NACCHO TOP #JobAlerts #NRW2017 : This week in Aboriginal Health : #Doctors #GP #Aboriginal Health Workers / #Nurses / Health #Promotions

 

1.South West Aboriginal Medical Service (SWAMS)

2. Senior Drug and Alcohol Educator – Murdi Paaki Drug and Alcohol Network

3- 8 Danila Dilba Health Services Darwin  (see above graphic )

9. Aboriginal Quitline Coordinator

10.Congress ORGANISATIONAL CAPABILITY MANAGER\ Alice Springs

11. Congress EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST- CLIENT SERVICE ROLES

12. Congress General Practitioner

13.SA Aboriginal Health Educator/Liaison Officer

14. NT Medical Practitioner / General Practitioner

 

How to submit a Indigenous Health #jobalert ? 

NACCHO Affiliate , Member , Government Department or stakeholder

If you have a job vacancy in Indigenous Healt

Email to Colin Cowell NACCHO Media

Tuesday by 4.30 pm for publication each Wednesday

 1.South West Aboriginal Medical Service (SWAMS)

The South West Aboriginal Medical Service (SWAMS) is a non Government Health Service based in Bunbury which provides a variety of health services to Aboriginal people in the South West of Western Australia.  SWAMS delivers a wide range of community programs and has a strong growth strategy through partnership opportunities and future community development.

Aboriginal Health Worker (50d) Full Time

Here at SWAMS we have an exciting position available for someone looking to make a difference. As an Aboriginal Health Worker, you will be involved in assessment, care coordination, support, advocacy and community development activities.

Specific requirements of this position include but are not limited to;

Essential Criteria

  • Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders descent under section 50(d) Equal Opportunity Act.
  • Current Certificate IV (preferred) in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care.
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively and sensitively with Aboriginal people.
  • A demonstrated understanding of the unique issues affecting and impacting upon the health of Aboriginal people
  • Experience, skills and knowledge in multidisciplinary teamwork and conflict management.
  • Sound written and oral communication skills.
  • Demonstrated organisational and time management skills along with an ability to adapt to changing needs.
  • Knowledge and experience in the provision of health promotion programs.
  • Knowledge of community and local Aboriginal cultural issues.

Desirable Criteria

  • Knowledge and expertise in the use of Communicare or similar clinical database system.

All candidates must have a WA Drivers License and will be required to undertake a National Police Check prior to beginning employment.

In addition to above award wages, Salary Sacrifice is available for the right candidate .

For Information 

For further information about this position, please telephone the Human Resources Coordinator on (08) 9791 1166 during normal business hours.

To Apply

To apply for this role, please visit http://www.swams.com.au Current Vacancies and click on the role that you would like to apply for. This will take you to through the online application process. Alternatively please come and see one of the friendly HR staff who will be able to assist you in going through the online application process

Applications must be received by 5pm Wednesday, 14th June 2017

SWAMS reserves the right to withdraw this advertisement prior to the stated closing date.

To apply online, please click on the appropriate link below. Alternatively, for a confidential discussion, please contact Tia Ashwin on , quoting Ref No. 758896.

2. Senior Drug and Alcohol Educator – Murdi Paaki Drug and Alcohol Network

  • Rewarding opportunity to develop the capacity of health workers and support Aboriginal communities in the Murdi Paaki region.
  • Attractive remuneration package & excellent professional development opportunities.
  • Immediate start, contract position until 30th June 2018.

The organisation

Lyndon is a non-government organisation providing drug and alcohol services in regional, rural and remote areas, including: residential services in Orange and outreach programs to the Central West, Blue Mountains, the Murdi Paaki Region (West and Far West NSW) and Bega on the South Coast of NSW.

Lyndon provides innovative, person-centred and evidence-based programs to clients across the lifespan to improve the wellbeing of individuals, families and the community.

The role

Lyndon is seeking an experienced Drug and Alcohol Clinician for a Senior Drug and Alcohol Educator role in the Murdi Paaki Drug and Alcohol Network (MPDAN), a workforce development strategy that aims to reduce the harm done by drugs and alcohol in Aboriginal communities.

Based at the Clinical Hub in Orange NSW, the position is responsible for providing: clinical, group and practice supervision, training and education and capacity building services to primary health care providers such as Aboriginal Health Workers, D&A workers and other community service workers in the MPDAN region. An important part of this role is supporting service development of partner Aboriginal Health Services in the region.

Regular travel to the region (i.e. Bourke, Broken Hill, Walgett and Coonamble) is required.

The position is full-time until 30th June 2018.

The candidate

The ideal candidate will have:

  • Tertiary qualifications in health, welfare or related disciplines.
  • A minimum of 5 years’ experience in drug and alcohol service delivery.
  • A commitment to upskilling the drug and alcohol workforce including: evaluation, research, ongoing program development and quality improvement.
  • Experience providing education and supervision to clinical staff.
  • An ability to work in a multi-disciplinary, cross-agency and cross-cultural environment.
  • Experience working with or for Aboriginal organisations and communities.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with relevant experience and qualifications are encouraged to apply.

The benefits

Enjoy an attractive remuneration package negotiable with experience, plus superannuation, salary packaging, flexible working hours, laptop, paid travel expenses and excellent professional development and training opportunities.

How to apply

For further information on the position or to view a copy of the position description, contact RenCare Recruit on 0439 906 284 or email: renee@rencare.com.au.

 

To apply, email a cover letter (addressing the selection criteria, available at www.rencare.com.au/jobs) and your CV to renee@rencare.com.au. All applications will be reviewed upon submission.

3- 8 Danila Dilba Health Services Darwin

3.SOCIAL WORKER

(Integrated Team Care)

*Total Salary $101,200 – $106,344

Full Time / Fixed Term / 1 position

The Social Worker will be responsible for working collaboratively with patients, general practitioners, practice staff and Aboriginal Health Workers to provide appropriate multidisciplinary care and services for Aboriginal people with a chronic condition.

For further information please contact Malcolm Darling (General Manager, Darwin) on 0418 855 839 or email Malcolm.Darling@ddhs.org.au This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

APPLICATIONS CLOSE: 12 June 2017 (5pm)

All applicants must apply via the online portal (link below) ensuring they address the Selection Criteria and include current resume/CV.

 

To apply please select HERE

4.FAMILY PARTNERSHIP WORKER (FPW)

(ANFFP)

*Total Salary $66,097 – $70,920

Full Time / Fixed Term / 2 position

The Family Partnership Worker (FPW) is integral to the successful implementation of the Australian Nurse Family Partnership Program (ANFPP).

The Family Partnership Worker is responsible for maintaining high level standards of community practice, foster acceptance of the ANFPP model in the community and observe the Primary Health Care Service’s policies and guidelines. The FPW is an identified position.

joy.mclaughlin@daniladilba.org.au This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

APPLICATIONS CLOSE: 12 June 2017 (5pm)

All applicants must apply via the online portal (link below) ensuring they address the Selection Criteria and include current resume/CV.

 

To apply please select HERE

5.NURSE SUPERVISOR

(ANFFP)

*Total Salary $107,818 – $115,833

Full Time / Fixed Term / 1 position

The Nurse Supervisor will facilitate the implementation and delivery of the Australian Nurse Family Partnership Program (ANFPP) to pregnant women with an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander baby and their families using a therapeutic, partnership approach.

joy.mclaughlin@daniladilba.org.au This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

APPLICATIONS CLOSE: 12 June 2017 (5pm)

All applicants must apply via the online portal (link below) ensuring they address the Selection Criteria and include current resume/CV.

 

To apply please select HERE

6.COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER

*Total Salary $81,186 – $89,229

Full Time / Fixed-Term / 1 position

The Marketing and Communications Officer works as part of Corporate Services Team in providing quality support services to the GM Marketing and Corporate Affairs in day-to-day communications, events and stakeholder engagement.

Kyrn.Stevens@ddhs.org.au This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

APPLICATIONS CLOSE: 12 June 2017 (5pm)

All applicants must apply via the online portal (link below) ensuring they address the Selection Criteria and include current resume/CV.

