1. Dr Tom Calma
2. Joe Gallagher
3. Prof Pat Dudgeon
4. Selwyn Button
5. Maggie Grant
6. Tanya Lehmann
7. Jessica Black
8. Catherine Turnbull
9. Dr Ngiare Brown
10. Kirstie Parker

Facilitating Generational Change:

The following presentations showcased the many diverse ways that people enter the allied workforce. Through working with young people and communities on education/training pathways, interprofessional programs and community centred initiatives they facilitate change over generations and the young people making a difference will be the future workforce and health leaders.

1. Kate Malpass
2. Justin Cain
3. Cindy Mathers
4. Kali Hayward and Nicole Turner

Urban, Rural and Remote Innovation:

These presentations showcased innovative allied health initiatives, programs and/or services across diverse urban, rural and remote locations. They provided examples of how working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health professionals and communities can provide evidence and research around how to better meet the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,  particularly children, and innovative ways in improving quality of life in a positive way. Children are the future, and access to appropriate and relevant research, a sustainable workforce and allied health services now will support long term solutions.

1. Graham “Buzz” Bidstrup
2. Debra Hunter-McCormick
3. Dr Wendy Pearce
4. Clinton Schultz

Building the Allied Health Workforce:

The following presentations showcased the diversity of the allied health sector through initiatives, education reform, programs and/or services that are contributing to building a sustainable allied health workforce for Indigenous and non-Indigenous professionals. Through a multilayered approach from traineeships to allied health assistants to tertiary qualifications, there is an identified need for specific programs to encourage Indigenous people into the local allied health workforce and a need to build capacity of the wider allied health workforce for positive generational change to meet the needs of Indigenous Australians.

1. Denise McInnes and Kayla Kennedy-Hills
2. Marayah Taylor
3. Prof Wendy Edmondson and Bevin Wilson

Connecting Care:

The following presentations showcased members and key stakeholders’ programs and/or services that are connecting health professionals to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, families, and/or communities to improve outcomes for closing the gap such as eye and ear care and chronic disease. These collaborative approaches to change include working in partnership with allied health professionals, services and community. Professions are looking at interprofessional collaboration to meet the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples for sustainable outcomes over generations to come.

1. Kyly Mills and Samara Dargan
2. Genevieve Napper
3. Hayley Baldwin and Dr Judith Boswell
4. Elaine Dunn

Student Journeys:

The following presentations showcased some inspirational journeys undertaken by Indigenous allied health students as well as an innovative student adventure program providing allied health students with experiences in culturally rich rural areas. These stories celebrated the lived experiences of students who are modelling the commitment, attributes and skills required for success and broadening the cultural experiences of the future allied health workforce.  Through sharing their stories and programs with others they are facilitating change in their own lives, in families, communities and organisations and influencing young people to take up allied health careers in the future.

1. Emma George and Trevor Ritchie
2. Kathryn Fitzgerald
3. Di Bakon
4. Lynelle Fallon

Accessibility and Affordability of Healthcare for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples:

The following presentations showcased initiatives in research, programs and services that are impacting on generational change by increasing the accessibility and/or affordability of healthcare for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, particularly in remote and rural areas. In order to generate significant positive impacts on healthcare, this session highlighted how Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples and services can work together to improve access, affordability and availability and responsiveness of healthcare for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

1. Brendan Hooper
2. Deborah Hersh
3. Justin Files and Bob Davis

Community Driven Change:

The following presentations showcased research, best practice and community driven programs that cross the generations from young children, to students, to Elders. The important messages to emerge from this session were around how allied health professionals are leading the way in the development and implementation of culturally responsive and appropriate methods, assessments, tools and approaches that are required to positively impact on improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals, families and communities.

1. Aunty Marie Cox
2. Tara Lewis
3. Chontel Gibson
4. Nicole Turner


1. Reclaiming our Rights, Healing our Future – Healing Foundation
2. Reimagining and Rebuilding Indigenous Nations in Australia
3. Leadership vs Management in Indigenous Health – Selwyn Button
4. Critical Thinking in an Interprofessional Context – Greg Phillips
5. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health curriculum framework – Zell Dodd and Pat Maher

Keynote Speakers

Dr Tom Calma

National Coordinator for Tackling Indigenous Smoking

Dr Tom CalmaDr Calma is an Aboriginal elder from the Kungarakan tribal group and a member of the Iwaidja tribal group whose traditional lands are south west of Darwin and on the Coburg Peninsula in the Northern Territory of Australia, respectively. He has been involved in Indigenous affairs at a local, community, state, national and international level and worked in the public sector for 40 years and is currently on a number of boards and committees focussing on rural and remote Australia, health, education and economic development.

Click here to view the presentation.

