NACCHO Aboriginal Healthy Futures #closethegap #socialdeterminants @pmc_gov_au Debate : Where to from here?

 

” Federal Indigenous affairs bureaucrats have released a draft of their new evaluation framework, eight months after the Commonwealth committed $40 million over four years to evaluate policies in the portfolio and put a highly regarded university professor in the driving seat.

The draft sets out processes to look more objectively at national policies to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and contribute to Closing the Gap, which have been led by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet for the past few years.”This is intended to align with the role of the Productivity Commission in overseeing the development and implementation of a whole of government evaluation strategy of policies and programs that effect Indigenous Australians,”

PM&C sets high standards for Indigenous affairs evaluation see PART 1 Below

 ”  It’s been widely known for fifty years that the health of Aboriginal people lags far behind that of other Australians. Despite that and the expenditure of billions of taxpayers’ dollars, serious gaps persist between Indigenous versus non-Indigenous health and wellbeing.

There is compelling evidence that social factors are potent determinants of the health of populations. In the simplest of terms these are (a) social disadvantage, and (b) the relationship of Indigenous Australians to mainstream society. Associated with these are basic issues already mentioned; these include education, housing standards, employment and socio-economic status. These must be addressed if health disadvantages are to be overcome. Until this happens the poor health outcomes of Indigenous Australians will persist.

It’s easy to identify medical problems, perhaps because they can be classified and measured. It is tempting then to decide that these problems are ‘medical’ and, therefore, should respond to ‘medical’ interventions or approaches in isolation. This is dangerously misleading.

It’s time for clinicians to realise and publicly acknowledge that most of the important issues which determine the health status of Indigenous people have ‘non-medical’ roots and need vigorous ‘non-medical’ approaches in order to be corrected.

 MICHAEL GRACEY. Aboriginal health: An embarrassing decades-long saga See Part 2 Below

Part 1

Around the same time as the new evaluation funding was announced, Malcolm Turnbull sought out indigenous health expert Ian Anderson to take over as deputy secretary leading the PM&C indigenous affairs group, which is also the only group within the central department overseen by an associate secretary, Andrew Tongue.

FROM The Mandarin

Anderson’s first major task was a review of the Closing the Gap target framework, which focuses attention on particular indicators of disadvantage. A few months into the job he set out some of his thoughts in a public speech at a special event marking 50 years since the referendum that effectively created this area of federal policy.

The framework notes good evaluation is “planned from the start, and provides feedback along the way” (referencing the audit office’s 2014 better practice guide to public sector governance).

“Good evaluation is systematic, defensible, credible and unbiased. It is respectful of diverse voices and world-views.

“Evaluation is distinct from but related to monitoring and performance reviews. Evaluation may use data gathered in monitoring as one source of evidence, while information obtained through monitoring and performance reviews may help inform evaluation priorities.”

The credibility of future evaluations depends on demonstrating their independence. To this end, the framework says a new external advisory committee, membership so far unknown, will “support transparency and ensure the conduct and prioritisation of evaluations is independent and impartial” by overseeing how the new framework is applied, checking the annual evaluation plan and with “ongoing advice, quality assurance and review”.

A “commitment to transparency” is also included. The committee will publish “all high priority evaluations” and reviews of them. Others will be randomly reviewed and summarised in an annual report.

“At the three year mark an independent meta-review of IAG evaluations will be undertaken to assess the extent to which the Framework has achieved its aims for greater capability, integration and use of robust evaluation evidence against the standards described under each of the best practice principles.”

All the actual evaluation reports will be published as well, at least in summary form, including “where ethical confidentiality concerns or commercial in confidence requirements” apply. Indigenous communities that have participated in evaluations will get to see the results too and additional “knowledge translation” efforts are proposed:

“Evaluation findings will be of interest to communities and service providers implementing programs as well as government decision-makers. Evaluation activities under the Framework will be designed to support service providers in gaining feedback about innovative approaches to program implementation and practical strategies for achieving positive outcomes across a range of community settings.”

The draft framework says it aims to:

  • generate high quality evidence that is used to inform decision making,
  • strengthen Indigenous leadership in evaluation,
  • build capability by fostering a collaborative culture of evaluative thinking and continuous learning across the IAG and more broadly across communities and organisations, and
  • place collaboration and ethical ways of doing high quality evaluation at the forefront of evaluation practice in order to inform decision making.

Higher quality evaluation that is “ethical, inclusive and focused on improving outcomes” is more likely to have impact, the draft points out. “It aims to pursue consistent standards of evaluation of Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS) programs but not impose a ‘one-size-fits-all’ model of evaluation.”

The guide calls for best-practice evaluation to be “integrated into the cycles of policy and community decision-making” in a way that is “collaborative, timely and culturally inclusive.”

“Our approach to evaluation, as outlined in this Framework, reflects a strong commitment to working with Indigenous Australians.

“Our collaborative efforts centre on recognising the strengths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, communities and cultures.

“Fostering leadership and bringing the diverse perspectives of Indigenous Australians into evaluation processes helps ensure the relevance, credibility and usefulness of evaluation findings. In evaluation, this means we value the involvement of Indigenous Australian evaluators in conducting all forms of evaluation, particularly using participatory methods that grow our mutual understanding.”

Indigenous Advancement Strategy evaluations will look at how well programs meet three criteria:

Do they build on strengths to make a positive contribution to the lives of current and future generations of Indigenous Australians?

Are they designed and delivered in collaboration with Indigenous Australians, ensuring diverse voices are heard and respected?

Do they demonstrate cultural respect towards Indigenous Australians?

Four elements of good evaluation

The draft framework lists four elements of good evaluations — they are robust, relevant, credible and appropriate, which is to say they are “fit for purpose” and done in a timely fashion — and explains in detail how each of these ideals is to be achieved in Indigenous affairs through higher standards.

“Evaluation needs to be integrated into the feedback cycles of policy, program design and evidence-informed decision-making,” explains a chapter on relevance. “Evaluation feedback cycles can provide insights to service providers and communities to enhance the evidence available to support positive change. This can occur at many points in the cycle.”

While not being too prescriptive, the framework aims to set a high standard for the evidence that is used to judge the impact of programs.

“A range of evaluation methodologies can be used to undertake impact evaluation. Evaluations under the Framework will range in scope, scale, and in the kinds of questions they ask. Measuring long-term impact is challenging but important. We need to identify markers of progress that are linked by evidence to the desired outcomes.

“The transferability of evaluation findings are critical to ensure relevant and useful knowledge is generated under the Framework. High quality impact evaluations use appropriate methods and draw upon a range of data sources both qualitative and quantitative.

“Evaluation design should utilise methodologies that produce rigorous evidence and make full use of participatory methods. Use of participatory approaches to evaluation is one example of demonstrating the core values of the Framework in practice.”

Perhaps the moves to take a more academic approach at the federal level will allow for more open discussion of what works, in a portfolio where this year the minister has seen fit to publicly attack researchers in the field, and blast the independent audit office for doing its job instead of helping him attack the opposition.

Part 2 :  Aboriginal health: An embarrassing decades-long saga

It’s been widely known for fifty years that the health of Aboriginal people lags far behind that of other Australians. Despite that and the expenditure of billions of taxpayers’ dollars, serious gaps persist between Indigenous versus non-Indigenous health and wellbeing.

Recognition of an Aboriginal Health Problem

When these inequities were recognised in the 1960s the very high rates of Aboriginal childhood malnutrition and infections and high death rates of infants and young children brought home the unpalatable fact that Australia had a so-called ‘Third World’ health problem. This is a feature of poverty-stricken nations. This was clearly unacceptable in our otherwise affluent and healthy country. There was a public outcry which stirred the federal government into attempts to remedy this embarrassing state of affairs.

In 1979 the Commonwealth Parliamentary Committee on Aboriginal Affairs found that . . .

‘the appalling state of Aboriginal health’ . . . ‘can be largely attributed to the unsatisfactory environmental conditions in which Aboriginals live, to their low socio-economic status in the Australian community, and to the failure of health authorities to give sufficient attention to the special needs of Aboriginals and to take proper account of their social and cultural beliefs and practices’ . . .

The Committee criticised governments for their lack of recognition of these factors and commented on the need for Aboriginal people to be much more closely involved in all stages of planning and delivering their own health care. Notwithstanding some improvements in Indigenous health which occurred over the almost forty years that followed, many of that Committee’s findings and criticisms are still valid.

Efforts to Improve Indigenous Health

In 1981 a $50 million Aboriginal Health Improvement Program was launched with the aim of upgrading environmental health standards, such as better housing and community and family hygiene conditions. Government funds were allocated and State and Territory health departments implemented strategies and programs and deployed clinical and allied staff in order to achieve better Indigenous health.

An important objective was to provide more accessible services for Indigenous people. Some positive health gains followed; for example, better pregnancy outcomes, fewer maternal deaths, fewer infant and young child infections, suppression of vaccine-preventable illnesses through immunisation, and lower infant death rates.

This should have helped Indigenous youngsters to negotiate the rough ride through early life that would otherwise have been their lot. However, health and disease statistics for Indigenous Australians generally stayed well behind those of other citizens in the years that followed.

Strategies to ‘Close the Gap’

The persisting poor standards of Indigenous health prompted the Federal Government in 2008 to ‘Close the Gap’ for Indigenous Australians in a range of health outcomes and other facets of life and wellbeing so that they and other Australians would have ‘equal life chances’. The then Prime Minister Rudd anticipated within a decade halving the widening gap in literacy, numeracy and employment opportunities for Indigenous people. The Statement of Intent also anticipated better opportunities for Indigenous children so that within a decade . . . “the appalling gap in infant mortality rates between Indigenous and non-Indigenous children would be halved and, within a generation, the equally appalling 17-year life gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous when it comes to overall life expectancy” . . .  would be gone.

These aspirations seemed commendable and were well received by the public. However, their feasibility was questioned soon after they were announced. The target of closing the gap in life expectancy was said to be “probably unattainable” and the capacity to extinguish the risk of chronic diseases (like heart disease, diabetes and kidney disease) and related deaths was considered publicly by a renowned medical expert to be “implausible” in the 22-year timetable set out by the government. This is pertinent because those chronic diseases are the main contributor to the discrepancy in Indigenous versus non-Indigenous deaths. Those reservations were well founded.

Obstructions to Closing the Gap

Indigenous Australians now have very high rates of chronic diseases, as already mentioned. These are aggravated by smoking- and drug-related disorders. These conditions are long-term and have permanent complications, such as visual loss or blindness, or severe limitations on mobility. These cannot be reversed and, therefore, restrict prospects for longevity. In many Aboriginal communities a third or half of adults 35 years or over have one or more of these problems. Nationally, these diseases and accidental or intentional injuries, including suicide and homicide, are several times more prevalent in Indigenous Australians than in the total Australian population.

This well-documented and widespread heavy burden of illnesses, disabilities and related excess premature deaths among Indigenous Australians makes it virtually impossible to remove, within a generation, the inequalities between this pattern and the better outcomes which prevail in the rest of the population. This is made more difficult because some of these problems are trans-generational and can have their origins during intra-uterine development.

There are practical impediments in bringing better health to the Indigenous population. Inadequate access and maldistribution of facilities, personnel and services can be serious drawbacks, particularly in rural and remote areas. Of course, improving access to services does not necessarily lead to their appropriate utilisation.

And compliance with treatments and follow-up supervision and medications can be problematic. Similarly, altering health knowledge and modifying risky personal lifestyles are difficult among many people whether they are Indigenous or not. There have also been serious problems with management and governance of clinical services for Indigenous people whether they are Indigenous-specific or mainstream services.

This has tended to weaken their impact on health service delivery and waste limited financial and other resources. Collectively, all of these factors have diluted the much-needed positive outcomes of efforts to close the gaps in Aboriginal health standards and statistics.