 

To apply please select HERE

7.REGISTERED MIDWIFE

*Total Salary $118,730 – $123,714

Full Time / ongoing / 1 position

The Registered Midwife will contribute to the quality and delivery of primary health care within the Danila Dilba Health Service Mothers and Babies Clinic, by providing high quality, comprehensive and culturally appropriate midwifery care to patient with the aim of improving maternal and birth outcomes.

Elle.Crighton@ddhs.org.au This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

APPLICATIONS CLOSE: 12 June 2017 (5pm)

All applicants must apply via the online portal (link below) ensuring they address the Selection Criteria and include current resume/CV.

8.CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST

(P101-213)

*Total Salary $107,666

Full Time / Fixed Term / 1 position

The Clinical Psychologist is responsible for the provision of high quality mental health and social and emotional wellbeing services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. These services may include clinical evidence based counselling, brief psychological interventions, case management, trauma informed practice and coordination of care/aftercare.

This position is supported by the Team Leader, Social and Emotional Wellbeing directly and also forms part of a larger team within Community Programs.

For further information please contact Joseph Knuth (Head of Programs) on 0417 404 419 or email Joseph.Knuth@ddhs.org.au This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

APPLICATIONS CLOSE: 22 May 2017 (5pm)

All applicants must apply via the online portal (link below) ensuring they address the Selection Criteria and include current resume/CV.

 

To apply please select HERE

All Employees must hold a current Drivers Licence, be willing to undergo a Police Check and be able to obtain Ochre card clearance.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are strongly encouraged to apply

*Includes base salary, superannuation and leave loading

To apply please select HERE

9. Aboriginal Quitline Coordinator

Medibank


We’re passionate about nurturing careers.

We support new innovation and thinking, and openly collaborate and share new ideas. We’re healthy and active in our lives and wellbeing is encouraged at every level.  Our people play an important role in the future of health and healthcare and we believe that working together, we’re stronger.

About Us

Medibank is a leading private health insurer with 40 years of experience delivering better health to Australians. We look after the health cover needs of millions of customers and deliver a wide range of programs to support health and wellbeing in the community.

The Opportunity

Medibank is delivering the best possible smoking cessation outcomes for Aboriginal clients in NSW and ACT on behalf of Quitline, the Cancer Institute of NSW and Healthdirect Australia.

The Aboriginal Quitline Program provides both inbound and outbound calls to Aboriginal clients who are considering smoking cessation. We have a dedicated team of counsellors who provide specific interventions such as delivering one off counselling, focusing on quit planning, supporting with quitting (including managing withdrawal symptoms), providing strategies for relapse prevention and providing outbound milestone checks.

Joining our Relationship Management team, the Aboriginal Coordinator will provide team leadership and program direction in relation to Quitline, specifically focused on the delivery of the program to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Clients. This is a 12 month maternity leave contract and will be critical in promoting the service & liaising with Aboriginal Health workers & key Aboriginal Health & Community Controlled Services to ensure strong partnerships. The role will have a distinct community focus and will be key in the promotion of the program amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. This is a satisfyingly broad role with a range of responsibilities including:

  • Develop and implement Aboriginal Health Community Engagement Strategies for the NSW and ACT Aboriginal Quitline program
  • Foster relationships within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to promote awareness of services by travelling to identified communities;
  • Represent NSW Quitline at Aboriginal Health community events, organising and hosting promotional stalls as required;
  • Lead Aboriginal Advisory Groups with participation from key influencers in Aboriginal health groups to inform service design and the delivery of service improvement initiatives;
  • Lead engagement efforts to increase the variety of services delivered to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities;
  • Support the development and delivery of cultural education and training across the business and contribute to the Aboriginal Employment Strategy.

About You

You have exceptional communication and stakeholder engagement skills which enable you to build strong and lasting relationships across a range of internal and external stakeholders/clients and community groups. Critical thinking, decision making and problem solving skills are your strong suit as is your ability to lead and motivate others to achieve shared goals and objectives. You will also have the following skills and experience:

  • Strong community engagement experience with Aboriginal communities, ideally in health, welfare or similar;
  • Strong delivery focus; project management skills will be highly regarded;

Highly desirable – experience as a Counsellor, Registered Nurse or Allied Health Professional

This position will only be open to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander applicants – Medibank considers this to be a genuine occupational requirement under the relevant anti-discrimination legislation.

What We Offer

In return for your hard work we offer a range of great benefits. Furthermore, we take the health and wellbeing of our employees seriously, offering flexible working conditions and encouraging well-being at all levels of life.

Medibank is an equal opportunity employer committed to providing a working environment that embraces and values diversity and inclusion. If you have any support or access requirements, we encourage you to advise us at the time of application to assist you through the recruitment process.

A Career at Medibank adds up to more. More achievement. More progress. More passion and more innovation for health.

For a career option that will suit you better, click to apply.

Please note, if this position attracts a large volume of interest, the closing date for applications may be brought forward. With this in mind, we encourage you to submit your application as soon as possible.

MORE INFO

10.Congress ORGANISATIONAL CAPABILITY MANAGER\ Alice Springs

Reference: 3522029

Are you an experienced HR Generalist looking for a new challenge!

An exciting opportunity has arisen for an HR generalist to lead projects that will develop organisational capability, performance, development and engagement of Congress’ growing workforce. You will be an expert advisor at both operational and strategic levels with the ability to design and deliver practical and pragmatic solutions to develop organisational capability.

Central Australian Aboriginal Congress (Congress) has over 43 years’ experience providing comprehensive primary health care for Aboriginal people living in Central Australia.

As well as a wonderful lifestyle and rewarding work, Congress offers:

  • Competitive salaries
  • Six (6) weeks annual leave
  • 9.5% superannuation
  • Generous salary packaging
  • A strong commitment to Professional Development
  • Family friendly conditions
  • Relocation assistance (where applicable)
  • District allowance

For more information on the position please contact General Manager Human Resources, Kim Mannering on 0437 459 638 and email: kim.mannering@caac.org.au.

Applications close: Monday 5 June 2017.

*Total effective package includes: base salary, district allowance, superannuation, leave loading, and estimated tax saving from salary packaging options.

Contact Human Resources on (08) 8959 4774 or vacancy@caac.org.au for more information.

For more information about jobs at Congress visit http://www.caac.org.au/hr.

11. Congress EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST- CLIENT SERVICE ROLES

Alice Springs
Reference: 3511700
  • Client Service Officer
  • Across Multiple Sites​
  • Base Hourly Rate $25.84 – $31.10

Aboriginal Identified

Due to expansion of service locations in Alice Springs Congress is seeking experienced Client Service Officers who will provide a high standard of client service and general administrative support to various Congress Clinical Teams, the roles may involve evening and weekend shiftwork.

Congress offers the following:

  • Competitive salaries and allowances
  • Six (6) weeks’ annual leave
  • Generous salary packaging up to $30,000 per annum
  • A strong commitment to Professional Development
  • Relocation assistance (where applicable)
  • Access to selected Congress health services at no cost for self and eligible family.

Applications will be reviewed as they are received.

Application close: MONDAY 31 JULY 2017.

For more information about jobs at Congress call Human Resources on (08) 8959 4774 or email vacancy@caac.org.au or visit www.caac.org.au/hr.

Applications Close: 31 Jul 2017

12. Congress General Practitioner

Alice Springs

Reference: 3326264

  • Base salary between $179,818 and $208,556 depending on experience (includes district allowance)
  • Paid annual leave 6 weeks plus 1 week paid professional development leave
  • Flexible working conditions
  • Medicare incentive scheme
  • NFP salary sacrifice up to $30,000 pa
  • General Practice Rural Incentives Program (as at 1 November 2016). Congress operates in MM6 and MM7 regions, providing access to annual gross payments of up to $35K and $60K respectively depending on performance.
  • Working with a large team of general practitioners
  • Access to Congress provided selected medical services at no cost for self and eligible family..

Central Australian Aboriginal Congress (Congress) has over 40 years’ experience providing comprehensive primary health care for Aboriginal people living in Central Australia. Congress is seeking a General Practitioner who is interested in making a genuine contribution to improving health outcomes for Aboriginal people.