Joe Gallagher

Chief Executive Officer for the First Nations Health Authority, British Columbia

Joe GallagherJoe Gallagher is of Sliammon First Nation ancestry and serves as the Chief Executive Officer for the First Nations Health Authority, British Columbia. Involved since the beginning, Joe is responsible to provide senior-level coordination and leadership to the implementation of tripartite and bilateral health plans and agreements including the establishment of a new province-wide governance structure for health services for BC First Nations peoples. His role includes the negotiation and implementation of the transfer of regional operations of First Nations & Inuit Health Branch – BC Region to the First Nations Health Authority. This includes the planning and organizational development of the First Nations Health Authority; the first of its kind in Canada.

As the CEO, Joe provides leadership in the partnership development on behalf of the First Nations Health Authority at a senior executive level with the federal and provincial governments, provincial health authorities, health professional associations and agencies. He provides strategic leadership in the creation and implementation of a new health and wellness system, drawn upon the teachings and traditions of BC First Nations. Throughout his career, Joe has worked with all levels of government, First Nations communities and organizations (in both rural and urban settings) and holds a degree from the University of Victoria.

Click here to view the presentation.

Prof Pat Dudgeon

Prof. Pat DudgeonProfessor Pat Dudgeon is from the Bardi people of the Kimberley in Western Australia. She is a professor at the School of Indigenous Studies, University of Western Australia. She is a psychologist and is well known for her significant involvement in psychology and Indigenous issues, and for her leadership in Indigenous higher education. Pat is passionate about working in ways that empower and develop Indigenous people. In 2008, Pat was the first Aboriginal psychologist to be awarded the grade of Fellow in the Australian Psychological Society. She was the first convener of the Australian Psychological Society Interest Group: Aboriginal Issues, Aboriginal People and Psychology, and has been instrumental in convening many conferences and discussion groups at national levels to ensure Indigenous issues are part of the agenda in the discipline. She has many publications in this area and is considered one of the ‘founding’ people in psychology for Indigenous people.

Her committees include Commissioner, National Mental Health Commission, Chair, Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Mental Health Advisory Group to DoHA, National Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Advisory Group, the National Indigenous Health Equality Council, the Research Advisory Committee for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation, Co Chair, Australian Psychological Society, Reconciliation Action Plan, and the Steering Committee and Founding Member of Australian Indigenous Psychologist Association (AIPA).

Click here to view the presentation.

Selwyn Button

Chief Executive Officer QAIHC

Selwyn ButtonSelwyn Button is the CEO of Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council and Chair, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service Brisbane. Selwyn has held the QAIHC CEO position since July 2010. He commenced with QAIHC in December 2009 as General Manager, Sector Development. Prior to this appointment, Selwyn was Director, Indigenous Health Policy Branch within Queensland Health.

Selwyn also has worked in a variety of government policy development roles within the Department of Education and Training. He is a qualified teacher who has also served as a Police Officer with the Queensland Police Service for approximately 6 years.

His main priority is the achievement of ‘an empowered and sustainable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Health Sector in Queensland’.

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Maggie Grant

Maggie GrantMaggie Grant is Senior Lecturer in the School of Medicine and Dentistry at James Cook University, where she is Director of Students and Coordinator of the second year of the medical program. One of Maggie’s best academic experiences was being part of the team that set up and taught JCU’s first Allied Health program, Occupational Therapy,

Maggie has had a long term interest in access and social justice in health care and in resilience building among targets of racism. This derives partly from 12 years working in Broome and Kimberly Aboriginal community controlled health services and also through family experiences of the Holocaust.

These interests were brought together when Maggie co-founded, with Catrina Felton-Busch, the project ‘Bulletproofing Indigenous Health Students and Staff Against Racism’. More recently, Maggie was cofounder of the STAR Project- StandTogether Against Racism in health, with students and staff from JCU’s Faculty of Medicine, Health & Molecular Science.

Click here to view the presentation.

Tanya Lehmann

TanyaA “country girl” by upbringing and choice, Tanya Lehmann has devoted her career to working in rural and remote health.  Graduating as a Dietitian from Curtin University in 1998, she has held roles in Community Dietetics, Public Health Nutrition, Team Leadership, Community Health Service Development and Project Management.  Since 2008, Tanya has been the Principal Consultant Allied Health for Country Health South Australia Local Health Network.  In this capacity, she leads a number of allied health workforce development initiatives, including a focus on workforce redesign, recruitment and retention, clinical governance, professional development and clinical supervision.  Tanya holds post-graduate qualifications in Clinical Education, eBusiness and Communication, and Project Management, and has recently completed the Australian Institute of Company Directors course.

Tanya has been actively involved in Services for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health (SARRAH) since 2008, President since 2012, and in this role contributed to the establishment of Australian Allied Health Forum in 2013.  A member of the Council of the National Rural Health Alliance since 2011, she is also an active contributor to national committees, projects and research.  Tanya is solutions-focussed, persistent and a passionate advocate and leader in rural health.

