.

Launch of Ngarruwan Ngadju: First Peoples Health and Research Centre and the launch of Active & Safe: Preventing Unintentional Injury to Aboriginal Children and Young People guidelines.

Working in partnership with Aboriginal communities is the only way to tackle the high rates of injury for Aboriginal children reportActive and Safe‘ finds

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are still dying from unintentional injuries at the same rate as 15 years ago, a new report has highlighted. Yet death rates for non-Aboriginal children have halved in the same period.

The report – Active and Safe – by The George Institute, The Australian Health Services Research Institute, Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network, Kidsafe NSW and the Australasian Injury Prevention Network calls for injury prevention in Aboriginal communities to be made a priority.

The report provides a set of NSW Health funded guidelines developed from research undertaken in 2016.

Australian and NSW data show rates of injury to Aboriginal children to be consistently higher than for non-Aboriginal children, with the mortality rates for Australian children from injury-related causes almost five times higher and hospitalisation rates two times higher than the rate for non-Aboriginal children.

The guidelines are intended to assist a number of stakeholder groups working in Aboriginal child injury prevention including: Aboriginal community controlled organisations, non-government organisations; researchers and government policy makers.

“We need the government to work alongside and be guided by Aboriginal communities to build on community strengths and promote the resilience of Aboriginal children, families and communities in injury prevention,”

said Keziah Bennett-Brook, Manager of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Program at The George Institute.

“The new guidelines have a strong focus on practical implementation and will be a valuable tool for policy makers, researchers and practitioners,” she said.

The guidelines were also developed and designed to complement the Australia edition of the Child Safety Good Practice Guide which provides practitioners, decision-makers, and legislators with an evidence-focused resource on which they can base their work, funding and recommendations.

The Active and Safe guidelines are being released today to coincide with the launch of the Ngarruwan Ngadju: First Peoples Health and Wellbeing Research Centre located within the Australian Health Services Research Institute at the University of Wollongong and led by Professor Kathleen Clapham.

Download the full report ‘Active & Safe: Preventing unintentional injury to Aboriginal children and young people in NSW’(PDF 2.4 MB)

 

 

 

Aboriginal Health Researchers Challenge : Just in time for #LowitjaConf19 “The Blackfulla test” 11 reasons that Indigenous health research grant/publication should be rejected. @drcbond @Lisa_J_Whop @IndigenousX

 ” Our present and persisting ill-health as First Nations peoples is not because of a lack of research, or a lack of white knowing and control over our lives, in fact, it is a product of it.

Transformative health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples will only come about through foregrounding Indigenous sovereignty, both politically and intellectually.  

If you are a non-Indigenous health researcher feeling triggered by this article, please don’t run to the nearest Indigenous person for validation.

 They are already giving you a lot of free labour (whether they are the admin officer, the research assistant or, by some miracle, the lead CI).

This article was written to free them up to do the work their people need them to do, not burden them with more of your feelings.”

Just in time for the Lowijta International Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Conference (18-20 June) Authors Chelsea Bond, Lisa Whop and Ali Drummond bring you this thought provoking Aboriginal research challenge

Originally published by IndigenousX see full press release below or Here

Download the full program

2019 Lowitja Program

Or access digital program

The digital program is available HERE. This version of the program will allow you to search all presentations including posters, their abstracts, and presenter bios.

This will be the up-to-the-minute version of the conference program. You will also be able to tailor the program to your preference.

Press Release

With increasing financial investment and commitment to Indigenous health via the National Health and Medical Research Council and Closing the Gap since 2002 and 2007 respectively, every man and their dog, or rather every white saviour and their intentions are all up in our grants, discovering the solutions to our problems (or the next problem to the problem).

What has resulted is a whole lot of noise published in the name of knowledge production, of which the benefit to Indigenous peoples and our health remains questionable, despite the emergence of Indigenous health researchers during this time.

This is most likely because so much of our intellectual and emotional labour is taken up reviewing and remedying highly problematic research grants and publications about us, that serve little purpose beyond the next academic promotion of the lead chief investigator (who typically isn’t Indigenous).

But never fear, we are here to help.

As Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health researchers, working across varying health research contexts, we’ve pretty much read it all and we have devised a foolproof test to tell you if what you’re reading is worth the paper it’s written on, or the research grant that funded it.