This position is based in Alice Springs with a town of 27,000 people, with good access to good schools, flights, amenities.

For more information on the position please contract, Medical Director, Sam Heard 0438 556 050 or sam.heard@caac.org.au.

For more information about jobs at Congress call Human Resources on (08) 8959 4774 or email vacancy@caac.org.au or visit www.caac.org.au/hr.

Applications will be reviewed as they are received.

Applications Close: 30 Jun 2017

13.SA Aboriginal Health Educator/Liaison Officer

GPEx is the South Australian Training Organisation which delivers training to doctors selected to specialise in general practice in Australia.

We are a provider of the Australian General Practice Training program that is administered by the Department of Health and funded by the Australian Government.

GPEx is built on GPExpertise, centered on GPExperience and is a vision of GPExcellence

The role of Aboriginal Health Educator/Liasion Officer involves liaison and engagement with core stakeholders, program partners and other GPEx staff in the implementation of the ATSI Strategic Plan.

Reporting to the Director Medical Education Operations the key responsibilities will be:

  • Assist in the planning, implementation and evaluation of the ATSI Strategic Plan.  This will include:
    • Developing and supporting the role of cultural mentors within identified Aboriginal health training posts
    • Supporting the increase of Aboriginal health training posts by assisting the identified Aboriginal Health Services in becoming accredited training posts
    • In collaboration with the AGPT team, Aboriginal health team and relevant Medical Educators, assist with the integration of Aboriginal health within GPEX’s training program
    • Help facilitate the Aboriginal Health and Culture Workshops for registrars and staff
    • Contributing to internal and external communication of the GPEx Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Strategic Plan
    • Preparing, contributing to and managing relevant correspondence
    • Assist with the development of communication strategy to promote Aboriginal health training posts to registrars.
  • Prepare internal and external reporting, submissions and grant applications as required
  • Develop and maintain successful working relationships with key stakeholdersCandidates will ideally have relevant experience working in a health, education or policy environment.Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are encouraged to apply.The position is full time until December 2018 and will be located in our new offices at 132 Greenhill Road, Unley.Further information and a position description can be obtained via our website at http://www.gpex.com.au or by contacting the People and Culture Support Officer Sarah Magill on 08 8490 0400 or via email sarah.magill@gpex.com.au.Applications to Rebecca Pit Manager People and Culture rebecca.pit@gpex.com.auApplications close Wednesday 7 June 2017.

14. NT Medical Practitioner / General Practitioner

Job No: 89281
Location: Ngukkur, Katherine region, NT
Closing Date: 8 Jul 2017
  • Rewarding opportunity for experienced GP to join a well-established Community Controlled Health Organisation! 
  • Contribute to the improvement of medical services for a number of remote communities!
  • Highly attractive remuneration package circa $330,000 including a number of fantastic benefits!

About the Opportunity

Sunrise Health Service Aboriginal Corporation now has a rewarding opportunity for a Medical Practitioner / General Practitioner to join their dedicated team in Ngukurr, within the Katherine Region of the Northern Territory.

As a Remote Medical Practitioner (RMP) at SHSAC, you will work as part of a multi-disciplinary team, led by the Director of Public Health and Planning. The role will involve provision of primary health care, support for and sharing of skills with other health centre staff and participation in key primary health care initiatives and community consultation.

To be considered for this position you must have the following:

  • Registration as a General Practitioner with AHPRA;
  • An understanding and commitment to the principles of Aboriginal community control in primary health care delivery; and
  • Broad based experience in primary health care appropriate to working in a rural/remote location.

Your dedication will be rewarded with a highly attractive salary package negotiable with skills and experience and salary packaging options.

You will be working in brand new, state of the art facility and also have access to a huge range of other benefits including:

  • 6 weeks leave per year;
  • Up to 10 days study leave;
  • Fully subsidised air-conditioned housing, utilities, subsidised phone rental and up to $100 in phone calls;
  • Salary packaging options up to $15,899 per packaging year;
  • Full support from the health team; and
  • Generous relocation and repatriation.

About the Organisation

Sunrise Health Service Aboriginal Corporation (SHSAC) is a community Controlled Health Organisation providing medical services to a number of remote communities throughout the Katherine region including Barunga, Manyallaluk, Wugularr, Bulman, Mataranka, Jilkminggan, Minyerri, Ngukurr and Urapunga.

Sunrise Health Service Aboriginal Corporation works in partnership with Northern Territory PHN (NT PHN), who provide support services to health professionals and organisation across the Northern Territory. NT PHN offers support and assistance to eligible nurses and allied health professionals who are relocating the to the NT for the purposes of employment.

Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity in which you can truly make a difference – Apply Now!

NACCHO #closethegap News Alert : INSPIRING Stories Aboriginal workforce and culture

Three

“Trying to balance my Aboriginal culture within a westernised Australian community is also very difficult. One thing I do know is that I’m proud of the many people that have fought for the rights that have given us more opportunities.

One of the key ways to improving Indigenous health will be to improve access to quality, culturally responsive, multidisciplinary care. To do this Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health needs to have a significant presence in the core curriculum of all health degrees across Australia”

Danielle Dries, 28, is one of many exceptional young Aboriginal people making their mark today. A Kaurna woman (whose traditional country includes Adelaide), she will soon graduate as a doctor.

Photo above Closing the Gap Parliamentary Breakfast presenters (from left) : Danielle Dries, a Kaurna-Meyunna woman, physiotherapist and final year medical student at the Australian National University; Katarina Keeler, a Kokatha woman and registered nurse;Dr. Artiene Tatian, an Arrente man from Central Australia and medical doctor at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney; Photo Colin Cowell

Close the Gap Campaign Lead, Tom Widdup, finds out how — despite continued high levels of Indigenous disadvantage, and a disconnect that still hinders relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australia — Danielle and many young Indigenous Australians like her are working to overcome these barriers.

What is it like being a young Aboriginal woman in Australia at the moment?

This is a very difficult question to answer.

I believe young Aboriginal women have a certain level of privilege that our parents and our elders never had. On the whole we have more opportunities, but many Aboriginal girls and women continue to suffer significant disadvantage in comparison to non-Indigenous Australians.

I’m not saying I’ve had it easy. I have experienced a lot of racism and discrimination as a young Aboriginal woman. It’s rarely blatant racism, but I am regularly made to feel less than those around me; people question why I would want to identify as Aboriginal. There’s still definitely a lack of understanding in Australia about Aboriginal history, culture and the vast diversity among our people.

Trying to balance my Aboriginal culture within a westernised Australian community is also very difficult. One thing I do know is that I’m proud of the many people that have fought for the rights that have given us more opportunities.

Why did you choose to study medicine?

I started off as a physiotherapist but am now a final year medical student at ANU. An elective subject in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, together with my Aboriginal ancestry, made me want to do more for our people.

As a physio, I couldn’t find many jobs in Aboriginal Medical Services or in remote communities, so I decided to study medicine. This opens up more opportunities to work in Aboriginal health, but also to advocate for allied health positions.

Access to services is a complex issue; and it doesn’t necessarily improve for Aboriginal people living in the city. My Nan, who is now 80 years old, has had diabetes since she was 29. Three of my uncles have diabetes as well, and two had a stroke in their 50s. All live in the city, not rural or remote locations. Levels of chronic disease are high among our people everywhere. But while living in the city has helped my grandmother live longer (with good access to multidisciplinary care) services in cities are not always accessible to Indigenous people for other reasons, such as cultural appropriateness.

One of the key ways to improving Indigenous health will be to improve access to quality, culturally responsive, multidisciplinary care. To do this Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health needs to have a significant presence in the core curriculum of all health degrees across Australia.

What are Indigenous communities saying about Indigenous health?

I hear communities saying: “too many of our people are sick” and “too many of us are dying too young”. For years there have been policies and ‘interventions’ that have been trialled and failed. There is a belief that health programs will fail before they begin, or when they do work, that funding will be cut.

This is a huge stress for our people. Communities want mainstream Australia to listen to them and understand the health problems they face; they want to have empowerment over their health and their health care.

Closing the gap will take time: health outcomes won’t improve overnight.