Indigenous Health: the current situation

Some indicators of the current situation are revealing: death rates of Indigenous children under five years are more than double the national rates; their low birth weight rate is about double the overall national rate; hospitalisation rates are almost three times the national rates; hospital admission rates for potentially preventable conditions are almost four times higher; deaths from complications of diabetes at 35 to 55 years are approximately twenty times higher; and dementia rates are about five time higher than in non-Indigenous Australians and the  condition starts earlier in life. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare estimated that among Indigenous Australians born from 2010 to 2012 life expectancy would be about nine to ten years shorter than for other Australians. These indicators of health status, illness patterns and life expectancy are disgraceful and require urgent attention.

Where to from here?

 The targets set to be met by the Close the Gap Strategy are reported publicly each year. Regrettably, the goals are falling short in many of the government’s nominated areas. These include several of the health-related areas which have been mentioned.
Tellingly, the targets are not being met in many other facets of Indigenous life which have significant impacts on physical, emotional and mental health and wellbeing.

These include, for example, early childhood schooling rates, closing the gaps in literacy and numeracy for older Indigenous schoolchildren, achieving equity in employment rates and the economic benefits which should follow, having Indigenous people housed in adequate and hygienic living conditions, and being more engaged with the wider Australian community in various day-to-day activities. These failures have been publicly acknowledged by successive Prime Ministers including Abbott and Turnbull.
In the health arena itself there is a need for closer cooperation and collaboration between the three main sectors which provide curative and health promotion activities for Indigenous people. These sectors are: (a) mainstream services provided by governments; (b) Indigenous-specific services from Aboriginal or Indigenous Health or Medical Services; and (c) privately funded clinical and allied services. There is often overlapping of these sectors and, sometimes, issues of territoriality which detract from their effectiveness and, potentially, add to the financial costs involved.
As mentioned by that Parliamentary Committee as far back as 1979, there is a pressing need for more Indigenous involvement and responsibility for decision-making and delivery of their own health services. Although this is improving slowly, there is a long way to go before those people who need the services have the power to help control their own future health. This is particularly so in remote areas where local communities and their committees are often sidelined from this important function.

Social Dimensions which affect Health

There is compelling evidence that social factors are potent determinants of the health of populations.

In the simplest of terms these are (a) social disadvantage, and (b) the relationship of Indigenous Australians to mainstream society. Associated with these are basic issues already mentioned; these include education, housing standards, employment and socio-economic status.

These must be addressed if health disadvantages are to be overcome. Until this happens the poor health outcomes of Indigenous Australians will persist.

It’s easy to identify medical problems, perhaps because they can be classified and measured. It is tempting then to decide that these problems are ‘medical’ and, therefore, should respond to ‘medical’ interventions or approaches in isolation. This is dangerously misleading. It’s time for clinicians to realise and publicly acknowledge that most of the important issues which determine the health status of Indigenous people have ‘non-medical’ roots and need vigorous ‘non-medical’ approaches in order to be corrected. This means, of course, that non-medical sectors of governments must accept more responsibility and become more actively involved in issues which ultimately determine the health of populations which they are expected to serve. This will require a major shift in thinking within Federal and State governments and bureaucracies and wider acceptance among the Australian community.

The challenges are daunting but the need is urgent. Surely it is within our collective capabilities to turn around this sad and long-standing saga into a success story.

Michael Gracey AO is a paediatrician who has worked with Indigenous children, their families and communities for more than forty years. He was Australia’s first Professor of Aboriginal Health and for many years was Principal Medical Adviser on Aboriginal Health to the Western Australian Department of Health. He is a former President of the International Paediatric Association.

NACCHO Aboriginal #MentalHealthDay 2/2 @KenWyattMP Minister Scullion : Download Building a Better Understanding of Aboriginal Social and Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health

“Social and emotional wellbeing is the foundation for physical and mental health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and is essential for them to  lead successful and fulfilling lives.

“This framework will help shape the way we consider and deal with social and emotional wellbeing and mental health issues facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.”

Professor Pat Dudgeon

The framework was developed under the auspices of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Advisory Group, co-chaired by Professor Pat Dudgeon and Professor Tom Calma AO.

“ The Framework recognises the importance of connection to land, culture, spirituality and ancestry and how these affect individuals and their mental health. This is about working with, and respecting, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities.”

Minister Wyatt noted that the framework provides a dedicated focus on improving health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders by providing holistic care.

See also our previous NACCHO post today

NACCHO Aboriginal #MentalHealthDay 1/2  : Australia’s new digital #mentalhealth gateway now live

Today is World Mental Health Day – a day to raise awareness and educate people and communities about mental health issues.

This is especially important for First Australians who experience higher levels of mental health issues than other Australians.

Today saw the public release of the National Strategic Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ Mental Health and Social and Emotional Wellbeing 2017-2023.

Download the Framework HERE

MHSEWB framework 17-23

This framework sets out a comprehensive and culturally appropriate guide for use by Indigenous specific and mainstream health services.

It will also inform the development of social and emotional wellbeing and mental health programs and activities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion, noted that this will be an invaluable resource for policy makers, Primary Health Networks, service providers, and health professionals.

“The Australian Government is committed to improving the social and emotional wellbeing and mental health outcomes for First Australians” Minister Scullion said.

“The framework has been developed to help direct social and emotional wellbeing and mental health programs and reforms and has been endorsed by the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council.

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Pharmacy NEWS Download : With recent reforms ACCHO Pharmacists are playing a key role in closing the gap

‘There are a lot of different activities happening from ACCHO to ACCHO. The approach needs to be flexible and responsive to communities’ needs, as well as integrated into the holistic care models ACCHOs use, but the detail on what has the biggest health impact is unknown.

Current ACCHO pharmacist have shown an opportunity to bring players together and make medicines a team sport – this includes the pharmacist working the allied health, GPs, nurses, Aboriginal Health Workers (AWH) and a range of local community pharmacies, hospitals, PHNs and more to get the best results for their clients and community as a whole.’

Director of Medicines Policy and Program for the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) Mike Stephens Pictured centre below

Pharmacists working in Aboriginal health Services (AHS), with the support of recent government reforms, are playing a key role in closing the gap and helping Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander patients navigate Australia’s complex health system.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Referendum, when the overwhelming majority of Australians voted to include Indigenous Australians in the Census and allow the Commonwealth to make laws for them.

Next year marks the tenth anniversary of the Closing the Gap program, established by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) in 2008 with the aim of eliminating the gap in health, education and employment disadvantages between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

In acknowledging of these important milestones, this year’s annual Closing the gap Prime Minister’s Report said : ‘While we celebrate the successes we cannot shy away from the stark reality that we are not seeing sufficient national progress on the Closing the Gap targets/ While many successes are being achieved locally, as a nation, we are only on track to meet one of the seven Closing the Gap targets this year.’

Download the 7 Page report HERE

Closing the Gap Pharmacists and Aboriginal Health

The health-related targets of halving the gap in child mortality and closing the gap in life expectancy are not on track.

Some of the targets will expire in 2018, so governments have’ agreed to work together with Indigenous leaders and communities, establishing opportunities for collaboration and partnerships.”

According to PSA CEO Dr Lance Emerson, ‘Aboriginal Australians are four times more likely to be hospitalised for chronic conditions compared with non-Indigenous Australians- and the life expectancy of Aboriginal people in this country is 10 years lower than non-Aboriginal people- and in fact below that of many developing countries such as Bangladesh’.

‘This reality is disgraceful in a rich country such as Australia, ‘Dr Emerson said. ‘Health professionals need to be doing all they can to work toward deeper understanding and meeting the needs of Aboriginal people, to support reconciliation and self-determination- and Aboriginal peoples ‘community control of services provided for Aboriginal people’.

The Government has implemented several programs to provide timely and affordable access to PBS medicines and Quality Use of Medicines (QUM) (listed opposite). However, the review of Pharmacy Remuneration and Regulation Interim Report noted in June that ’although they are related, these programs operate independently with differing eligibility criteria applied for each. This raises difficulties for both consumers in terms of access and for pharmacists and other health professionals with respect to administration.

‘In considering how pharmacy options may contribute to improved health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the Panel has questioned whether currently arrangements are sufficient and how might they be improved.

Integrating pharmacists

The Federal Government has committed to implementing reforms and investigating new funding models to help pharmacists continue to improve health outcomes of Indigenous patients.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #PSA17SYD Minister Hunt announces Aboriginal Health Services will be able to employ a pharmacist if a link with a community pharmacy is not available

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #PSA17Syd Part 2 of 2 Health Minister asks pharmacists to help Close the Gap

In his opening speech at PSA17 in Sydney in July, Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt announced a trial, funded through the Pharmacy Trial Program (PTP), to support AHSs to integrate pharmacists into their services.

The trial has strong stakeholder support amid growing evidence that pharmacists employed by Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) can help increase patients’ life expectancy and health outcomes.

As a country, we will not have fully succeeded unless and until Indigenous health outcomes are the same as non-Indigenous health outcomes, ‘Mr Hunt said. ‘That’s our very simple shared goal.

‘We will work immediately to have Indigenous specific medication reviews available and we will fund and support that as part of tranche 1 to make sure they are culturally specific.

‘We want in these Aboriginal Health Services to ensure there’s a pharmacy presence. The first line there is to see if we can have a direct link and an offer to community pharmacists to participate, but where that’s not possible, the breakthrough agreement… is that the Aboriginal Health Services will be able to directly employ a pharmacist.’

This announcement follows the Review’s Interim Report recommendation to trial the ability for AHS’s to employ pharmacists and operate a pharmacy because ‘the current inability of an AHS to operate a community pharmacy poses a significant risk to patient health in some rural and remote areas.

The Panel presented the option that: ‘All levels of government should ensure that any existing rules that prevent an AHS from owning and operating a community pharmacy located at the AHS are removed.’ The Panel suggested that as a transition step, these changes should first be trialled in the Northern Territory.

PSA National President Dr Shane Jackson said having a culturally responsive pharmacist integrated within an AHS builds better relationships between patients and staff, leading to improved results in chronic disease management and QUM.

‘Integrating a non-dispensing pharmacist in an AHS has the potential to improve medication adherence, reduce chronic disease, reduce medication misadventure and decrease preventable medication related hospital admissions to deliver significant savings to the health system’, Dr Jackson said.

Director of Medicines Policy and Program for the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) Mike Stephens welcomes the announcement of the trial.

‘We know from recent studies, including systematic reviews, that pharmacists delivering services within a practice setting can have a significant impact on health outcomes,’ Mr Stephens said. ‘While there is some level of role translatability between ACCHO and non-ACCHO sectors, we really dont’ know where the “sweet spots” are in terms of health outcomes, community demand and value for money when embedding pharmacists in ACCHOs.

‘There are a lot of different activities happening from ACCHO to ACCHO. The approach needs to be flexible and responsive to communities’ needs, as well as integrated into the holistic care models ACCHOs use, but the detail on what has the biggest health impact is unknown.

‘Current ACCHO pharmacist have shown an opportunity to bring players together and make medicines a team sport – this includes the pharmacist working the allied health, GPs, nurses, Aboriginal Health Workers (AWH) and a range of local community pharmacies, hospitals, PHNs and more to get the best results for their clients and community as a whole.’

Mr Stephens said some ACCHOs are also hiring intern pharmacist and pharmacy technicians, allowing pharmacists to focus more on clinical, education and practice-based activities that work well in a general practice setting.

These pioneers are also promoting the newer roles of pharmacists. I see a lot of pharmacists focusing on systems based activities like clinical governance, DUEs and audits, as well as working across teams in and outside of the organisation, such as improving transitional care with local hospitals.’

Mr Stephens said there had been ‘a lot of interest’ in the trial from NACCHO’s Members Services.

‘Research has shown that access and acceptability of pharmacy services could be improved.