Also, it might come in handy the next time that special someone asks for your ‘cultural advice’ on their research grant or publication.

The extra bonus is, you can then use all that spare time writing your own research grant, of which you will lead. No more being the bridesmaid – this is your time to shine.

Below is the Blackfulla Test; 11 of the most common violations found in Indigenous health research grants or publications.

That paper or proposal you are reading fails if it:

  1. Includes “intentions”. Typically, intentions are referenced as “good” or “well” and something of which is exclusively possessed by non-Indigenous peoples. Non-Indigenous authors will often argue that “intentions” are worth mentioning so as not to alienate the (white) readership, but its inclusion, even in the supposed ‘objective’ research, make clear that this is a “settler move to innocence”rationalising making a career from the problem of Indigenous health, while never actually fixing it. Also, these are the same people who supervise Indigenous PhD students and tell them they can’t use Standpoint Theory (incl. Indigenous, or Indigenous Women’s) because it is biased and not scholarly. This manoeuvre sustains neo-Missionary narratives from which they build research careers and research centres.
  2. Makes no mention of “colonisationbecause that would be “too political” they say.   Please refer above for why this is problematic, and what enables it. The health sciences have always operated as an apparatus of colonial control in the regulation and surveillance of Black bodies and the production of racialized knowledges, both via biological and culturalist explanations. It cannot continue to claim to be an innocent observer when it has and continues to be complicit. Also, if colonisation is referenced as a past event, rather than an ongoing process, it doesn’t count.
  3. Makes no mention of “race or racism…because settlers and their feelings. But look if they can’t get what’s wrong with writing about racialized health inequalities while insisting that race isn’t real as a system of oppression or a category of analysis then they need to stop now and go do a systematic review of systematic reviews.
  4. Refers to “our indigenous” (sic). This is a kind of double whammy, the possessive pronoun is not a mark of inclusion, rather it works in the Distinguished Professor Aileen Moreton-Robinson “white possessive logics” kind of way. The lower case I is an all too frequent, but a deliberate grammatical error. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and Indigenous people are proppa nouns and as such should be capitalised.
  5. Refers to ATSI people *shudder*. For the people at the back, we are First Nations peoples, we are not an acronym.
  6. Prefaces some statistic with “alarming” or “appalling. Much like #1, this is a settler pearl clutching moment in which they can position themselves as the only possible saviour for the native folk. Worse still, it is also used in research grant applications providing the moral imperative for investing in said research, which has no specific Indigenous health application. Yes we didn’t think it possible, but some have taken “Black window dressing” to a whole new level.
  7. Refers to Indigenous peoples primarily in terms of “risk” and “vulnerabilityor worse describes Indigeneity as the risk factor. *Clears throat*. Send them back to #3 and tell them to slap themselves for not believing us when we said they need to deal with race.
  8. Includes the phrase “strength-based” without naming any specific strengths of Indigenous peoples, cultures or communities. Strengths based requires a reimagining of Indigeneity which renders Black excellence blatantly visible. This requires more than inverting proportions, in fact it requires reconfiguring the problematic assumptions of Indigeneity apparent in that seemingly objective research question sissy.
  9. Is concerned with monitoring or illuminating understandings of “poor” individual health behaviours of Blackfullas in such a way that is completely divorced from the social, political, historical, and economic context in which they occur. Describing or rather dismissing that context as ‘complex’ and then suggesting the solution is one of education, awareness raising, health literacy, or more research is gammon.
  10. Acknowledges the advisory role that Indigenous people have played, often as “cultural mentors” and typically at the end of the publication somewhere (some might name them, while others may refer to the committee or “the community” more broadly which operates to include anyone and no one in particular). Indigenous Health Research which insists that Blackfullas can only ever be the (cultural) advisor and never the author, need to be cancelled.
  11. Has no first author Indigenous publications on their reference list. How one can operate in a space in which Indigenous people have made such a profound contribution and not cite the intellectual labour that mob have made has a real kind of Terra Nullius vibe. See #2 and our point about colonisation being an ongoing process, even in health research. Also refer them to Rigney’s articulation of “intellectual nullius”.

Well did you pass the test ?

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