How do you get people to listen?

I used to get frustrated when people blamed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people for their poor health: saying things like “they’re lazy”, or “they don’t want to work”, or our problems are just alcohol and other ‘lifestyle’ diseases. As if the levels of disadvantage we face today (and the subsequent health problems we face) is a lifestyle choice.

But with guidance from both Indigenous and non-Indigenous mentors, I’ve realised that it’s not helpful to get angry or frustrated at comments like these. It just makes people shut down. I’ve learnt to be more open and understand why people have these negative stereotypes and to start a conversation about Aboriginal culture, history and the strengths of our people. Education is key.

How did you find the Closing the Gap Parliamentary Breakfast you attended earlier this month?

It was difficult to hear the Prime Minister report the poor progress in closing the health gap. We do need to remember though that it has only been 10 years since the campaign was launched and less since the Australian Government committed to take stronger action. It also highlighted for me that we need strong bipartisanship when it comes to achieving Indigenous health equality.

Another highlight of the breakfast was hearing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders Professor Tom Calma and Dr Jackie Huggins speak. They were both really inspiring and provide strong, positive role models for our youth. (I’m also really excited that Dr Huggins is going to speak at our Australian National University National Close the Gap Day event.)

What is your take on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community’s reaction to the Closing the Gap comments that came from the various party leaders?

This is something that hits the media around this time every year; there are lots of promises made, and then after a couple months it fades away. On the other hand, there is still a lot of hope. Of course people would like to see significant changes, but we’re addressing hundreds of years of disempowerment and human rights abuses. As I said earlier, this is not an issue we’re going to solve overnight.

What can you do to promote Indigenous health equality?

1. Leave a comment below
2. Share Danielle’s story
3. Sign the Close the Gap pledge
4. Register your own National Close the Gap Day event

NACCHO Health Survey News : Invite to contribute to the reform of our health system and delivering a Healthier Medicare.

New Microsoft Word Document (7)

“The Australian Government is inviting you to contribute to the reform of the health system and delivering a Healthier Medicare.

One of the priority areas is better supporting people with chronic and complex health conditions, including mental health conditions, through primary health care.

This survey has been announced alongside the release of a Discussion Paper by the Primary Health Care Advisory Group, to examine options for health reform and provide a report to the Australian Government in late 2015. Your responses to this survey will inform the Primary Health Care Advisory Group and help determine how to best improve the primary health care system.”

TO COMPLETE SURVEY CLICK HERE

Healthier Medicare

The Healthier Medicare initiative includes three priorities: the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review Taskforce; the Primary Health Care Advisory Group (PHCAG) and a review of Medicare compliance rules.

The Australian Government wishes to work hand-in-hand with health professionals and patients to deliver a healthier Medicare to ensure Australians continue receiving the high-quality and appropriate care they need as efficiently as possible.

To that end, the Australian Government has developed the ‘Healthier Medicare’ initiative to review three priority areas:

  1. Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review Taskforce

    Led by Professor Bruce Robinson, Dean of the Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, the MBS Review Taskforce will consider how services can be aligned with contemporary clinical evidence and improve health outcomes for patients.

  2. Primary Health Care Advisory Group (PHCAG)

    Led by the former Australian Medical Association President, and practising GP, Dr Steve Hambleton. The Advisory Group will investigate options to provide: better care for people with complex and chronic illness; innovative care and funding models; better recognition and treatment of mental health conditions; and greater connection between primary health care and hospital care.

    The Advisory Group is undertaking a comprehensive national consultation process to hear the views and experiences of people living with chronic and complex conditions, and people engaged in the care and management of these patients, across the health system. This will inform the advice that the Advisory Group will provide to Government in late 2015.

    The Public Information Briefing timetable and supporting resources including the Discussion Paper, Consumer document, Background Document and Online Survey can be found in the PHCAG section of this website.

ABOUT THE SURVEY

The Australian Government is inviting you to contribute to the reform of the health system and delivering a Healthier Medicare.

One of the priority areas is better supporting people with chronic and complex health conditions, including mental health conditions, through primary health care.

This survey has been announced alongside the release of a Discussion Paper by the Primary Health Care Advisory Group, to examine options for health reform and provide a report to the Australian Government in late 2015. Your responses to this survey will inform the Primary Health Care Advisory Group and help determine how to best improve the primary health care system.

Additional information on Healthier Medicare, the Primary Health Care Advisory Group and this survey are available via the Department of Health website.

Thank you for taking time to participate in this important opportunity to shape Australia’s future health system.

This survey is hosted by ORC International, an independent research company. In the course of this research, ORC International will store data in Australia and the United States on secure servers that comply with Australian Privacy Law.

At any time during the survey, you may select to save your responses to return to at a later time. To do this, click the ‘Save to return later’ button located towards the bottom left of the page. You will be asked to provide an email address, to which a return link will be sent.

Throughout the survey, blue font indicates that a definition is provided. Hover over a phrase in blue to display its definition.

Where comments are requested, please limit each of your responses to 2250 characters or less (approximately 300 words). However, up to 3750 characters (approximately 500 words) can be entered in the final question which provides you with an opportunity to add any additional comments you may have.

For any questions about the hosting of this survey, please email PHCAG_Consult@orc-surveys.com.

Formal feedback should be provided via the Online Survey which will be open from Thursday 6 August to Thursday 3 September.

3.Medicare compliance rules and benchmarks

The Government will also work with clinical leaders, medical organisations and patient representatives to develop clearer Medicare compliance rules and benchmarks. The use of new techniques such as analytics and behavioural economics will provide more information to clinicians to enable them to better manage appropriate practices. As well, more information will be available to patients about fees charged by health professionals so they can make informed choices about their health care.

For further information, please refer to these two media releases:

Abbott Government to deliver a healthier Medicare – 22 April 2015Establishment of expert groups to shape a healthier Medicare – 4 June 2015

NACCHO Healthy Futures Report Card released: Aboriginal community-controlled health services a model of good practice

 

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“Aboriginal Community Controlled health services continue to be the best way to provide primary care to Aboriginal people and are making the biggest gains in closing the gap, The report card launched today shows that Aboriginal Community Controlled health services continue to improve in all areas that measure good practise in primary health care.

“This means our services are achieving good health outcomes for the Aboriginal people they serve “

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At the launch of the Healthy Futures Report Card today, NACCHO chairperson Matthew Cooke ( pictured above)

DOWNLOAD THE HEALTHY FUTURE REPORT CARD HERE

Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations continue to improve on all key performance indicators that measure good practice in primary health care, said the peak Aboriginal health body today.

At the launch of the Healthy Futures Report Card today, NACCHO chairperson Matthew Cooke said the report showed that Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services were improving in all 16 key performance indicators.

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“Aboriginal people have shown time and time again that they prefer community controlled services because of the unique and culturally appropriate environment they provide. Demand for these services is growing at an extremely high rate of 6 per cent per year.

“This shows that we need to continue to invest in this model for primary health care which is proving to be so effective. We welcome Ministers Ley and Nash’s recent recognition of the important work of community controlled health services by guaranteeing government funding for another three years.

“With this increase in demand we are also experiencing a chronic shortage of health workers in many of our services and long waiting lists for special care so funding certainty for our services is essential.”

However, Mr Cooke said that preventative health programs as well as primary health care are needed to close the gap.

“Chronic disease is way out of proportion for Aboriginal people compared with other Australians.

“We also need preventative programs which address risk factors for chronic disease, such as by reducing smoking rates.

“Many of these core preventative programs fall under the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet’s Indigenous Advancement Strategy and unfortunately it is not yet clear whether they will be approved.

“We’re urging the Government to urgently provide funding certainty for these essential preventative programs.

NACCHO 2012-13 Annual Report: Investing in Healthy Futures for Generational Change

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Presentation from Justin Mohamed Chair of NACCHO, pictured above addressing the NACCHO members meeting in Perth this week

It is my pleasure and honour as Chairperson to once again to present to you NACCHO’s Annual Report for 2012-13

DOWNLOAD OR VIEW COPY NACCHO ANNUAL REPORT 2012-2013

“There is a way forward if only the government would listen to NACCHO” read the headline of the editorial in the National newspaper at the end of July this year.