Feedback from ACCHOs indicates the benefits of embedding pharmacists can be diverse, but may include improvements in clinical governance and prescribing practices, internal and external workflow, MMR uptake and relationships with community pharmacies’.

Sharing ideas

In recognition of the growing number of pharmacists working in ACCHOs, PSA and NACCHO launched the ACCHO Special Interest Group (SIG) at PSA17.

Dr Jackson said pharmacists working in ACCHOs had specific needs and skills and developing a SIG to support them will help drive the growth of this career path.

‘In many cases, pharmacists working in these positions are providing innovative and diverse services that have the potential to be informative and relevant to the evolution of pharmacy services and inter-professional care,’ Dr Jackson said.

The ACCHO SIG will allow PSA and NACCHO to foster collaboration, inform relevant policy and consult with ACCHO pharmacists about their needs. The ACCHO SIG will also support pharmacist participating in the Aboriginal health organisations trial.

Mr Stephens, who convened the ACCHO SIG, said the key aim was to share resources and ideas and give each other support in a relatively niche area.

‘I have learnt a lot from each of the participants and their input has definitely shaped my clinical practice and policy output. I hope the SIG can evolve organically as needs and issues develop.’

Mr Stephens said optimising medicines use for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people has been an ongoing challenge.

‘Despite some great programs, policy and resources, Aboriginal PBS utilisation is still only about two thirds of non-Indigenous Australians’use. Most pharmacists would have heard of Closing the Gap prescriptions but how is that delivering outcomes ? How could it be improved ? We have responded to this question and more in a recent submission to the Review of Indigenous Pharmacy Programs. There is a real sense of goodwill from many industry players in this area at the moment.’

Mr Stephens said that, in addition to the SIG, a more informal network has been set up for any pharmacist or other health professional with an interest or expertise in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medicine issues. NACCHO shares a monthly medicines bulletin with the network, including practical resources and links.

Mr Stephens describes his previous workplace, Danila Dilba Aboriginal Health Service in Darwin, as a dynamic multidisciplinary environment.

‘It opened my eyes to the details of how a large holistic health service works, and how general practice and other primary care services fit into that. I did everything from HMRs to pharmacy accounts, board briefings to Drug Use Evaluations (DUE) and clinical governance, GP education and much more. The team vibe was great and I had a lot of fun with colleagues from different disciplines and backgrounds.

‘The challenge was the complexity and nuances of community relationships and systems, and learning where your skills will work best. Engagement is critical and I saw some programs struggle because clients and employees were not driving the change.’ Mr Stephens is a strong believer in lifelong learning and found PSA’s Guide to providing pharmacy services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people invaluable.

‘It has a lot of detail but is applicable for pretty much all pharmacists across Australia, and it has some great case studies. It was developed by a range of organisations and people with lots of experience.

‘There’s never been time to upskill and get involved, with PSA’s support modules for Aboriginal Health Services Pharmacists, the ACCHO SIG and the network. NACCHO can also provide support for pharmacists looking to get involved.’

PSA provides CPD, training, practice support tools and recommended external resources to support AHS pharmacists. This includes an essential guide as well as guidance on networking and advancing within this career pathway.

Building rapport

Vanessa Bickerton MPS, a hospital pharmacist from Perth, previously worked at Wirraka Maya Health Service in South Hedland in the Pilbara region, 1600 kilometres north of Perth. She said it was a challenging but uniquely satisfying role.

‘Though it took some time to establish relationships and build rapport with patients, the pharmacy service was integral to the organisations,’ Ms Bickerton said.

As part of diverse team of doctors, nurses, AHWs, pharmacists and other allied health professionals worked closely with patients in communities that sometimes had limited access to medical care.

‘This included supply to even more remote nursing stations, such as Marble Bar, Nullagine and Yandeyarra- where due to geographical challenges the Royal Flying Doctor Service only visits once or twice a week,’ Ms Bickerton said.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #Alcohol and other Drugs #GAPC2017 Download @AIHW National drug household survey

  ” The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) have released the National drug household survey: detailed findings 2016 report.

The report aims to provide insight into Australians’ use of, and attitudes to, drugs and alcohol in 2016.

A key finding of the report is around mental health and alcohol and other drug (AOD) use. ( see Part 2 below for full details )

Download the full 168 page report

National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2016

Read over 186 NACCHO Alcohol and other Drug articles published over 5 years

This report expands on the key findings from the 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS) that were released on 1 June 2017.

It presents more detailed analysis including comparisons between states and territories and for population groups. Unless otherwise specified, the results presented in this report are for those aged 14 or older.

Indigenous Australians

As Indigenous Australians constitute only 2.4 per cent of the 2016 NDSHS (unweighted) sample (or 568 respondents), the results must be interpreted with caution, particularly those for illicit drug use.

Smoking

In 2016, the daily smoking rate among Indigenous Australians was considerably higher than non-Indigenous people but has declined since 2010 and 2013 (decreased from 35% in 2010 to 32% in 2013 and to 27% in 2016) (Figure 8.7). The NDSHS was not designed to detect small differences among the Indigenous population, so even though the smoking rate declined between 2013 and 2016, it was not significant.

The Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (AATSIHS) and the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS) were specifically designed to represent Indigenous Australians (see Box 8.1 for further information).

After adjusting for differences in age structures, Indigenous people were 2.3 times as likely to smoke daily as non-Indigenous people in 2016 (Table 8.7).

Read over 113 NACCHO Smoking articles published last 5 years

Alcohol

Overall, Indigenous Australians were more likely to abstain from drinking alcohol than non-Indigenous Australians (31% compared with 23%, respectively) and this has been increasing since 2010 (was 25%) (Figure 8.8).

Among those who did drink, a higher proportion of Indigenous Australians drank at risky levels, and placed themselves at harm of an alcoholrelated injury from single drinking occasion, at least monthly (35% compared with 25% for non-Indigenous).

The (rate ratio) gap in drinking rates was even greater when looking at the consumption of 11 or more standard drinks at least monthly. Indigenous Australians were 2.8 times as likely as non-Indigenous Australians to drink 11 or more standard drinks monthly or more often (18.8% compared with 6.8%).

About 1 in 5 (20%) Indigenous Australian exceeded the lifetime risk guidelines in 2016; a slight but non-significant decline from 23% in 2013, and significantly lower than the 32% in 2010. The proportion of non-Indigenous Australians exceeding the lifetime risk guidelines in 2016 was 17.0% and significantly declined from 18.1% in 2013.

Illicit drugs

Other than ecstasy and cocaine, Indigenous Australians aged 14 or older used illicit drugs at a higher rate than the general population (Table 8.6). In 2016, Indigenous Australians were: 1.8 times as likely to use any illicit drug in the last 12 months; 1.9 times as likely to use cannabis; 2.2 times as likely to use meth/amphetamines; and 2.3 times as likely to misuse pharmaceuticals as non-Indigenous people. These differences were still apparent even after adjusting for differences in age structure (Table 8.7). There were no significant changes in illicit use of drugs among Indigenous Australians between 2013 and 2016.

Read over 64 NACCHO Ice drug articles published last 5 years

1 in 8 Australians smoke daily and 6 in 10 have never smoked

  • Smoking rates have been on a long-term downward trend since 1991, but the daily smoking rate did not significantly decline over the most recent 3 year period (was 12.8% in 2013 and 12.2% in 2016).
  • Among current smokers, 3 in 10 (28.5%) tried to quit but did not succeed and about 1 in 3 (31%) do not intend to quit.
  • People living in the lowest socioeconomic areas are more likely to smoke than people living in the highest socioeconomic area but people in the lowest socioeconomic area were the only group to report a significant decline in daily smoking between 2013 and 2016 (from 19.9% to 17.7%).

8 in 10 Australians had consumed at least 1 glass of alcohol in the last 12 months

  • The proportion exceeding the lifetime risk guidelines declined between 2013 and 2016 (from 18.2% to 17.1%); however, the proportion exceeding the single occasion risk guidelines once a month or more remained unchanged at about 1 in 4.
  • Among recent drinkers: 1 in 4 (24%) had been a victim of an alcohol-related incident in 2016; about 1 in 6 (17.4%) put themselves or others at risk of harm while under the influence of alcohol in the last 12 months; and about 1 in 10 (9%) had injured themselves or someone else because of their drinking in their lifetime.
  • Half of recent drinkers had undertaken at least some alcohol moderation behaviour. The main reason chosen was for health reasons.
  • A greater proportion of people living in Remote or very remote areas abstained from alcohol in 2016 than in 2013 (26% compared with 17.5%) and a lower proportion exceeded the lifetime risk guidelines (26% compared with 35%).

About 1 in 8 Australians had used at least 1 illegal substance in the last 12 months and 1 in 20 had misused a pharmaceutical drug

  • In 2016, the most commonly used illegal drugs that were used at least once in the past 12 months were cannabis (10.4%), followed by cocaine (2.5%), ecstasy (2.2%) and meth/amphetamines (1.4%).
  • However, ecstasy and cocaine were used relatively infrequently and when examining the share of Australians using an illegal drug weekly or more often in 2016, meth/amphetamines (which includes ‘ice’) was the second most commonly used illegal drug after cannabis.
  • Most meth/amphetamine users used ‘ice’ as their main form, increasing from 22% of recent meth/amphetamine users in 2010 to 57% in 2016.

Certain groups disproportionately experience drug-related risks

  • Use of illicit drugs in the last 12 months was far more common among people who identified as being homosexual or bisexual; ecstasy and meth/amphetamines use in this group was 5.8 times as high as heterosexual people.
  • People who live in Remote and very remote areas, unemployed people and Indigenous Australians continue to be more likely to smoke daily and use illicit drugs than other population groups.
  • The proportion of people experiencing high or very high levels of psychological distress increased among recent illicit drug users between 2013 and 2016—from 17.5% to 22% but also increased from 8.6% to 9.7% over the same period for the non-illicit drug using population (those who had not used an illicit drug in the past 12 months).
  • Daily smoking, risky alcohol consumption and recent illicit drug use was lowest in the Australian Capital Territory and highest in the Northern Territory.

The majority of Australians support policies aimed at reducing the acceptance and use of drugs, and the harms resulting from drug use

  • There was generally greater support for education and treatment and lower support for law enforcement measures.

‘In 2016, 42% of meth/amphetamine users had a mental illness, up from 29% in 2013, while the rate of mental illness among ecstasy users also rose from 18% to 27%,’ said AIHW spokesperson, Matthew James. ‘Drug use is a complex issue, and it’s difficult to determine to what degree drug use causes mental health problems, and to what degree mental health problems give rise to drug use.’

About 1 in 20 Australians reported misusing pharmaceuticals, with 75% of recent painkiller users reporting misusing an ‘over the counter’ codeine product in the past 12 months. The AIHW will be publishing more detailed data on pharmaceutical misuse later in 2017.

In addition to illicit drugs, the report also provides insights into Australians’ use of alcohol and tobacco, and notes some improvements in risky behaviour (such as driving while under the influence of alcohol), as well as improved smoking rates among people living in lower socioeconomic areas.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

 Part 3 Mental illness rising among meth/amphetamine and ecstasy users

Mental illnesses are becoming more common among meth/amphetamine and ecstasy users, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, National Drug Strategy Household Survey: detailed findings 2016, builds on preliminary results released in June, and gives further insight into Australians’ use of, and attitudes to, drugs and alcohol in 2016.

The report shows that among people who had recently (in the last 12 months) used an illicit drug, about 27% had been diagnosed or treated for a mental illness—an increase from 21% in 2013. Rates of mental illness were particularly high—and saw the most significant increases—for meth/amphetamine and ecstasy users.

‘In 2016, 42% of meth/amphetamine users had a mental illness, up from 29% in 2013, while the rate of mental illness among ecstasy users also rose from 18% to 27%,’ said AIHW spokesperson Matthew James.

