NACCHO health conference alert: Health Workforce National Conference to discuss Close the Gap initiatives and supporting workforce

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National initiatives to close the gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander life expectancy and to build the supporting health workforce will be discussed and debated at Health Workforce Australia’s (HWA) 2013 national conference in November.

Information and registrations here

The life expectancy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is more than 10 years less than other Australians. In 2008, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to close the gap in life expectancy within a generation by 2031.

This commitment affects all health professionals and the way care is provided.

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Greg Craven, Deputy Chair of the COAG Reform Council and Adrian Carson (pictured above ), Chief Executive Officer of the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health, will take part in a panel discussion at HWA’s conference, Skilled and Flexible – The health workforce for Australia’s future.

The session will feature a discussion on the progress made to improve health outcomes to close this gap and how Australia is tracking against its commitment. Mr Craven will also focus on flexible service delivery and funding.

“Any effort to close the gap must acknowledge that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers make an invaluable contribution,” HWA Acting Chief Executive Ian Crettenden said.

“They are often the first point of contact because Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people find it easier to access healthcare services from someone who they can relate to, who understands them and their culture.”

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Romlie Mokak, Chief Executive of the Australian Indigenous Doctor’s Association, and Janine Milera (pictured above) , Chief Executive of the Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives, will reveal initiatives underway to help increase the numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health professionals in the Australian health workforce.

Murra Mullangari – Pathways Alive and Well is a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health careers development program, established by the Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association to encourage Indigenous senior secondary school students to remain in school and pursue health careers.

Ms Milera will describe initiatives to overcome the challenge of many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people being uncomfortable using mainstream healthcare services.

More than 50 local and international speakers will explore the latest ideas on leadership, innovation and workforce reform at the event at the Adelaide Convention Centre from 18 to 20 November.

Registrations are now open for this year’s conference.

Concession tickets cost $350 and full price tickets are $600.

To attend the conference and find out more visit www.hwa.gov.au/2013conference

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NACCHO workforce news: Indigenous Doctors and Medical Specialists sign historic agreement

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Left to Right, Dr Tammy Kimpton, AIDA President and Professor Kate Leslie, CPMC Chair.

Together, powerful results can be achieved. The measure of success will be the quality of care provided to our people and ultimately, the closing of the gap in health outcomes between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the wider Australian community

AIDA estimates that there are around 175 Indigenous medical graduates and 330 Indigenous medical students. To reach population parity in the medical profession would require over 1000 additional Indigenous doctors immediately

The Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association (AIDA) and Committee of Presidents of Medical Colleges (CPMC) believe that reducing the current gap in health outcomes and life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians will be facilitated by increasing the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medical specialist workforce and by all doctors working in Australia possessing the knowledge and skills to work competently with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

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Left to Right, Romlie Mokak, AIDA CEO, Professor Kate Leslie, CPMC Chair, Dr Tammy Kimpton, AIDA President and Leslie Apolony, CPMC CEO.

The theme of NAIDOC Week this year is

We Value the Vision: Yirrkala Bark Petitions 1963. Fifty years after the Yolngu bark petitions were sent to the Federal Parliament, a landmark agreement between the national organisations representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander doctors and specialist medical colleges was signed, during NAIDOC week, at the Royal Melbourne Hospital 

 
The Collaboration Agreement will make a contribution to closing the gap in health outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians by training more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medical specialists, by improving the ways in which medical specialists work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and by mentoring future Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders in medicine.

Professor Kate Leslie, Chair of the CPMC and a senior anaesthetist at the Royal Melbourne Hospital said “Australia graduated its first Aboriginal medical graduate 30 years ago, 100 years later than comparable countries such as New Zealand and Canada. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander doctors are significantly under-represented in the medical workforce and all 15 specialist medical college Presidents are absolutely committed to leading the change with our partners AIDA”.

Dr Tammy Kimpton, AIDA President and General Practitioner in NSW, said “this agreement completes the final piece in the continuum of medical education and training. AIDA now has formal partnerships with the national bodies responsible for the education and training of doctors from entry to medical school, through the junior doctor years, into specialty training and fellowship”.

“AIDA estimates that there are around 175 Indigenous medical graduates and 330 Indigenous medical students. To reach population parity in the medical profession would require over 1000 additional Indigenous doctors immediately” said Dr Kimpton.

AIDA CEO, Mr Romlie Mokak said “whilst much has been achieved to date, this formal agreement underpins the need for strong and sustainable partnerships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous organisations”.

“Together, powerful results can be achieved. The measure of success will be the quality of care provided to our people and ultimately, the closing of the gap in health outcomes between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the wider Australian community”.

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