This rousing and welcome endorsement of NACCHO and the Aboriginal community control model of health delivery was published towards the end of a huge year for NACCHO and our members as we focused on articulating our vision, delivering good policy, celebrating our successes and raising our profile on both the national and international stage.

A little over twelve months ago we resolved to approach the year ahead with a heightened sense of purpose in a bid to ensure the sector was in a pivotal position coming into the Federal election and beyond, regardless of who won office.

With new CEO Lisa Briggs at the helm, an engaged and active Board and a very hard working office, NACCHO has certainly had one of the busiest and more successful years in in its 21-year history.

NACCHO’s Ten-point Plan, Investing in Healthy Futures for Generational Change 2013 -2030

DOWNLOAD 10 point PLAN HERE

There have been so many highlights this year it is hard to know where to start but perhaps the most significant achievement was the launch of NACCHO’s Ten-point Plan, Investing in Healthy Futures for Generational Change 2013 -2030 alongside the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report card on Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services.

The ten-point plan was, for me, the realisation of 20 years of work in our sector. Throughout my career I have watched various well-intentioned governments drive the Aboriginal health agenda and dictate to our sector their plans for us to follow. Rarely have we had the opportunity to properly spell out our collective approach and provide our own vision at the national level: to drive policy rather than react to it.

The ten-point plan, created with the knowledge and experience of the Aboriginal Community Controlled health movement and timely in an ever-changing environment spells out how gains in Aboriginal health can be achieved from our perspective of “Aboriginal Health in Aboriginal Hands”.

It provides our sector, stakeholders, partners and governments with a clear set of priorities and strategies that will result in improvements in Aboriginal health outcomes.  It is underpinned by the goals and sentiments of the Close the Gap Statement of Intent signed in 2005, so it has at its core  shared vision for a better future for our people.

It was officially launched at a Parliamentary Breakfast in Canberra in June, which was attended by a range of Aboriginal leaders, elders and senior government Ministers and officials.

Healthy for report Card

DOWNLOAD REPORT HERE

At the event we also launched research we had commissioned from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare which gives a great overview of the success of ACCHOs and delivers the evidence of just how big a contribution our members are making to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal people.

The comprehensive report shows that Aboriginal Community Controlled services provide culturally appropriate primary health care to over 310,000 Aboriginal people each year, around half the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, and are credited with three quarters of the health gains made against the Close the Gap targets.

It shows our members perform over two million episodes of care per annum which is a one hundred per cent increase since this report was last handed down four years ago.

Not only are we providing more comprehensive primary services to more of our people and seeing evidence-based very real improvements in some key health areas such as mortality rates, birth weights and chronic disease. Through our membership and Affliates we are also seeing more of our people employed in sustainable and meaningful positions across the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations sector. Reports like this clearly establish the economic viability of investing in our sector and simply cannot be ignored by decision makers. Coupled with the ten-point plan, the report has enabled NACCHO to increase the intensity of our national political lobbying efforts and demonstrate our value to some of the most senior members of the Federal parliament.

This was a critical part of our strategy in the lead up to the Federal election – to raise the profile of our sector, illustrate its effectiveness and reinforce our multi-partisan approach to delivering good health outcomes for our people.

The release of the ten-point plan also helped us raise the profile of Aboriginal health in the broader, mainstream community, attracting significant national media attention.

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan (NATSIHP)

INFO HERE

The ten-point plan compliments the long-awaited National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan (NATSIHP) released by the Gillard Government in July this year.

NACCHO is proud of our influence on the content of the NATSIHP. We advocated for a health system free of racism with culture at its heart and we are pleased to see these points became an integral pillar of the final plan.

We welcome the broad national recognition of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health services as a key to success as well as an acknowledgement of the need for capacity building in our communities.

Going into 2014 our job now is to work with the new Abbott Government to advocate for a robust  implementation and delivery process of the NATSIHP toward genuine change and advances in the priority areas our sector fought hard to be included in the  plan and not lost in its interpretation during this next phase.

NACCHO’s ten-point Male Health Blueprint

DOWNLOAD PLAN HERE

Another key policy initiative highlight this year was Ochre Day and the launch of NACCHO’s ten-point Male Health Blueprint which offers tangible, practical solutions to the appalling state of Aboriginal male health. Ochre Day was a spectacular celebratory gathering of Aboriginal men from across Australia followed by a public event in Federation Mall. NACCHO’s Male Health Blueprint again attracted national media coverage and raised this important issue to the national agenda.

Building stronger partnerships

Complementing these significant policy initiatives, NACCHO has spent the year strengthening some key partnerships. In May we signed a landmark with Medical Deans Australia and New Zealand aimed at increasing medical student placements in Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander primary health care settings. This agreement will also support NACCHO’s potential to build the capacity to recruit more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medical officers.

As part of building stronger partnerships with other Aboriginal National Bodies we welcomed the invitation for the NACCHO Chairperson onto the Lowitja Institute Board, Australia’s only national health research organisation with a sole focus on the health and wellbeing of Australia’s First Peoples.

Close the Gap

NACCHO continues to work closely with our partners on the Close the Gap steering committee and as Co-Chair of the National Health Leadership Forum of the National Congress, I want to ensure a coordinated and collective voice is given to Aboriginal health in the national arena. Aboriginal Community Controlled Health services must be given due weight and provide leadership in those forums.

Partnership with the AFL

In an effort to further spread good health messages to our communities and exemplify the excellent work that is being delivered by our member organisations to the broader community , NACCHO has also been pursing a new partnership with the AFL this year. Through this partnership we hope to leverage the respect and goodwill towards the AFL in both Aboriginal and Non – Aboriginal communities, encouraging more Aboriginal men and women to consider  their health and seek out their local Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, while educating the non-Aboriginal community about the tremendous value our sector brings to the National Health system.

International

NACCHO has also been active internationally in 2013, attending the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York City where the human rights of Indigenous people in Australia and across the world were put under the spotlight as part of the Indigenous Peoples Organisation Network.

NACCHO Aboriginal Primary Health Care Summit

Closer to home NACCHO has continued its commitment to listen to and communicate with our affiliates and members. In addition to delivering regular updates and news across the sector through the NACCHO communiqué, emails and social media outlets, attending numerous member meetings, conferences and forums, as well as hosting an election planning workshop, we held the first ever NACCHO Aboriginal Primary Health Care Summit in Adelaide in August 2013.

The Summit was a direct result of the call from members at the 2012 AGM to provide a forum for our sector where we could highlight and share our achievements, celebrate our wins, address our challenges, network and learn from each other.

The Summit attracted more than 350 delegates and more than 100 speakers, covering the core themes: Governance,  Comprehensive Primary Health Care and Workforce.

It was an inspirational three days, providing an array of insights, new directions, innovation and lessons , with strong positive feedback from delegates that they would like the “NACCHO Summit” to be a regular inclusion in the annual event calendar.

The future Aboriginal Health through Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations.

 

We have achieved much in the last twelve months. Looking to the next twelve months we face new challenges and opportunities as we continue to develop our relationships with a new Federal government and work collectively in bringing genuine gains in Aboriginal Health through Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations.

I am confident our collective work to date has positioned us well for what lies ahead and I look forward to working with our partners, affiliates and members over the next twelve months as we continue to improve the heath and wellbeing of our people.

Justin Mohamed

Chair

NACCHO Aboriginal Health News : Evaluation of the Federal Indigenous chronic disease Package

Menzies delivers evaluation of Federal Indigenous chronic disease Package

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Primary healthcare policy and planning experts from the Menzies School of Health Research (Menzies) have welcomed the release of the report into the landscape of chronic disease in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

DOWNLOAD THE REPORT HERE

Chronic disease contributes to two thirds of the health gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

Commissioned by the federal Department of Health and Ageing, the Sentinel Sites Evaluation (SSE) is a holistic evaluation of the $805 m Indigenous Chronic Disease Package (ICDP) ; a federal initiative designed to improve the capacity of primary health care services to more effectively prevent and manage chronic disease among Indigenous populations.