‘Drug use is a complex issue, and it’s difficult to determine to what degree drug use causes mental health problems, and to what degree mental health problems give rise to drug use’.

Similarly, the report also reveals a complex relationship between employment status and drug use.

‘For example, people who were unemployed were about 3 times as likely to have recently used meth/amphetamines as employed people, and about 2 times as likely to use cannabis or smoke tobacco daily. On the other hand, employed people were more likely to use cocaine than those who were unemployed,’ Mr James said.

Today’s report also shows higher rates of drug use among people who identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual, with the largest differences seen in the use of ecstasy and meth/amphetamines.

‘Homosexual and bisexual people were almost 6 times as likely as heterosexual people to use each of these drugs, and were also about 4 times as likely to use cocaine as heterosexual people, and 3 times more likely to use cannabis or misuse pharmaceutical drugs.’ Mr James said.

Overall, about 1 in 20 Australians reported misusing pharmaceuticals, with 75% of recent painkiller users reporting misusing an ‘over the counter’ codeine product in the past 12 months. The AIHW will be publishing comprehensive data on pharmaceutical misuse later in 2017.

‘Our report also shows that more Australians are in favour of the use of cannabis in clinical trials to treat medical conditions—87% now support its use, up from 75% in 2013. We also found that 85% of people now support legislative changes to permit its use for medical purposes in general, up from 69% in 2013,’ Mr James said.

In addition to illicit drugs, today’s report also provides insights into Australians’ use of alcohol and tobacco, and notes some improvements in risky behaviour (such as driving while under the influence of alcohol), as well as improved smoking rates among people living in lower socioeconomic areas.

The report also contains data for each state and territory in Australia, and shows differences in drug use between the jurisdictions. For example, recent use of meth/amphetamine was highest in Western Australia, but the use of cocaine was highest in New South Wales.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #SaveADates : #NACCHOagm2017 Only 28 days to go : Download 12 Page Draft Program

 

4- 5 October Aboriginal Male Health #OchreDay2017 Darwin NT

9- 10 October  : Indigenous Affairs and Public Administration Conference : Can’t we do better?

10 October  : CATSINAM Professional Development Conference Gold Coast

11-12 October 3rd Annual Ngar-wu Wanyarra Aboriginal Health Conference

18 -20 October  : 35th Annual CRANAplus Conference Broome

20 October : ‘Most influential’ health leaders to appear in key forum at major rural medicine conference

18- 20 October First 1000 Days Summit

26-27 October  :Diabetes and cardiovascular research, stroke and maternal and child health issues.

31 October2 Nov  :NACCHO AGM Members Meeting Canberra

15 November  One Day NATSIHWA Workshop SA Forum

14- 15 November  : 6th Annual NHMRC Symposium on Research Translation.

15 -18 November  :National Conference on Incontinence Scholarship Opportunity close 1 September

27-30 November  :Indigenous Allied Health Australia : IAHA Conference Perth

14 December Shepparton  One Day NATSIHWA Workshop VIC Forum

11-12 April 2018  :6th Rural and Remote Health Scientific Symposium  Canberra call for extracts

If you have a Conference, Workshop Funding opportunity or event and wish to share and promote contact

Colin Cowell NACCHO Media Mobile 0401 331 251

Send to NACCHO Social  Media

mailto:nacchonews@naccho.org.au

ONLY 28 DAYS To Go

      Register /Download full 12 Page draft program HERE

NACCHO 2017 Members Conference and AGM Draft

NACCHO CONFERENCE WEBSITE

 4- 5 October Aboriginal Male Health Ochre Day Darwin NT  

2017 Ochre Day follow on Twitter #OchreDay2017

Where: Darwin
Starts tomorrow : 4th & 5th October 2017

This year NACCHO is pleased to announce the annual NACCHO Ochre Day will be held in Darwin

Beginning in 2013, Ochre Day is an important NACCHO Aboriginal male health initiative. Aboriginal males have arguably the worst health outcomes of any population group in Australia.

NACCHO has long recognised the importance of addressing Aboriginal male health as part of Close the Gap by 2030.

9- 10 October Indigenous Affairs and Public Administration Conference : Can’t we do better?

This year marks 50 years since the 1967 referendum resulted in the Commonwealth gaining national responsibilities for the administration of Indigenous affairs. This is a shared responsibility with state and territory administrations.

Website

ANZSOG and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet are providing travel support and waiving conference fees for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community leaders and public servants attending the conference from remote locations.

To enquire about your eligibility, please contact conference2017@anzsog.edu.au

In partnership, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC), the University of Sydney, and the Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG) are holding an international conference that questions the impact of the past 50 years of public administration and raise issues for the next 50 years in this important nation building area.

DPMC is seeking to build and foster a public canon of knowledge to open the history of Indigenous policy and administrative practice to greater scrutiny and discussion.

The Indigenous Affairs and Public Administration Conference will be attended by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representatives, other Indigenous peoples, public servants from state and federal governments, and the academic community.

 The conference will feature a range of guest presenters, including Australia’s Chris Sarra, Andrea Mason and Martin Nakata, New Zealand’s Arapata Hakiwai and Geraint Martin, as well as other international speakers.

The deliberations and discussions of the conference will feed into a final report that will be used to guide Federal government policy formation at a series of roundtables in late 2017 and early 2018.

REGISTER

2017 Indigenous Affairs and Public Administration Conference

October 9-10
The Refectory, University of Sydney

October 9, 6:00pm – 9:30pm: Pre-conference dinner
October 10, 8:30am – 5:00pm: Conference

Cost:

Early bird tickets (until September 1): $150
Regular tickets: $250
Full time PhD student concession tickets: $25

Register Here

10 October CATSINAM Professional Development Conference Gold Coast

catsinam

Contact info for CATSINAM

11-12 October 3rd Annual Ngar-wu Wanyarra Aboriginal Health Conference

3rd Annual Ngar-wu Wanyarra Aboriginal Health Conference

The Ngar-wu Wanyarra Aboriginal Health conference is an opportunity for sharing information and connecting people that are committed to reforming the practice and research of Aboriginal health and celebrates Aboriginal knowledge systems and strength based approaches to improving the health outcomes of Aboriginal communities.

The conference will include 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 health and wellbeing.

In 2016 the Ngar-wu Wanyarra Aboriginal Health conference attracted over 130 delegates from across the community and state.

Please register online by midday Thursday 5th October, 2017.

18 -20 October 35th Annual CRANAplus Conference Broome

We are pleased to announce the 35th Annual CRANAplus Conference will be held at Cable Beach Club Resort and Spa in Broome, Western Australia, from 18 to 20 October 2017.

THE FUTURE OF REMOTE HEALTH AND THE INFLUENCE OF TECHNOLOGY

Since the organisation’s inception in 1982 this event has served to create an opportunity for likeminded remote and isolated health individuals who can network, connect and share.

It serves as both a professional and social resource for the Remote and Isolated Health Workforce of Australia.

We aim to offer an environment that will foster new ideas, promote collegiate relationships, provide opportunities for professional development and celebrate remote health practice.

Conference Website

18- 20 October First 1000 Days Summit

 

The First 1000 Days Australia Summit is a three-day event that will bring together Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders, researchers, community members, front- line workers and policy makers involved in areas relevant to the work of First 1000 Days Australia. Lectures, panel discussions and workshops will address topics such as caring and parenting, infant and child development, family strengthening, implementation and translation, as well as a number of other areas.

The theme for the Summit is ‘Celebrating our leadership, strengthening our families’. We invite interested presenters to submit abstracts for oral presentations, workshops and posters that align with the aims, principles and research areas of First 1000 Days Australia, and of First 1,000 Days international.

20 October : ‘Most influential’ health leaders to appear in key forum at major rural medicine conference 


‘Most influential’ health leaders to appear in key forum at major rural medicine conference

RMA Presidents’ Breakfast
Friday 20 October 2017
Pullman Albert Park, Melbourne


www.ruralmedicineaustralia.com.au

Australia’s most influential health leaders will discuss critical health policy issues in a key Presidents’ Breakfast forum at the Rural Medicine Australia 2017 conference, to be held in Melbourne in October.Dr Ewen McPhee, President of the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA), will host the forum and will be joined on the panel by Associate Professor Ruth Stewart, President of the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM); Dr Bastian Seidel, President of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP); and Dr Tony Bartone, Vice President of the Australian Medical Association (AMA).

26-27 October Diabetes and cardiovascular research, stroke and maternal and child health issues.

‘Translation at the Centre’ An educational symposium

Alice Springs Convention Centre, Alice Springs

This year the Symposium will look at research translation as well as the latest on diabetes and cardiovascular research, stroke and maternal and child health issues.  The event will be run over a day and a half.
The Educational Symposium will feature a combination of relevant plenary presentations from renowned scientists and clinicians plus practical workshops.

Registration is free but essential.

Please contact the symposium coordinator on 1300 728 900 (Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm) or via email at events@baker.edu.au  

31 October2 NovNACCHO AGM Members Meeting Canberra

We welcome you to attend the 2017 NACCHO Annual Members’ Conference.

Download the 12 page PDF Draft Program as at 26 September

NACCHO 2017 Members Conference and AGM Draft

On the new NACCHO Conference Website  you find links to

1.Registrations now open

2. Booking Your Accommodation

3. Book Your Flights

4. Expressions of Interest Speakers, case studies and table top presentations Close

5. Social Program

6.Conferences Partnership Sponsorship Opportunities

7.NACCHO Conference HELP Contacts

The NACCHO Members’ Conference and AGM provides a forum for the Aboriginal community controlled health services workforce, bureaucrats, educators, suppliers and consumers to:

  • Present on innovative local economic development solutions to issues that can be applied to address similar issues nationally and across disciplines
  • Have input and influence from the ‘grassroots’ into national and state health policy and service delivery
  • Demonstrate leadership in workforce and service delivery innovation
  • Promote continuing education and professional development activities essential to the Aboriginal community controlled health services in urban, rural and remote Australia
  • Promote Aboriginal health research by professionals who practice in these areas and the presentation of research findings
  • Develop supportive networks
  • Promote good health and well-being through the delivery of health services to and by Indigenous and non-Indigenous people throughout Australia.

Where :Hyatt Hotel Canberra

Dates :Members’ Conference: 31 October – 1 November 2017
Annual General Meeting: 2 November 2017

CLICK HERE

15 November  One Day NATSIHWA Workshop SA Forum

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers Association (NATSIHWA) 

Join the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers Association (NATSIHWA) for a one day CPD networking workshop focussed on current workforce development opportunities.

Upskill and strengthen your skill level in a specialised area and find out what is happening through program development, education and funding opportunities.

Hear from organisations such as: PHN Primary Heath Network, CranaPlus, Autism QLD, Rheumatic Heart, PEPA Program of Experience in the Palliative Approach, Diabetes Australia, IBA Indigenous Business Australia, HESTA Superannuation, 1800 RESPECT, Hearing Australia and more to be annuonced in the coming months (tailored for your specific region).

Register HERE

14-15 November : 6th Annual NHMRC Symposium on Research Translation.

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and the Lowitja Institute, Australia’s national institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research, are proud to be co-hosting the 6th Annual NHMRC Symposium on Research Translation.

This partnership indicates an alignment of priorities and a strong commitment from our two institutions to deliver a measurable, positive impact on the health and wellbeing of Australia’s First Peoples.

Under the theme “The Butterfly Effect: Translating Knowledge into Action for Positive Change”, the Symposium will be an opportunity to bring relevant expertise to the business of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research translation and put forward Indigenous perspectives that inform the most effective policies and programs. It will also be a forum to share knowledge of what successful research looks like at community level and what the key elements of success are.