Tanya lives with her young family in a rammed earth house overlooking the Katarapko National Park and the River Murray, where they enjoy spectacular sunsets, falling asleep to the sounds of frogs and waking up to the morning chorus of kookaburras, pelicans and magpies.

Presentation available soon.

Jessica Black

Alaska Native Social Worker and PhD student

Jessica BlackJessica Black is Gwich’in Athabascan from the village of Fort Yukon, Alaska.  She is currently a doctoral candidate at Washington University in St. Louis and also works as a consultant for the Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments in Fort Yukon, Alaska.  Jessica’s dissertation focuses on the intersection between tribal members’ participation in governance and its relationship to well-being, both at the individual and community level.    Prior to returning to Washington University in St. Louis Jessica served as a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks in the Department of Social Work.  Part of her appointment including managing a State of Alaska Grant, which served rural Alaska students obtaining their social work degree through a cohort model.   This experience, as well as her knowledge of existing political and social events occurring in her own home area led her to pursue a doctorate at Washington University in St. Louis.  Jessica is in the final phases of collecting her dissertation data and plans to finish up her doctorate degree in the next year.  Upon completion of her PhD Jessica will continue to work with communities in Alaska to work on community-based projects as well as pursue an academic position within Alaska or the Western United States.

Click here to view the presentation.
* The findings in this presentation are preliminary and thus cannot be referenced.

Catherine Turnbull

Catherine TurnbullThe South Australian Department of Health (DH) appointed Catherine Turnbull as its new Chief Allied Health Advisor in late 2006. Since this time Catherine has held, within SA Health, the positions of A/Director Clinical Systems and A/Director Safety and Quality. In 2008 position was expanded to formally include the scientific and complementary health disciplines with the role title changing to Chief Allied, Scientific and Complementary Health Advisor SA Health.

Catherine has a passionate commitment to improving services for client. She has maintained an ongoing commitment to finding the best available evidence and led the first Cochrane Review led by social work and presented papers to the faculty staff and students of the Masters in Evidence Based Practice: Department of Social Policy and Social Work at Oxford University & also faculty staff at the Belfast University, School of Social Work in 2003. Catherine continues to support allied and scientific health staff to access evidence through the partnership established between SA Health and the International Centre for Allied Health Evidence at UniSA. This partnership has provided online evidence based journal clubs, clinical audit training and is exploring the inclusion of outcome measures in e-health records.

Catherine published “Allied, scientific and complementary health professionals: a new model for Australian allied health” (Turnbull, Grimmer-Somers, Kumar, May, Law & Ashworth 2009 Australian Health Review Feb 33:1) to end the debate about who is in and who is out in allied health. She has also published on the Workforce Evidence Based model of care with Professor Leonie Segal which investigates the contribution of allied health roles to clinical care in various settings.

It is Catherine’s aim to ensure that allied, scientific and complementary health professions have a clear voice as well as the opportunity to provide leadership in healthcare. She is also committed to listening and working with health professional associations and boards, as well as national organisations such as Indigenous Allied Health Australia, the National Allied Health Advisory Committee, Allied Health Professions Australia and the recently established Australian Allied Health Forum to ensure the health system works collaboratively to provide best practice care. Catherine is the inaugural Australian representative on the International Chief Health Profession Officers Group, initially representing the World Health Organisation’s Western Asia Pacific Rim.

Currently Catherine is also responsible for ClinEdSA which is the organisation that provides links between the education sector and the clinical placement agencies across SA. Working as part of the Office for Professional Leadership, alongside the Chief Medical Officer and the Chief Nurse, Catherine and her Allied and Scientific Health Office team, remain focused on improving the health and wellbeing of the people of South Australia through ensuring the future health workforce has skills in working with different cultures and is appropriately trained and supported to provide safe quality care.

Click here to view the presentation.

Dr Ngiare Brown

Ngiare BrownDr Ngiare Brown was one of the first Aboriginal medical gradates in Australia. She completed her medical degree at the University of Newcastle in 1992 and graduated with a Masters in Public Health and Tropical Medicine from JCU in 2000.

Ngiare is a Yuin nation woman from the south coast of NSW and is passionate about indigenous health and social justice. She was foundation chief executive officer with the Aboriginal Indigenous Doctors Association During her career Ngiare has held a variety of positions in education, mentoring, clinical practice and advocacy.

Ngiare has also held other positions as an Associate Professor and Director of the Poche Centre of Indigenous Health at the University of Sydney, and a Fellow of the Royal Australian College of General practitioners. She has been Indigenous Health Adviser to the Australian Medical Association and Manager of Preventative Indigenous Health Programs for World Vision Australia. She was the Assistant Director at the Menzies School of Health Research in Darwin, where she developed a program around child health and human rights within the child health division

In 2005 she was named the AMA’s Woman in Medicine for her contributions to the profession. She is committed to early childhood and adolescent wellbeing and has worked over the past two decades to develop an extensive international network in indigenous health.