Menzies Senior Researcher and SSE project leader, Professor Ross Baillie said health authorities around the world were struggling to re-orient their health systems to address the epidemic of chronic disease.

“in 2010, the Australian Government engaged Menzies to undertake a comprehensive evaluation of the Indigenous Chronic Disease Package, “Prof Baillie said.

“The evaluation was undertaken to inform ongoing refinements in design and implementation of the program.”

The evaluation was undertaken to inform ongoing refinements in design and implementation of the program.”

The evaluation team conducted 72 community focus groups with a total of 670 participants, and over 700 interviews with key informants from community controlled, government services and GP sectors. Findings were reported back to local health services and to government in six monthly cycles between 2010-2013.

Prof Baillie said the effective completion of the SSE shows Menzies’ capacity to inform and impact national policy with the view to maximise the potential benefit to Indigenous communities across the country.

“The challenges of providing high quality chronic illness care remain complex and will require stakeholders at multiple levels of the system to grapple with new concepts, and develop and implement sophisticated strategies to address health disparity in Australia, “ Prof Baillie said.

Professor Baillie said the implementation of the ICDP to date has shown some notable achievements. These include :

–          Improved access to primary health care services and to affordable medication for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People.

–          Improved orientation of the General Practice sector to the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People.

–          Significant steps towards the early establishment of a new workforce that is focused on health promotion and in development of local health promotion initiatives

–          Increased attention to enhancing access to specialist, allied health and team-based approaches to chronic illness care.

–          Professor Baillie emphasised that the evaluation report had been informed by frontline evidence from a variety of healthcare providers and community members. The report provides some direction for how service organisations and policy makers can build on the existing strengths of the ICDP priority areas.

–         “It is clear that the evaluation has influenced program refinement and policy discussions within government, particularly with regard to how the wide variation between regions in service capability can be addressed. This is vital to enhancing efforts to improve prevention and management of chronic illness to those Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are most in need.”

Interviews :

Interviews are available with Professor Ross Baillie. Professor Baillie is the Scientific Director of the Centre for Primary Health Care Systems and leads the NHRMC funded ABCD National Research Partnership on quality improvement in Indigenous primary health care. He is also involved in research on food supply and environmental health and housing in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Richmond Hodgson, Senior Communications and Events Officer, 0408 128 099 / communications@menzies.edu.au

Need help about breast cancer or the location of your nearest ACCHO on your SMARTPHONE or IPAD

Info Download the new NACCHO Health APP HERE

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NACCHO health news:How to improve the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal youth: a new report

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Australia can break the impasse in combating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander disadvantage by identifying and emulating elements of success, instead of constantly focusing on failures to deliver meaningful change.

This is the key finding of a landmark report into the social and emotional wellbeing of Indigenous youth, released  at a UNSW research symposium on October 10 2013.

DOWNLOAD 132 page REPORT here

UNSW’s Muru Marri, which looks at Indigenous health and wellbeing, set out to learn from successful public health programs, systematically isolating and analysing the key factors in achieving real progress, to create a blueprint for policy makers, service providers and Indigenous communities.

The report – The Social and Emotional Wellbeing of Indigenous Youth: Reviewing and Extending the Evidence and Examining its Implications for Policy and Practice – identifies the importance of tapping into knowledge from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to deliver effective and sustainable youth programs.

The work, commissioned by the former Commonwealth Department of Families, Housing, Communities and Indigenous Affairs, includes in-depth case studies, with six outstanding programs across Australia informing the report.

Researchers found the programs shared common processes such as addressing the cause of poverty and other determinants of health as well as current issues; building on the strengths of culture, community and family; using a ‘bottom-up’ approach; and recognising the importance of leadership from Elders.

The report’s lead author, UNSW Associate Professor Melissa Haswell, says the study affirms that programs that authentically embed Aboriginal ways of being and doing could assist youth to achieve profound changes in their life trajectory.

“Based on the evidence in this report, guided by Aboriginal communities themselves, we have to ask ourselves as a society ‘What do we really want for our disadvantaged youth … how committed are we to making appropriate resources available to close the gap in youth opportunity and potential?’” she said.

The Fifth Annual Research Symposium, hosted by the School of Public Health and Community Medicine brings together UNSW, local and international experts on Indigenous public health, including Patricia Anderson, Chairperson of the Lowitja Institute, Professor Michelle Chino, University of Nevada, UNSW’s Professor Lisa Jackson Pulver and other leading researchers from Muru Marri and the School, the Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity, the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre and the Kirby Institute at UNSW.
Other research topics to be discussed include:

  • Racism: a public health issue
  • The social determinants of Indigenous health
  • A campaign to cut cannabis use among Indigenous young people, the gunja brain story
  • Sexual health
  • Aboriginal health and ageing
  • The social and cultural resilience and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal mothers in prison
  • Identification of Aboriginality in general practice
  • The best way to devise and assess health programs for Indigenous populations

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VIEW FULL CROAKEY ARTICLE

Out thanks to Melissa Sweet for her continued support of NACCHO media

When it comes to improving Indigenous health, what works?

By Lisa Jackson Pulver on behalf of Muru Marri

Given their numbers and the billions of dollars spent on them, it is surprising how little is known in the wider community about the support programs which work in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. More important, why they work has rarely been studied.

That gap in health research has now been addressed substantially with the release of a report, The social and emotional wellbeing of Indigenous youth.

The report is the result of years of work by Muru Marri at the UNSW at the behest of the former Commonwealth Department of Families, Housing, Communities and Indigenous Affairs.

Too much bureaucratic effort and media attention in Indigenous affairs has focused on the negative: how government programs and policies can fail and why, how resources can be wasted and lives broken. The constant negativity only reinforces the harm being done to Indigenous people.

This report takes the opposite approach. It seeks – at long last, most will say – to identify what exactly makes good programs succeed in supporting and enabling Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to thrive and succeed.

Six programs, from Sydney, regional NSW, the Northern Territory, Queensland and South Australia, which have been working successfully for extended periods are analysed in detail, and the factors essential to their success identified.

The report was released on Friday at the University of NSW’s fifth annual symposium on Indigenous health research, Dreaming up the future of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander public health.

Associate Professor Melissa Haswell, the report’s lead author, explained the report’s approach: “We already know a lot about negative trajectories that Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander youth are taking.”

But with the programs that work, “what is happening that has helped young people move from the negative to the positive?”

From analysing the six projects, the researchers identified a series of factors critical to success. The projects all did these things – though how they did them sometimes differed in ways appropriate to each one.

The report groups the factors in four concentric layers: from the centre, the way an individual program relates to individual clients, outwards to a program’s sustainability, then to its ability to grow, and last to the outermost layer, the attitude of society as a whole to helping its marginalised members reach their full potential.

Indigenous ways of acting and being are crucial to success.

At the core, for example – the interface between program and client – ten factors are critical to effectiveness. They include:

  • working from strengths, not seeking to correct deficits
  • patience in developing a relationship, before using it to move towards positive change
  • reliability and consistency to build trust
  • facilitating connections to Aboriginal culture and community, and witnessing examples of Aboriginal leadership
  • a non-judgmental approach, using mistakes to learn better choices
  • setting rules and boundaries
  • allowing scope for choice and exploration
  • celebrating small achievements and positive changes
  • fun, creative, enjoyable, inspiring interactions.

Of the four sets of critical factors for success, Melissa Haswell says: ‘You read these and think, “Well, of course.”’

But she says, though they may seem obvious, they can get lost – as the fate of less successful programs shows.

“If we put this list of critical factors first, it will be protected and will guide future programs.”

A keynote address to the symposium from Pat Anderson, chair of the Lowitja Institute, made the case that racism has played a central role in undermining the health system’s performance for Indigenous Australians.

Another keynote speaker, Professor Michelle Chino, from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, described the health and other challenges facing Native Americans as the result of their history of dispossession and neglect or oppression – challenges which the audience will have recognised only too well from the Australian experience.

My own keynote address covered the many pathways to understanding and progress in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.

The symposium heard of progress on the Gudaga study – a longitudinal study of Aboriginal children in the Tharawal community in south-western Sydney, which after eight years has now evolved into three separate studies, of crucial importance in understanding the link between early life experience and the transition to school for Indigenous children.