We look forward to the participation of delegates with community, research and policy expertise, including outstanding keynote speakers Dr Carrie Bourassa (Canada) and Sir Mason Durie (New Zealand). We are confident that through our joint commitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research, the Symposium will make a significant contribution to the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, families and individuals. This commitment also signals the importance of working together as equal partners, Indigenous and non-Indigenous.

More info HERE

15 -18 November :National Conference on Incontinence Scholarship Opportunity

The Continence Foundation of Australia is offering 10 scholarships to support health professionals to attend the 26th National Conference on Incontinence. The conference will be held in Sydney on 15-18 November 2017.  The conference program and registration brochure can be found here.
This scholarship program is open to registered nurses and physiotherapists with an interest in continence care working in rural and remote areas of Australia. The scholarship includes full conference registration, including clinical workshops and social events, flights and accommodation. The top applicant also has the opportunity to participate in a placement at a Sydney continence clinic. Previous unsuccessful applicants are encouraged to apply.
Applications closed Friday 1 September.
Applications are being taken online. Click here to find out more and to apply.  

27-30 November Indigenous Allied Health Australia : IAHA Conference Perth

iaha

Abstracts for the IAHA 2017 National Conference are now open!

We are calling for abstracts for concurrent oral presentations and workshops under the following streams:
– Care
– Cultures
– Connection

For abstract more information visit the IAHA Conference website at: https://iahaconference.com.au/call-for-abstracts/

14 December Shepparton  One Day NATSIHWA Workshop VIC Forum

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers Association (NATSIHWA) 

Join the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers Association (NATSIHWA) for a one day CPD networking workshop focussed on current workforce development opportunities.

Upskill and strengthen your skill level in a specialised area and find out what is happening through program development, education and funding opportunities.

Hear from organisations such as: PHN Primary Heath Network, CranaPlus, Autism QLD, Rheumatic Heart, PEPA Program of Experience in the Palliative Approach, Diabetes Australia, IBA Indigenous Business Australia, HESTA Superannuation, 1800 RESPECT, Hearing Australia and more to be annuonced in the coming months (tailored for your specific region).

Register HERE

11-12 April 2018 6th Rural and Remote Health Scientific Symposium  Canberra call for extracts

About the Symposium

Drawing upon a tradition which commenced with the first rural and remote health scientific conference ‘Infront Outback’ held in Toowoomba in 1992, the 6th Rural and Remote Health Scientific Symposium will be held in Canberra, 11-12 April 2018.

The Symposium will celebrate 20 years since the establishment of the first university department of rural health in 1997 and will highlight the research and knowledge that followed this innovation.

Outback Infront will celebrate the leadership that has emerged from the rural and remote health research community, while at the same time, support early career academics and the next generation of rural health researchers.

The Symposium will focus on rural and remote health research that informs strategic health policy and health service challenges in rural and remote Australia.

The Symposium will provide an opportunity to share and develop research that seeks to understand and deliver innovative change through building evidence that has the potential to transform health outcomes and service delivery.

Who should attend

The Symposium program will be designed to engage academics, policy makers, expert researchers in rural and remote health and clinician-researchers, as well as emerging and early career researchers.

It will also be relevant to policy makers, university departments of rural health, rural clinical schools, research collaborations and bodies, rural workforce organisations and health services delivery networks and providers.

Program

As well as key presentations from respected researchers in rural and remote health the Symposium will also feature Rogano presentations (scholarly debate on a current research project that answer “how to” questions and encourage scholarly thinking and debate) and a return of the popular Lightning Talk presentations to support early career academics and the next generation of rural health researchers.

Abstracts are now being sought for general presentations, Lightning talks and Rogano presentations

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #AIDAconf2017 @AMApresident speech #Indigenous health – Turning words into action

 ” At every opportunity, the AMA highlights the issues of housing, clean water, transport, food security, access to allied medical services, and other social determinants that contribute to chronic disease and act as barriers to treatment and prevention.

The AMA has said time and again that it is simply unacceptable that Australia cannot manage the health care of the first peoples, who make up just three per cent of our population.

When it comes to Indigenous health, the Federal Government needs to broaden its thinking.”

Dr Michael Gannon AMA President speaking at Australian Indigenous Doctors #AIDAconf207 21 September

Please note we hope to publish todays #AIDAconf2017 speech from Minister Indigenous Health Ken Wyatt on  Monday

I acknowledge the Wonnarua People – the traditional owners and custodians of the land, and pay respects to their elders, past and present.

My thanks to the Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association for the invitation to speak here today. It is a great privilege.

Congratulations on your 20th Anniversary. You have come a long way.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people face adversity in many aspects of their lives.

There is arguably no greater indicator of disadvantage than the appalling state of Indigenous health.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are needlessly sicker, and are dying much younger than their non-Indigenous peers.

What is even more disturbing is that many of these health problems and deaths stem from preventable causes.

The battle to gain meaningful and lasting improvements has been long and hard, and it continues.

I sit on the Western Australian State Perinatal and Infant Mortality Committee. Aboriginality is a depressingly regular theme in these Stillbirths and Neonatal Deaths.

I am proud to be President of an organisation that has for decades highlighted the deficiencies in Indigenous health services and advocated for improvements.

While there has been some success in reducing childhood mortality and smoking rates, the high levels of chronic disease among Indigenous people continue to be of considerable concern.

For the AMA, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health is a key priority. It is core business.

It is a responsibility of the entire medical profession to ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have the best possible health.

It is the responsibility of doctors to ensure that patients – all patients – are able to live their lives to the fullest.

Many of you will know that the AMA has a Taskforce on Indigenous Health, which I Chair.

The Taskforce develops and recommends Indigenous health policy and strategies for the AMA to champion with governments and other agencies.

Along with AMA leadership, the Taskforce has representatives from AIDA, NACCHO, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, and the Australian Medical Students’ Association.

The Taskforce has been working since 2000. The Taskforce helps the AMA develop its annual Report Card on Indigenous Health.

Download here

2016-ama-report-card-on-indigenous-health

These Report Cards comment on topical issues in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, and recommend solutions that we urge governments to embrace.

The consistent message in all of these Report Cards is that the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will not improve until the factors that contribute to poor health, the social determinants of health, are addressed.

This year, the AMA’s Report Card on Indigenous Health – to be released in November – will focus on ear health and hearing loss.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia suffer from some of the highest levels of ear disease in the world, and experience hearing problems at up to ten times the rate of non-Indigenous people across nearly all age groups.

Hearing loss has health and social implications, particularly in relation to educational difficulties, low self-esteem, and contact with the criminal justice system.

To address ear health issues among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, it will be necessary to continue raising awareness, improving strategies for prevention, providing funds for further research, and improving access to services.

The AMA hopes the Report Card will be a catalyst for government action to improve ear health among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

All our governments must address the broader social determinants of health, which contribute to the development of ear disease.

At every opportunity, the AMA highlights the issues of housing, clean water, transport, food security, access to allied medical services, and other social determinants that contribute to chronic disease and act as barriers to treatment and prevention.

The AMA has said time and again that it is simply unacceptable that Australia cannot manage the health care of the first peoples, who make up just three per cent of our population.

When it comes to Indigenous health, the Federal Government needs to broaden its thinking.

For too long now, people working in Indigenous health have called for action to address the social issues that affect the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Education, housing, employment, sanitation, clean water, and transport – these all affect health too.

This is clearly recognised in the Government’s own National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Health Plan 2013-2023, yet we continue to see insufficient action on addressing social determinants.

One message is clear – the evidence of what needs to be done is with us.

There is a huge volume of research, frameworks, strategies, action plans and the like sitting with governments – and yet we are not seeing these being properly resourced and funded. We do not need more paper documents. We need action.

The AMA recognises that Indigenous doctors are critical to improving health outcomes for their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander doctors have a unique ability to align their clinical and cultural expertise to improve access to services, and provide culturally appropriate care for Indigenous patients.

But there are too few Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander doctors and medical students in Australia.

My father grew up in Dowerin in rural WA. He had long lost the title of its best ever footballer before Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin was born.

I grew up in Perth and went to primary school with Aboriginal kids. The same was true at high school.

Later in my University training and as a Doctor-in-training, I had regular exposure to a high proportion of Aboriginal patients at Royal Perth Hospital and King Edward Memorial Hospital.

But at University, I had little contact with Indigenous people.

In 2017, there are just 281 medical practitioners employed in Australia who identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander – representing only 0.3 per cent of the workforce.

In 2016, around 286 Indigenous students were known to be studying medicine. It is, as you in this room know, slowly changing.

The Indigenous medical workforce must grow significantly to achieve overall improvements in Indigenous health.

To help boost the number of Indigenous medical students, and ultimately doctors, the AMA has offered a scholarship to an Indigenous medical student each year since 1994.

Over the years, our Scholarship has helped support more than 20 Indigenous men and women to complete their medical degrees.

Our most recent Scholarship recipient, James Chapman, understands the importance of family, culture, and education.

At a young age, James saw both of his parents endure health problems, and unfortunately lost his father to acute myeloid leukaemia after a short battle with the disease.

While he did not realise it at the time, James has said his father was a victim of the gap that exists between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

His father’s death made him realise his potential to contribute to his fellow Indigenous populations by providing access to health services.

James now has a purpose to study medicine so that he can practise in rural and remote Australia, offering Indigenous people access to equal health care, and addressing a major socio-economic inequality in Australia.

He realises that closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people isn’t a one-man job.

But he takes comfort in knowing that he can contribute and make a difference to his fellow Indigenous people’s lives – prolonging and preserving a culture that holds a very important place for himself and many others.

The AMA worked hard to achieve Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status for our scholarship, and we are actively seeking donations, hoping to award a second annual scholarship for the first time this year.

Increasing the number of Indigenous doctors is a goal, not just for the AMA, but for all of those involved in closing the gap and improving the health and wellbeing of Australia’s first peoples.

The AMA will continue advocating for an increase in the number of Indigenous doctors in Australia.

The AMA has been a persistent, sustained, and powerful voice on Indigenous health for decades.

During that time, much has changed for the better, particularly as a result of the Close the Gap campaign. Recent cuts to funding are a huge concern.

Despite good intention and considerable investment by successive governments, the disparity in health outcomes remains.

Each year, the Prime Minister delivers a report on Closing the Gap, which in recent years has been profoundly disappointing.

The Closing the Gap reports sadly are not delivering on positive outcomes to improve Indigenous health.

Nor do they deliver one extra doctor when and where they are needed most.

They certainly provide no new funding.

Achieving health equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians is an incredibly difficult task.

There have been some gains, but we need to do more – much more.

We must ensure that our governments do not fatigue in this task. They have the support of the broader Australian community.

It will take time, but most of all it will take ongoing commitment.

Governments at all levels must make meaningful investment in Indigenous health, and work with Indigenous communities to develop solutions that address their unique health needs.

Local Indigenous communities and local Indigenous people have the knowledge and expertise. They know what works. Without using this experience, the gap will remain wide and intractable.

The AMA has repeatedly said that it is not credible that Australia, one of the world’s wealthiest countries, cannot address the health and social justice issues that affect three per cent of its citizens.

We will continue to work with governments to take action to improve health and life outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

#NACCHOAgm2017 Member and Stakeholder Alert : Register now for our Canberra Conference and AGM

There is just 45 days to go till the NACCHO Canberra Members’ Conference and AGM 2017.

Please share with your staff and networks to register for our Conference.

NACCHO has a thought-provoking and insightful line-up of presenters and plenty of opportunity for networking, the event will be both informative and inspiring.

This will include a presentation from NACCHO CEO Pat Turner about the proposed Governance and Constitutional Changes.

The Program : Topics covered also include

  •  The Social Determinants of Health,
  • Improving cancer outcomes,
  •  Culture and wellbeing
  • Rheumatic Heart Disease
  • Diabetes
  • ACCHS’s role in advocacy
  • Primary healthcare best practice
  • Aboriginal male health, sexual health
  • Health justice partnerships
  • Cultural Security
  • Indigenous Incarceration rates in Australia
  • ABS Indigenous 2017 census data

plus an array of health table top discussions, several panels and finally to relax a theatre room with screenings of the Redfern Statement, Prison Songs and episodes of CJ and Cuz.

Social events

Our free social events are not to be missed and include a Welcome Reception, tickets to the Songlines Exhibition at the National Museum of Australia and of course the Karaoke Competition.

Register today

Simply register to participate at the Conference and AGM from your office, home, work location or anywhere you have a computer or tablet with a high-speed internet connection.

Website Link:  www.nacchoconference.com.au

Flights

Secure your best fare here

Accommodation

Accommodation on site is limited so to secure the best hotel rooms it is important to register and pay in the next 45 days.

Note : Registrations for the AGM (2 Nov 2017 ) is free and open to 2 November.

Thanks to our major sponsors

Aboriginal #MentalHealth and #RUOKDay 14 Sept Advanced Speeches : The cause bringing Turnbull and Shorten together

 ” The truth is that mental health is enormously costly, in every respect.

It’s costly for individuals who suffer, its costly to their families but it’s especially costly when people take their own lives.

So we all have a vested interest in each others’ mental health. The most important thing we can do is to look out for each other.

Yes, governments and parliaments and health professionals spend money and trial new approaches and use digital technologies more effectively and we’re doing all these things and we’ll no doubt do much more in the future.

But you know, just four letters ‘R U OK?’ can make a difference. Because they represent another four letters, ‘L O V E’ – love. That’s what it’s about; showing that love and care for the people with whom you are with, whether they are your families, your friends or your workmates. Reach out to them, ask are you okay, show you care.

You could not just change a life, you could save a life.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull addressing the RUOK Breakfast 12 September

Download his speech or read in full Part 2 Below PM Malcolm Turnbull RUOK

Read over 150 Aboriginal Mental Health articles published by NACCHO over 5 years

” We know that suicide is the scourge of rural and regional communities.

It takes a shocking toll on our people in the bush.

We know the suicide rate is twice as high amongst our First Australians, Pat Dodson has written movingly about those nights when his phone rings with the tragic news that another young person in the Kimberley has taken their life.

There is always time to start a conversation.

I think about all the people that I have known – and I am not sure I could have done anything then to change something.

But I wish that I knew then what I know now, and was able to ask these people: ‘Are you ok?’ “

Opposition Leader  Bill Shorten addressing the RUOK Breakfast 12 September

Download his speech or read in full Part 3 Below Bill Shorten RUOK

Part 1 The cause bringing Turnbull and Shorten together

From SBS Report

When Bill Shorten sat down to prepare some remarks for a parliamentary breakfast on suicide, he reflected on how many people he knew who had taken their own life.

He stopped at about seven.

“The thing about these people I thought about is that they remain forever young,” the opposition leader told an ‘R U Ok?’ gathering at Parliament House in Canberra on Tuesday.

Mr Shorten said he questioned what he could have done to help them or whether people didn’t see a sign.

He’s not alone. Seven people commit suicide on average every day in Australia.

“It is a silent crisis at the heart of our nation,” he said.

“These are preventable deaths.”

Mr Shorten reflected on veterans who feel let down by the nation they served and young people who feel like they don’t fit in.

The world of social media had created a form of emotional distance, a world of exotic holidays and glamorous events, he noted.

“The challenge is to look beyond the superficial snapshots of endless good times. To go further than simply clicking ‘like’.”

Mr Shorten believes MPs and senators are actually well placed to understand the message of the suicide prevention charity.

“In this very large building with thousands of people it can be a hard and isolating experience.”

“Suicide knows no boundaries, we are all in this together” Professor Gracelyn Smallwood in Townsville

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said suicide prevention was about people but the high statistics demand everyone do much better.

He believes a reluctance to talk about mental health issues – whether because of stigma or taboo – has been a barrier.

“You can’t deal with a problem that you don’t acknowledge,” he said.

Mr Turnbull noted the work of the late Watson’s Bay resident Don Ritchie who invited anxious people at The Gap nearby in for a chat and a cuppa.

“He would gently lure them back from the brink by doing no more than showing that he cared for them,” he said.

“That is why ‘R U Ok?’ day is so important.”

Mr Shorten was glad the event brought the two leaders together.

“It’s a galling thing when you’re leader of the opposition and the prime minister yells slogans at you,” he said.

“But then occasionally sometimes he gives a speech like that and I think ‘you’re not too bad after all’.”

Both agreed the mutual feeling would be over by question time.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Part 2 Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull addressing the RUOK Breakfast 13 September

Well good morning. It’s great to be here with Andrew Wallace who is standing in for Julian Leeser, who together with Mike Kelly are Co-Chairs of the Friendship Group.

I acknowledge Greg Hunt, the Minister for Health and Sport, Bill Shorten, Julie Collins the Shadow Minister for Ageing and Mental Health, Murray Bleach, the Chairman Suicide Prevention Australia, Mike Connaghan – Chairman of RUOK? and Mike and I were reflecting on how many decades it is since we first met and worked together in advertising but there it is. You’re looking very youthful. That’s what happens if you don’t go into politics.

And of course Professor Batterham is our guest speaker this morning – and so many other leaders in health and in suicide prevention, and of course all my Parliamentary colleagues here as well.

Now we’re all united here behind Suicide Prevention Day and R U OK? Day. Suicide Prevention Day was on Sunday and R U OK? Day is later this week.

Each year, around one in every five Australians experience mental illness and in 2015, more than 3,000 took their own life.

Now, suicide is about people, it’s about families, not numbers. But the statistics confront us all and call on us to do much better.

I am firmly of the view that our reluctance to talk about mental health issues – whether you call it a stigma or a taboo – has been a very real barrier to addressing this issue. You can’t deal with a problem that you do not acknowledge.

So we have started to talk about suicide and mental health and in an open and honest way, as we have not done in the past.

Now my own electorate of Wentworth includes one of the most beautiful yet tragic places in Australia, The Gap. It is a place where many, many Australians take their lives. A part of The Gap story until he died in 2012 was an extraordinary man called Don Ritchie who was an old sailor and also very tall, I might add.

For the best part of half a century, he lived near The Gap and when he would go for walks and he saw somebody there – anxious, perhaps standing on the wrong side of the fence – he would talk to them.

He would say: “Are you OK? How are you going? Do you want to have a chat? Do you want to come in and have a cup of tea?” He would gently lure them back from the brink by doing no more than showing that he cared for them.

That is why ‘R U OK? Day?’ is so important. Because what it is all about, is showing that we do care. Four letters ‘R U O K’ import so much. They send a message of love, they send a message of care. Critically important and what could be more Australian than looking out for your mates? Or looking out for people you don’t even know? Looking out for somebody who seems anxious, worried, or someone at work that isn’t quite themselves. It is a caring and a loving question. And it raises very prominently this issue of awareness, to the forefront.

At Gap Park for example, as the local Member, I’ve pushed for more funding and support for suicide prevention. Since 2010 there has been implemented a ‘Gap Master Plan’ and I want to acknowledge the support that Julia Gillard provided as Prime Minister to support the local government, the Woollahra Council, towards that funding.

It was a series of measures of signs, telephones, obviously of cameras so that the police can keep an eye on what’s going on there and also a very innovative design in defences that are hard to get over, but easier to get back over, if you know what I mean.

So all of this makes a difference and since 2010 the local police tell me there has been a significant increase in the number of successful interventions at The Gap. But still, far, far too many people die there and in many other places around Australia.

Now, we’re working better to understand the factors that have contributed to rising suicide rates and to support communities to respond to their own unique circumstances.

We’re committed to reducing suicide rates through regional trials, research and building the evidence base with flexible models that address regional needs and work in our local communities.

This includes the implementation of 12 regional suicide prevention trial sites in Townsville, the Kimberley and Darwin and other places. Digital innovation trials and ten lead sites to trial different care models. All looking to see what actually works.

We’re also investing a great deal more in mental health and making services more effective, accessible and tailored to local needs.

Since 2016, we’ve invested an additional $367.5 million in mental health and suicide prevention support.

That includes a $194.5 million election package towards building a modern 21st century mental health system and our $173 million in new funding in the 2017‑18 Budget and $58.6 million to expand mental health and suicide prevention services for current and ex-serving ADF members and their families.

So we’re putting existing resources to work. But you know, the most important resource is you, is all of us. You know my very good friend and a good friend of all of yours, I know, Ian Hickie has got a great concept. He talks about the ‘mental wealth of nations’, sort of elaborating from Adam Smith.

The truth is that mental health is enormously costly, in every respect.

It’s costly for individuals who suffer, its costly to their families but it’s especially costly when people take their own lives.

So we all have a vested interest in each others’ mental health. The most important thing we can do is to look out for each other.

Yes, governments and parliaments and health professionals spend money and trial new approaches and use digital technologies more effectively and we’re doing all these things and we’ll no doubt do much more in the future.

But you know, just four letters ‘R U OK?’ can make a difference. Because they represent another four letters, ‘L O V E’ – love. That’s what it’s about; showing that love and care for the people with whom you are with, whether they are your families, your friends or your workmates. Reach out to them, ask are you okay, show you care. You could not just change a life, you could save a life.

Thank you very much.

Part 3 Opposition Leader  Bill Shorten addressing the RUOK Breakfast 13 September

Good morning everybody.

I’d like to acknowledge the traditional owners of this land, I pay my respect to their elders both past and present.

I’m actually going to spend a moment on what the Prime Minister said and thank him for his words.

It’s a galling thing when you’re Leader of the Opposition that the Prime Minister yells slogans at you one day, and you think oh why did he do that?

But then occasionally he gives a speech like that and I think, you’re not too bad after all.

It really was a good set of words.

Mind you, by Question Time that thought will be erased.

I’d like to thank Mike Kelly and Andrew Wallace filling in for Julian Leeser for bringing all of us here today.

We’ve got the Shadow Minister Julie Collins and we’ve got the Minister Greg Hunt.

Yesterday afternoon when I was preparing my words for this morning, I stopped to think about people I’d known who’d taken their own lives. And you start to construct that list.

I’m sure I’m not unique. I think most Australians find out after the event, someone they liked or loved has taken their own life.

As I got thinking about it, I could think of about seven people I knew. I actually stopped there. Because I knew the longer I thought, I could think of families with their kids and other people.

The thing about these people I thought about, is that they remain forever young.

You can still imagine them. You can remember not everything that you should, but you can remember some of their jokes perhaps, some of their ideas, some of their abilities.

I think about RUOK and I thought what could we have done then, what could I have done then?

And what has been done today to help this be prevented in the future.

I think about each of these people, and I went through the process of writing down their names just to start reconstructing.

Because you don’t always think about the people who have passed, you move on, the events move on.

And I think, was there some sign that they weren’t well? Was there some signal, some marker?

Is there something you could have done differently?

Some of the people I think of were teenagers, highly-talented. They seemed to be very successful at everything they did. But inside they were battling illness and great, great depression.

And when I thought about seven people I could think of I was reminded that seven Australians take their life on average every day, and possibly seven more will today. Every single day.

It is a silent crisis at the heart of our nation.

I’m sure all of you have sat with parents at their table when they’re numb with incomprehension, when they’re shattered by grief.

When they’re trying to write words to say farewell to their child or their adult child, taken too soon.

I still recall a school assembly where the school captain or someone very senior in the school said he died on a train, that’s what we were told. It was only years after that I found out that was the way the school dealt with the fact that he had taken his own life.

And you do think about what you could have done.

I think about veterans who are let down by the nation that they served.

Seven Australians – every day.