Associate Professor Elizabeth Comino told a seminar session of the lengthy and careful process behind the study – the time taken to win the confidence of the community, involving its members and particularly the mothers participating in the study in decisions about the research.

Other papers covered:

  • successful programs to increase Indigenous participation in sexual health programs
  • how well GPs identify the Indigenous status of their patients
  • Aboriginal child health in cities
  • the marijuana campaign The gunja brain story
  • Indigenous and non-Indigenous participation in school studies
  • the social and cultural resilience and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal mothers in prison (SCREAM) project
  • alcohol and drug use among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men in prison
  • factors influencing access to primary health care for Aboriginal people in contact with the justice system (SPRINT)
  • Indigenous intervention research, and how it might best be designed
  • the Koori Growing Old Well Study
  • the work of the Outback Eye Service
  • cardiovascular risk among Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal smoking male prisoners.

A panel discussion, chaired by Pat Anderson with five other participants (including this writer) discussed issues facing the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander public health workforce.

The list illustrates the strength and the breadth of the research effort now under way into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health at the UNSW.  But their impressive variety and wide scope should not divert attention from the truth at their core.

In the papers, in the panel discussion, and in the Social and Emotional Wellbeing report, one theme stood out: the central importance, when researching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander phenomena, or devising programs with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, of valuing, and basing all work on Indigenous ways of learning, knowing and being.

Without that solid foundation, effort and resources will continue to be under-utilised appropriately.

• Professor Lisa Jackson Pulver is Director of Muru Marri Indigenous Health Unit at the University of NSW

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Are you interested in working in Aboriginal health?

NACCHO as the national authority in comprenhesive Aboriginal primary health care currently has a wide range of job opportunities in the pipeline.

Register your current or future interest with our HR TEAM HERE

NACCHO member good news : Apunipima Cape York Mossman Gorge PHCC named (AGPAL’s) Rural & Remote General Practice of the Year

Mossman Gorge Primary Health Care Centre (1)

“AGPAL accreditation demonstrates our ability to provide the highest quality care. This award means we are providing the highest quality of care possible in a rural and remote setting.

This award is significant as we were competing against mainstream organisations from across Australia.

To be recognised as the Rural and Remote General Practice of the Year sends a clear message that Aboriginal Health Organisations are providing the best care in the country.’’

Mossman Gorge Primary Health Care Centre – Rural & Remote General Practice of the Year

Mossman Gorge Primary Health Care Centre (PHCC) has been  named Australian General Practice Accreditation Limited’s (AGPAL’s) Rural & Remote General Practice of the Year at a gala event in Sydney on Friday September 27.

AGPAL Rural and Remote Practice of the Year Award

Mossman Gorge PHCC, the only community controlled primary health care centre on Cape York, is run by Apunipima Cape York Health Council which provides culturally appropriate, family centred comprehensive primary health care to 11 Cape York communities.

AGPAL is the leading provider of accreditation and related quality improvement services to general practices. Accreditation is based on standards developed by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.

Apunipima Program Manager: Family Health Leeona West says the award was a significant milestone for Apunipima, Mossman Gorge PHCC and most importantly, the people and communities of Cape York.

‘AGPAL accreditation demonstrates our ability to provide the highest quality care. This award means we are providing the highest quality of care possible in a rural and remote setting. This award is significant as we were competing against mainstream organisations from across Australia. To be recognised as the Rural and Remote General Practice of the Year sends a clear message that Aboriginal Health Organisations are providing the best care in the country.’

‘The people of Cape York deserve the very best care. This award recognises that our service is providing it.’

The health picture in Mossman Gorge has changed significantly since Apunipima took over the community’s small Queensland Health clinic in 2009.

‘Back then, the clinic had paper records and doctors who visited the community for four hours a week. Anecdotally, health outcomes were poor with high rates of smoking, drinking and chronic disease,’ Ms West explains.

‘Apunipima took over the clinic in December 2009, rebuilt it to AGPAL standards by June 2010, introduced electronic records and billing and was accredited by AGPAL in January 2011.’

‘We even implemented an Aboriginal patient friendly recall system which was so successful that the Brisbane Aboriginal and Islander Community Health Service copied our system for their clients.’

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NACCHO JOB Opportunities:

Are you interested in working in Aboriginal health?

NACCHO as the national authority in comprenhesive Aboriginal primary health care currently has a wide range of job oppportunities in the pipeline.

Register your current or future interest with our HR TEAM HERE

NACCHO Aboriginal health news: Closing the Gap in NT Aboriginal health outcomes

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“An Aboriginal community controlled comprehensive primary health care service?

A bloody mouthful of a description, but nonetheless a symbol and practical evidence of what Aboriginal people and their supporters have achieved—and continue to achieve.”

Chips Mackinolty NT Aboriginal health legend (Ex AMSANT)

Photograph by Therese Ritchie

This is a guest post by Chips Mackinolty that was first published, in edited form, in the NT News on 7 September 2013

NACCHO would also like to acknowledge a pay tribute to the support Chips has given NACCHO over the years

Intro Bob Gosford Crickey

After more than 30 years in the Territory, Chips Mackinolty is taking a year off: for “a pre-pension gap year” as he describes it. After all, he says, “gap years are wasted on the young”.

Across most of that time he has worked for organisations which haven’t allowed him to have a public personal opinion. This has included working for Aboriginal organisations, writing as an interstate journalist for both Fairfax and Murdoch, designing for private enterprise clients, and even a stint as a Labor Party ministerial appointee. For the last four years he has worked for the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory [AMSANT].

Apart from an irreverent political approach in his artwork, which has occasionally been touted by the NT News, Mackinolty has pretty much stayed out of the world of public opinion.

A day after quitting AMSANT, he writes an opinion piece for the NT News on an ongoing commitment: Aboriginal health. It is published on the day of the Federal election, but with no intent to influence votes. In his words, “that’s deliberate: whoever wins the election today must commit to the most successful bipartisan strategy in recent Territory history, closing the gap in Aboriginal health outcomes”. He tells a story that suggests that the Territory is hitting well above its weight.

But it’s not as simple as that, as he tells us.

Four or five years ago I made the decision to pretty much stop going to funerals. Of course since then I have been to many—too many. There came a time when it had got too much, with the vast majority of funerals for Aboriginal people. And the people were dying younger.

It was a difficult decision, for many were from the Katherine region. It might sound peculiar to readers, but Katherine was where I “grew up”. I got there in the early ’80s in my late 20s. An evening of fireworks for the third celebration of Self Government in Darwin then, bizarrely a day or so later for the final shoot in Mataranka of We of the never never with Aboriginal artists I then spent the next four years with.

But nevertheless it was a town, at that age, in which I “grew up”. Whatever I thought I had learnt on the streets of inner city Sydney were, frankly, SFA when it came to the Territory.

Most of that learning was with Aboriginal people across an area greater than Victoria: from Borroloola to Elliot; to Lajamanu and Kalkarindji and west to the Kimberley: Halls Creek, Kununurra and Wyndham. And then across via Timber Creek to Bulman, Numbulwar and Angurugu, south through Numbulwar to Ngukurr and back up through Jilkminggan, Barunga, Manyallaluk and Wugularr. It was an astonishing education in land, language and law. But it was a period I spent far too much time learning about death: the death of the artists I worked with, their families, and their children.

But I also learnt from whitefellas in Katherine: from the legendary Judy King and John Fletcher; from Francesca Merlan, Paul Josif, Mick Dodson and Toni Bauman, to Anne and John Shepherd and John O’Brien.

In different ways they, and many others, all taught me about living in the Territory.

In the late 1990s the CEO of the Jawoyn Association, the late Bangardi Lee, recruited me, Jawoyn woman Irene Fisher and Dr Ben Bartlett to put together a seemingly endless series of submissions that resulted—some years later—in the establishment of the Sunrise Health Service: an Aboriginal community controlled comprehensive primary health care service.

An Aboriginal community controlled comprehensive primary health care service? A bloody mouthful of a description, but nonetheless a symbol and practical evidence of what Aboriginal people and their supporters have achieved—and continue to achieve.