And what I wanted to say is that these are preventable deaths – we are not talking about a terminal condition, some dreadful metastasising cancer spread throughout a human body.

These deaths are preventable, there is nothing inevitable about suicide.

And we know that expert assistance can make the difference but it is in short supply.

Our emergency departments work very well. If you turn up with say chest pains, terrible chest pains I reckon nearly all of the time you’ll get the right diagnosis and the care is there.

When I was talking to Professor Pat McGorry who is here today, you know and he worries that you can turn up to an emergency department and you’ve got a very serious case of potential self-harm, or as a suicide risk.

Do we have the resources there to the same proportion as a medical condition, another medical condition? I don’t think we do.

And I know every Member of Parliament here regardless of their political affiliation will have constituents who come to them desperate, red-eyed saying I’ve got a child, an adult child who really needs that sub-acute care. And the search for the beds that aren’t there.

We know that suicide is the scourge of rural and regional communities.

It takes a shocking toll on our people in the bush.

We know the suicide rate is twice as high amongst our First Australians, Pat Dodson has written movingly about those nights when his phone rings with the tragic news that another young person in the Kimberley has taken their life.

We know, as Mike Kelly alluded to, that suicide is more common and more frequently attempted by young LGBTI Australians grappling with their sexuality, fearing rejection.

Completely alienated and unsure of where they fit in.

And we all do have a responsibility to call-out that hateful discrimination and language, particularly in the weeks ahead.

The simple truth is no part of our nation has a wall tall enough to keep the scourge of suicide from that postcode. Suicide is no respecter of ethnicity, of income.

It does not care which god you pray to, or who you love, it affects every Australian and therefore it is within the power of every Australian to do something about it.

We live in a world where it has been easier than ever to see what our friends and our family are up to.

I remember when I was a backpacker 25 years ago, I could be back home before any of the postcards which I had sent to Mum and Dad.

These days you feel like you’re on everybody else’s holiday half the time, as soon as you turn on the computer.

Australians aged between 15 and 24 spend an average of around 18 hours a week online.

And while social media has a tremendous ability to bring us closer together, Instagram,

Facebook and Snapchat also create emotional distance. A carefully-curated view of each other’s lives: exotic holidays, glamorous events, fun nights out, fancy meals.

We have now got a situation where before teenagers will eat the food, they will photograph it.

But the challenge for us is to look beyond the superficial snapshots of endless good times, to go further than simply clicking ‘like’ and scrolling on down the feed.

It’s about digging a bit deeper.

And in conclusion, that’s why we are here.

It’s time to make that call, to send a message, to drop-in for a visit – to really see how someone is going.

I actually think Parliamentarians are well placed to understand RUOK Day.

We’ve all seen our own challenges with mental health, I think previously in this parliament.

In this very large building with thousands of people, it can be hard and isolating experience.

It is important that RUOK day occurs because it is a reminder that we need to distinguish and not let the urgent distract us from the important.

There is always time to

  • Ask
  • Listen
  • Encourage action
  • And check-in

There is always time to start a conversation.

I think about all the people that I have known – and I am not sure I could have done anything then to change something.

But I wish that I knew then what I know now, and was able to ask these people: ‘Are you ok?’

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #Strokeweek : #Fightstroke Aboriginal people are up to three times more likely to suffer a stroke than non-Indigenous

 

” Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are up to three times more likely to suffer a stroke than non-Indigenous Australians and almost twice as likely to die, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. It’s an alarming figure and one that  prompted the National Stroke Foundation in 2016 to urge the Federal Government to fund a critical $44 million awareness campaign in a bid to close the gap .

The good news is most strokes are preventable and treatable.

However communities need to be empowered to protect themselves from this insidious disease.”

Sharon McGowan, Stroke Foundation CEO ( see full Aboriginal Stroke statistics part 2 below

Download the 48 Page support guide :

journeyafterstroke_indigenous_0

Read over 75 Stroke related articles published by NACCHO over past 5 years

“Never had I ever come across one ( stroke ) or heard much about them. I had nothing to do with them,”

When I woke up, I didn’t know what was going on. I couldn’t communicate. I couldn’t tell anyone I was still here. It was really scary. I’d never seen the effects of a stroke.

First, I lost my voice, then my vision, my [ability to] swallow and my movement of all my body parts. I lost all my bowel and bladder function. I’ve still got bad sight but I can see again. My speech took about six months.

With help from the Aboriginal Disability Network, they advocated to get me out and get the right support equipment at home “

For Tania Lewis, an Awabakal woman, stroke was something that only happened to older people. But in 2011, Tania suffered a severe stroke at the age of 39 that would leave her with permanent right-sided hemiplegia – paralysis of one side of the body.

Pictured above : Editor of NACCHO Communique and Stroke Foundation Consumer Council Board Member Colin Cowell (left ) with fellow stroke survivor Tania Lewis at an NDIS workshop in Coffs Harbour conducted by Joe Archibald (right )

Part 1 Stroke Foundation in 2016 called on government to close the gap

Originally published here

A stroke occurs when supply of blood to the brain is disturbed suddenly. The longer it remains untreated, the heightened the risk of stroke-related brain damage.

Medical treatment during the first onset of symptoms can significantly improve a sufferer’s chance of survival and of successful rehabilitation.

In Australia, stroke is the leading cause of long-term disability in adults, accounting for 25 per cent of all chronic disability. The NSF reports that roughly 50,000 strokes occur per year with over 437,000 people living with stroke across the country. While severity varies, two thirds of victims, like Tania, are left with impeding disabilities

But in 2011, Tania suffered a severe stroke at the age of 39 that would leave her with permanent right-sided hemiplegia – paralysis of one side of the body.

The burden of stroke doesn’t just fall on the patient, but can take a significant toll on family and carers.

“The doctor at the hospital tried to take Power of Attorney and Guardianship away from me and give it to the Guardianship Board, because he didn’t believe that [my husband] Len or anyone could look after me,” Tania recalls.

“I was put through hell. I figured life wasn’t worth living anymore because they took everything away from me. I couldn’t go home to my family. So I tried to off myself.

“Then all of a sudden, one day the doctor said, ‘You can go home. We can’t rehabilitate you anymore’. At home, I was having seizures for a while. My hubby wouldn’t sleep. He and his mum would take shifts looking after me. We tried to get assistance but there was nothing for young people. So one day, my husband collapsed on the lounge room floor from exhaustion. It was just a nightmare. That’s how I ended up in aged care.”

Tania spent the next two and a half years between three aged care facilities.

“I wouldn’t wish it upon nobody,” she says.

It was during her nightly ritual of chatting with her daughter via Facebook that Tania typed “young people in nursing homes” into Google. The search engine’s results would lead to her life-changing encounter with the YPINH.

“With help from the Aboriginal Disability Network, they advocated to get me out and get the right support equipment at home. Whatever I need, physio, OT – they’ve got my back. I can’t thank them enough for what they’ve done for me.”

Today, Tania is working with the Aboriginal Disability Network, helping Indigenous Australians navigate their way through the National Healthcare System.

It has long been recognised that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have a life expectancy that is approximately 20 years less than non-Indigenous Australians (Australian Bureau of Statistics). Recent data from the ABS shows that up to 80 per cent of the mortality gap can be attributed to chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and kidney disease.

For many Aboriginal communities, especially those in remote regions, socio-economic factors play an important role. Kerin O’Dea from Darwin’s Menzies School of Health Research cites unemployment, poor education outcomes and limited access to fresh foods as key factors in her paper, Preventable chronic diseases among Indigenous Australians.

Lifestyle related risks such as smoking, alcohol misuse, stress, poor diet, and inadequate physical activity also need to be addressed, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare .

But the first step, McGowan says, is for indigenous stroke sufferers to recognise the signs of a stroke in themselves and their family members. The NSF recommends the F.A.S.T. test as the most effective way to remember the most common signs of a stroke.

Face: Check their face. Has their mouth drooped?
Arms: Can they lift both arms?
Speech: Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?
Time: Is critical. If you see any of these signs call 000 straight away.

“If I had known that because I’d lost my vision I had suffered a stroke, I could’ve put two and two together and got help, but I didn’t know anything,” Tania says.

“I was a heavy smoker, but not anymore – no way. Life’s too important. I didn’t ever know anything about a stroke – I was more thinking when you smoke, you can have lung problems and lose your fingers, like on the packets. But they don’t say anything about a stroke – they don’t advertise that stuff.”

The Stroke Foundation called on the Federal Government to fund an urgent $44 million campaign to address the gap in stroke care. For more information on stroke and the campaign, visit strokefoundation.com.au.

Part 2 Aboriginal Stroke Facts

From here

  • The incidence rate of stroke for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians has been found to be 2.6 times higher for men and 3.0 for women (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2008; Katzenellenbogan et al. 2010) compared to non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and many suggest that these figures may in fact be underestimates (Thrift et al 2011).
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians are known to experience stroke at a younger age than their non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander counterparts, (Katzenellenbogen et al., 2010; Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2004) with 60% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander non-fatal stroke burden occurring in the 25-54 year age-group compared to 24% in the non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander group (Katzenellenbogen et al., 2010).
  • The prevalence of stroke is similarly significantly higher at younger ages among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (Katzenellenbogen 2013), with a significantly higher prevalence of co-morbidities among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients under 70 years of age, including heart failure, atrial fibrillation, chronic rheumatic heart disease, ischaemic heart disease, diabetes and chronic kidney disease. This reflects the increased clinical complexity among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stroke patients compared with non-Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander patients.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stroke patients aged 18–64 years have a threefold chance of dying or being dependent at discharge compared to non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients (Kilkenny et al., 2012).

NACCHO Aboriginal Health : Our ACCHO Members #Deadly good news stories #NACCHOagm2017 #NSW #TAS #QLD #VIC #WA #NT #SA

 

1. National : 2017 NACCHO Members’ Conference and AGM Registrations

1.2 National : 2017 NACCHO National Aboriginal Male Health Ochre Day registrations Darwin NT

2.QLD : APUNIPIMA Cape York Health Council’s Baby One Program highlighted at Growing Deadly families Forum

3. WA / AHCWA : Shot in the arm for vaccinations at Bega Garnbirringy Health Service 

4.1 VIC : VAHS Healthy Life Style Team Kirrip Six Week Challenge – Week Two has officially kicked off!

4.2 VIC : Mallee District Aboriginal Services Study will help target gambling

5.1 NSW Awabakal kicks off thier Healthy Lifestyle Challenge!

5.2 NSW : Murrumbidgee Local Health District’s Youth Vaccine Hip Hop video project

6. NT NATSIWA AMSANT 2017 Darwin Forum

7. SA Tackling Tobacco Team – Nunkuwarrin Yunti

8. Tas : Tasmania Aboriginal community and family events

9. View hundreds of ACCHO Deadly Good News Stories over past 5 years

How to submit a NACCHO Affiliate  or Members Good News Story ? 

 Email to Colin Cowell NACCHO Media    

Mobile 0401 331 251

Wednesday by 4.30 pm for publication each Thursday

1. National : 2017 NACCHO Members’ Conference and AGM Registrations

 This is an opportunity to show case grass roots best practice at the Aboriginal Community Controlled service delivery level.

In doing so honouring the theme of this year’s NACCHO Members’ Conference ‘Our Health Counts: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow’.

NACCHO Conference Website

1.2 National : 2017 NACCHO National Aboriginal Male Health Ochre Day registrations Darwin NT

Register HERE

 

2.QLD : APUNIPIMA Cape York Health Council’s Baby One Program highlighted at Growing Deadly families Forum.

APUNIPIMA Cape York Health Council’s Baby One Program has been highlighted at this month’s Queensland Clinical senate’s Growing Deadly families Forum.

The Forum focused on improving the health of Queensland’s indigenous women and families through a healthier start to life.