Across the NT, from remote clinics such as that run by the Pintupi Homelands Health Service to Danila Dilba in Darwin, the Aboriginal community controlled primary health sector serves roughly half our Aboriginal population, the rest through NT Government health services.

Over time, the process of privatising into the community controlled health sector will increase as services are devolved from government. It’s not been an easy process—and slower than many of us want. Nevertheless, it has had bipartisan support federally and locally for more than a decade. Famously, former CLP health minister Steve Dunham “rescued” the Sunrise Health Service in its early development stage when it met resistance from some health bureaucrats. His intervention saved what is now one of the NT’s great success stories.

The evidence, internationally, nationally and locally is that community controlled primary health care is more efficient and effective in delivering the goods.

According to recent data produced by COAG, the Northern Territory is the only jurisdiction in Australia on track to meet the closing the gap target of reducing the difference in life expectancy between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people. This is a good news story that has been barely reported in the NT outside the pages of this newspaper.

There are a number of reasons for this success. The last decade has seen a dramatic rise in hospital spending; more importantly greater resources have been distributed more equitably to the bush. The increased resources to primary health care through the Intervention, now known as Stronger Futures, has been a prime reason this has been possible.

But we are also doing it better—and in many instances better than anywhere else in the nation. For example, childhood immunisation rates in the community controlled sector is better than in many affluent suburbs down South.

And we are doing it smarter: led by the Aboriginal community controlled health sector, there has been an increased use of electronic data collection and analysis. Clinical Information Systems are used at the individual patient level to keep up-to-date, easily accessible health histories, as well as to alert clinicians to possible allergies, and efficiently prompt clinics to recall patients for regular checks as well as follow ups.

The data analysed can be tailored by individual health services, but all clinics in the NT now contribute the to Northern Territory Aboriginal Health Key Performance Indicators, which have a commonly shared set of clinical measures. Access to this data is strongly protected through privacy protocols.

The big picture of this is the capacity for these systems to allow for public health data to be analysed at a community and regional level, and for subsequent follow up. For example, a regular system of patient interaction through Child and Adult Health Checks has the capacity to identify “spikes” in particular conditions such as childhood and maternal anemia or otitis media in children.

This not only keeps an individual clinic alert to changes in local health, but also in ways to respond. This is achieved through a process called Continuous Quality Improvement [CQI], and is carried out by all clinicians at a service and the data collected is a key part of this process. For example, with otitis media it will guide individual treatment (are we always checking following the national guidelines? what evidence-based treatments are we giving? are we referring the patients to specialist diagnosis and care?), but also to the community as a whole (are we working with the council, school and families? what sort of other public health campaigns might we undertake?)

At regional level this data can be very powerful. As well as the regional Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services we already have, such as Katherine West Health Board and the Sunrise Health Service, other regions are now working together through Clinical and Public Health Advisory Groups [CPHAGs]. The CPAHGS meet regularly and work cooperatively to share experiences and data, and ways to do things better. Some have identified particular regional health problems which would otherwise might be “lost” in large scale data bases.

The Northern Territory is the first jurisdiction in Australia in which all remote clinics now have electronic health records for their patients.

Further to this, our sector, along with government clinics, has pioneered the idea of a “shared electronic health record”. Over half the Aboriginal people in the NT have signed up to such a record, and we are in the process of readying the system so as to be part of a national network. This allows, with full permission from the patient or carer at every consultation to update their health record to a data base that can then be accessed by other clinics and hospitals. For example, a patient at Ngukurr may fall ill at another community, and get the appropriate treatment through their shared electronic health record. A hospitalisation will allow the clinicians to see someone’s record, know what medications they are on, and past conditions. After discharge from hospital, the health records are updated, and an electronic discharge summary is available to the home clinic.

These and many other innovations are behind the improved statistics—but there is a long way to go. It’s a welcome trend—but the good results will flatten out and perhaps reverse if we do not tackle the other social determinants of health. These include housing, education, early childhood development, substance abuse, food security, incarceration rates and social exclusion. It is reckoned that health services alone will only be able to deal with about 25 per cent of “the gap”: the rest is down to the other social determinants.

And that’s where governments of all stripes come in, and where the need for truly bipartisan approaches must prevail. Whatever the result of today’s election, Aboriginal health remains the Territory’s major challenge. Aboriginal children yet to be born will benefit if only our politicians are working, in the words of the AMSANT slogan, “together for our health”.

NACCHO political alert: Complacent parties taking eye off the ball in Aboriginal health

Question Time in the House of Representatives

This time next week Tony Abbott could be the PM and Peter Dutton Health Minister but:

Closing the health gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians should be one of the highest priorities for government. Yet Indigenous health has barely been mentioned by either major party during this campaign.

healthy-futures-great

NACCHO chairman Justin Mohamed says the only thing missing is political attention, with indigenous health hardly mentioned so far in the federal election campaign. At the National Press Club Health debate last week Peter Dutton announced that Tony Abbott would be making an announcement before Saturday about Aboriginal health but so far nothing.

“I think to be honest both parties at different times do talk about Aboriginal community control, do talk about Aboriginal health, but I think what we’re seeing in the election process at the moment is that I would like to see more of the parties to let us know what their platform is or what their thoughts are around Aboriginal health, not just health in general.”

Mr Mohamed argues that Aboriginal community-controlled health bodies have proven their expertise and efficiency, and whoever wins government on September 7 must show greater faith in the sector.

Press release from Australian Healthcare Reform Alliance (AHCRA).

Health care is one of the most important issues to voters at this election but the policies of both major parties fail to deliver on key measures, according to the Australian Healthcare Reform Alliance (AHCRA). “Whilst there are some valuable initiatives from both sides, they fail to add up to a genuine effort to address the scale of the current health system problems.

There is insufficient action to address serious inequities in health and health care or longer term problems – they have taken their eye of the ball,” said Tony McBride, AHCRA chair.

“Closing the health gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians should be one of the highest priorities for government. Yet Indigenous health has barely been mentioned by either major party during this campaign.

“The current Labor Government has introduced some promising reforms, such as Medicare Locals and national funding of children’s dental services and more public adult services, a move that will address inequities. AHCRA therefore welcomes the Coalition’s broad support for these positive reforms, but is very concerned that there are too few details of how they will be progressed if they win power.

“Another major threat to our health system is the increasingly high co-payments faced by people when accessing care. Unless co-payments are addressed, they will continue to be a severe barrier that undermines the equity and universality of health programs such as Medicare and reverses any gains made by the reform process.

“Most importantly, neither major party has their eyes on the future and on how the looming health funding crisis in the next decade can be avoided as health care costs escalate. Neither party has a robust plan to keep people well and out of hospital by supporting prevention, by seriously addressing the social determinants of health that cause so much ill-health or by effectively managing chronic disease in the community. Without such action, the pressure on hospitals will simply grow to unaffordable levels and society as a whole and health care will become increasingly inequitable.

AHCRA welcomes Labor’s commitments to mental health, medical research, and better stroke care. But overall its initiatives and vision are far too modest.

AHCRA welcomes the Coalition’s significant investment in support for general practice teaching and the 500 additional nursing and allied health scholarships for students and health professionals in areas of need. AHCRA also supports the Coalition’s more detailed plans for mental health research and other initiatives to improve care, especially for young people. However it is concerned about the

Coalition’s plans to hand back hospitals to local rather than regional boards which will not serve consumers’ needs for a highly integrated system unless there is a universal commitment to consumer-centred care. Additionally the plan to restore the private health insurance rebate to the wealthiest Australians makes no financial or health policy sense given the take up of private health insurance has actually increased since the rebate was cut.

AHCRA strongly supports the Greens’ universal dental plan but disappointingly even they do not place health among their top ten policies.

Mr McBride called on both major parties to “address the holes in your health policies before the 7th September and commit to building on the early gains of the reform agenda. Deliver a world class health system for Australia’s future that is effective and financially sustainable by addressing equity and focussing much more on prevention and primary health care” he concluded.

Contacts:

Tony McBride, Chair, 0407 531 468;

Bruce Simmons