Apunipima’s johanna Neville and Florida Getawan told delegates about the council’s award-winning Indigenous-led Baby One Program, which is an integral part of antenatal care in Cape York. It runs from pregnancy until the baby is 1000 days old.

“Baby Baskets (full of useful and essential items) are integral feature of the Baby One Program, are provided to families at key times during pregnancy and the postnatal period,” Ms Neville told delegates.

“The baskets act as both an incentive to encourage families to engage with health care providers, as a catalyst to health education and as a means to provide essential items to families in Cape York.”

Ms Getawan, who helps deliver the Baby One Program in cairns and Kowanyama, said home visits make a difference when it comes to mothers receiving care.

“As a maternal and child-health worker I spend time educating pregnant women about healthy eating, what’s good and what’s not good for them during pregnancy such as the dangers of smoking, and safe sleeping for bubba”, she said.

“ I love doing home visits and yarning with mothers about healthy parenting, and being a support person for them in their own space.

“I love being there for families who are too shy to come to the clinic so, if I can, I engage with them in their own environment.

“I love watching mothers grow because I have had seven pregnancies myself and can relate to what they are going through, and I am able to develop a healthy relationship with them.”


3. WA / AHCWA : Shot in the arm for vaccinations at Bega Garnbirringy Health Service 

An Aboriginal health worker from Kalgoorlie is the latest to complete a program that teaches how to administer vaccinations to children.

The Bega Garnbirringy Health Service health worker graduated after taking part in the two-week course at the Nindila training Centre in Kalgoorlie.

The Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia (AHCWA) launched the training program for Aboriginal health workers in partnership with the Communicable Disease Control Directorate at the Department of health in March 2015.

Since then, 34 Aboriginal health workers from across WA have been trained to administer vaccinations and promote immunisation.

AHCWA chairperson Michelle Nelson-Cox said the program had been initiated to improve immunisation rates amongst Aboriginal children in WA, which are the lowest in the country.

“Until this program was launched, only nurses and doctors were authorised to carry out immunisations,“ she said.

“By expanding the number of Aboriginal health workers trained to administer vaccinations to children, we hope to decrease the risk of our young people contracting preventable diseases.

“TRUST”

‘In addition, the added benefit of having Aboriginal health workers trained to conduct vaccinations means they can relate to Aboriginal children and gain the trust of their parents to help spread the message about the importance of immunisation.”

A WA Auditor General’s report published last December cited immunisation rates amongst Aboriginal children, infants and toddlers as lower than the national target. It suggested the training program had helped contribute to improvements in low immunisation rates among Aboriginal children, with rates for Aboriginal infants in several regions increasing by an average of 8,5% in the year from June 2015.

“We are thrilled that it appears this training program has already contributed to immunisation rates among Aboriginal children increasing significantly in some areas, “Ms Nelson-Cox said.

“We hope that as more Aboriginal Health Workers are trained, the rates will go up even further.

“We have received an overwhelming response from our Aboriginal community-controlled health organisations, who see the value in their AHW’s being trained to administer immunisations,” she said.

Courses are planned for Broom and Carnarvon later this year.

4.1 VIC : VAHS Healthy Life Style Team Kirrip Six Week Challenge – Week Two has officially kicked off!

Huge effort from all of our Challenge Champs who came to hear Luke give us some great information about eating well to live longer and stronger lives.

Everyone gave 110% in the workout and we can’t wait for next week! Keep smashing those goals and working towards building healthy habits every day.

Jandalee and Coz were our FitBit winners this week for their consistency and determination! Thanks to Medibank for donating the FitBits, we can’t wait to give one away every week.

Go for it Kirrip Challenge! You’ve got this!

#StaySmokeFree#hltChallenge#vahsHLT#BeDeadly

4.2 VIC : Mallee District Aboriginal Services Study will help target gambling

A study commissioned by Mallee District Aboriginal Services is helping to highlight the extent of problem gambling in the Mallee’s Aboriginal community – and identifying possible strategies and solutions.

The study, published by La Trobe University, was compiled from interviews conducted with 26 community members across the Mildura, Swan Hill and Kerang region earlier this year.
Pictured MDAS Gambler’s Help Counsellor Tiffany Griffin with Social and Emotional Wellbeing Manager Raelene Stephens

You can download the report here.

The report found that although gambling was identified as “a popular and pleasurable activity”, participants also noted it was a “respite from depression, loneliness, stress and sadness”, with some acknowledging it to be a cause of significant harm.

Although the study noted that tighter regulation by government would aid in reducing harm, other recommendations were more community-focussed.

The report found that there was a strong sense that for interventions to work, more open discussion about gambling was needed, in part to address shame, one of the biggest barriers identified to addressing harm.

MDAS chief executive officer Rudolph Kirby said the report would be used as a springboard to open community discussion on the issue of problem gambling.

“One of the main findings of the study, and one of the challenges we face, is that a lot of people don’t identify gambling itself as a problem in the first place,” Mr Kirby said.

“They might acknowledge they have money problems or health problems or family problems, but most people don’t see gambling as a problem in itself,” he said.

“Even when they do they’re often too embarrassed to say something or seek help because of the stigma around the issue.”

Mr Kirby said the report’s findings would be a catalyst for strengthening the delivery of support services, with the assistance of funding announced by the Victorian Government last month.

The project known as “It’s not all about the money” will be funded by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation to allow MDAS and La Trobe University to work with other Elders and community members in Mildura, Swan Hill and Kerang to co-design and implement interventions.

MDAS Gambler’s Help Officer Tiffany Griffin said the work would focus on looking at how to increase the open conversations about gambling in the community.

“This is a great opportunity to first acknowledge the problem that we have, then get the community on-board to address the problem and preventing it being such a problem in future, as well,” Ms Griffin said.

“We want the community to be part of designing our education and support services so they are not only more aware of them, but feel comfortable in coming forward and asking for support for a problem they or a family member might have,” she said.

“The report also identified that one of the things that drew people to gambling venues, particularly bingo, was the opportunity to socialise and catch up with others, so opportunities for replacement activities is also an important factor that we can look at.”

The project will complement the support services already provided by Gambler’s Help MDAS.

The MDAS Social and Emotional wellbeing team can be contacted on (03) 5018 4100. Gambler’s Help services can also be access by calling 1800 858 858.

5.1 NSW Awabakal kicks off thier Healthy Lifestyle Challenge!

This week we kicked off our Healthy Lifestyle Challenge!

We had a good little bunch of starters at both our 7am and 10:30am sessions. It was so encouraging to see many of our local community members taking that sometimes scary 1st step towards improving their health.

It was awesome seeing some of our Dads team up with their sons, as Timana said ‘that’s leadership right there’.

Today was packed with fun, sweat and giggles.

It’s not too late to join us, please contact us for a rego form and make an appointment at medical to get your measurements done. Challenge yourself……

5.2 NSW : Murrumbidgee Local Health District’s Youth Vaccine Hip Hop video project

Recently the Murrumbidgee Local Health District’s Youth Vaccine Hip Hop video project was launched on YouTube.

The ‘Whatchya Gunna Do?’ video can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nW54z1cIYv8.

Through the combined efforts of locally talented youths and nationally recognised artists the project included the writing and recording of the song as well as filming the video clip with young people from throughout the Murrumbidgee Local Health District area.

The Murrumbidgee Local Health District has been eagerly awaiting the launch of ‘Whatchya Gunna Do?’

Aboriginal and Torres Strait people who visit a GP located in an AMS in the Murrumbidgee region (Riverina Medical and Dental Aboriginal Corporation, Griffith Aboriginal Medical Service or Viney Morgan) will be managed by the team at the relevant AMS.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait who visit a mainstream ‘non AMS’ General Practice, can be referred into the program to Marathon Health.

“We have been fortunate to be able to combine local youth talent with nationally recognised artists including Nooky and Nina Las Vegas,” Murrumbidgee Local Health District director of public health Tracey Oakman said.

“The youth wrote the lyrics, sang the song and participated in the video, all with the support of producer  Rahj Conkas, lyric writer Nooky and radio host, DJ and producer Nina Las Vegas,” Mrs Oakman said.

The inspiration behind the project was the Murrumbidgee Local Health District’s desire to see young people educated on the importance of vaccination.

The Murrumidgee Local Health District recently announced that the local area has the highest rate of Human Papillomavirus vaccinations across the nation and would like to see the region take the top spots when it comes to other vaccinations too.

In Australia free vaccinations from the National Immunisation Program are provided to children (at 2, 4, 6, 12, 18 months and 4 years), adolescents (Year 7 at school) and older people (Aboriginal people over 50 and others over 65 years).  Additionally free vaccines are available to people with specific medical conditions.

LAUNCH: A hip hop video has been released to promote vaccination.

LAUNCH: A hip hop video has been released to promote vaccination.

“The aim of the video is to engage with high school age youth to get them thinking about the importance of immunisation,” Mrs Oakman said.

The launch last Saturday was held as part of Wagga Wagga City Council’s Youth Week celebrations.

Mrs Oakman said the project originally came about thanks to an idea from a local health worker.

“The project is the brainchild of Leanne Sanders, Aboriginal Immunisation Health Worker,” Mrs Oakman said.

“Leanne realised many youth do not recognise the importance of being vaccinated and proposed the Hip Hop video as a way of reaching them.”

For more information on vaccinations visit the Murrumbidgee Local Health District’s website at http://www.mlhd.health.nsw.gov.au, the Murrumbidgee Local Health District’s Facebook page or by speaking to your local health professional.

The ‘Whatchya Gunna Do?’ video can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nW54z1cIYv8.

6. NT NATSIWA AMSANT 2017 Darwin Forum

Our busy schedule had the NATSIHWA professional development team land in Darwin this week to facilitate a forum to a group of Aboriginal Health Practitioners who work in a variety of roles from education to management.

A passionate and dedicated group of health professionals shared their experiences working in the Top End and engaged with our Guest Presenters, who delivered some current education to assist them in their practice.

Our members  provided valuable historical insights into the Aboriginal Health Worker role and how they continue to work diligently to advance this valuable profession across the NT.

The AMSANT Leadership and Workforce Development Team presented an outstanding informative session and received positive feedback from all attendees.

Many thanks to Jeaneen for your warm welcome to Larrakia Country, and our guest presenters for your time and commitment in assisting us to facilitate our forums.

Thanks to the Darwin mob for coming along and providing your feedback for us to take back to Canberra.  It is so rewarding to journey with you, to hear your voices and witness such strong representation in the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander health & education sector. Kudos to you all !

Photo Above L-R: Darwin forum presenters Vanessa McAndrew IBA, Marea Fittock RHD and Stehen Thompson ASD.
AMSANT Present at Darwin Forum
Photo Above L-R: Karrina DeMasi, Patrick Johnson and Sharon Wallace.
AMSANT presenters Patrick Johnson, Sharon Wallace and Karrina DeMasi provided particiapnts at NATSIHWA Darwin Forum with a powerful presentation on AMSANT services, leadership, workforce and policy.

All were impressed by their dedication and achievments, especially the NATSIHWA  team. We would like to give a huge shout out to the AMSANT Team and also thank you for allowing us to share your information with our all our readers.

 

7. SA Tackling Tobacco Team – Nunkuwarrin Yunti

 
Doug Milera, CEO of Tauondi College proudly demonstrates the college as a newly minted smoke-free environment. This means a healthier space for students and staff alike! Too deadly Tauondi. #BeHealthyBeSmokefree
8. Tas : Tasmania Aboriginal community and family events
Members of the Aboriginal community and our family’s, we are hosting one of three up-coming gatherings next – Friday, 6:00pm, 1 September 2017 at piyura kitina (Risdon Cove).
We are looking for Aboriginal community volunteers to help out for the community dinner. If your able to volunteer next Friday, please contact Kira or Rose at the TAC on – 03 62340700, 1800 132 260.

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