She has made extensive contributions in research process, bioethics, policy, translation and practice within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research. She is proud of her heritage and is committed to making a difference in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through improved health.

She is a strong advocate for federal government initiatives to attract more indigenous people into health professions.

Click here to view the presentation.

Kirstie Parker

Kirstie ParkerKirstie Parker is a Yuwallarai Aboriginal woman from northwest NSW, and Co-Chair of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples. She has more than 25 years’ experience in mainstream and Indigenous print and radio journalism, communications, and management of Indigenous organisations. From 2006 until her election to Congress, Kirstie was Editor (and sometime Managing Editor) of the national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander newspaper, the Koori Mail. She is also currently a director of Reconciliation Australia, a board member of the Australian Indigenous Communications Association (AICA), and a member of the Deadly Awards Executive Academy.

Presentation available soon.

Facilitating Generational Change

Journey into Physiotherapy

Kate Malpass, Physiotherapist and NAIDOC Award Winner

Kate MalpassPresenter biography: Kate Malpass is a Noongar girl from Perth and a recent Aboriginal physiotherapy graduate. Kate was awarded the highest honour by the 2013 National NAIDOC Awards Committee National Youth of the Year for her work with Aboriginal communities and promoting physiotherapy as a career for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Kate had interaction with physio as a child and at 13 years of age she represented WA in basketball at the Under 16 National Championships and went on to captain WA teams in the under 16s, 18s and 20s. At 15 years of age she was selected for the Australian junior camp, and travelled to the AIS to train.

Education was always important in Kate’s family so when she graduated from Mercedes College in 2005 Kate was awarded the Henrietta Drake Award for achieving the highest TER of any WA Indigenous student. She was also awarded the Mercedes Medal—for outstanding achievements in her final year at high school. Kate chose physio as a career and while completing her physiotherapy degree she managed to play four years of WNBL with the Perth Lynx and West Coast Waves. She has continued to play basketball since completing her degree and moving to Melbourne this year. Kate now captains the Sandringham Sabres in the SEABL competition. She mentors young Aboriginal women through the David Wirrpanda Foundation on a weekly basis in the “Deadly Sista Girlz” program.

Off the court, Kate works at the Richmond Football Club as their first Aboriginal physiotherapist, and also privately in a Kieser Training clinic in South Melbourne. Kate is also the head physio for the under 16 AFL Australian Flying Boomerangs football team that competed at the Under 16 National Championships.

Abstract: What motivates a young Aboriginal woman to aspire to be an allied health professional that is an expert in movement and function who works in partnership with their patients, assisting them to overcome movement disorders?

This presentation will outline Kate’s journey towards becoming a physiotherapist, her work mentoring young Aboriginal women in the ‘Deadly Sista Girlz’ program and her current role as a physiotherapist for the Richmond Football Club.

As Kate knows, being an Aboriginal woman studying physiotherapy takes dedication, hard work and a strong support network. A love of sport and a fascination with the workings of the human body are also a strong motivator.

This presentation will look at some of the challenges that faced Kate as she completed her degree and some of the strategies used to overcome them. It will explore what motivates her and keeps her passion strong in this competitive and challenging career.

*No presentation available.

Y we’re needed: Gen Y – Leaders of Tomorrow

Justin Cain

Justin CainBio of presenter: Justin Cain is a trained exercise scientist from Moree, but has moved around the state of NSW and lived in many Aboriginal communities. As a student Justin was heavily involved in the National Rural Health Students’ Network in the role of Indigenous Health Portfolio representative. Now Justin is living in Canberra, ACT working as the medical education officer for the Australian Indigenous Doctors Association focussing solely on the student strategy, engagement and support. Alongside his role at AIDA Justin still works part-time as an exercise scientist and tutors a number of students studying at Wollongong. He was also a former director on the board of IAHA and is passionate about the recruitment, support and engagement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to health careers regardless of discipline.

Abstract: For many years society has labelled ‘Generation Y’ as lazy & incompetent in this presentation I’ll be addressing the myths surrounding the perceptions of ‘Gen Y’. Demonstrating how Gen Y are the leaders of the future and why time and energy need to be invested in this group of people. Because it has been shown that despite all the criticism received ‘Gen Y’ have the skills, determination and ability to move the nation forward. Skills such as communication, information technology, determination and honesty need to be nurtured with mentorship from people who have experience and already developed leadership. Capacity building is crucial for this group of people and if nurtured correctly the ability of this cohort is endless and this will be necessary if we’re to address the issues surrounding Indigenous health in Australia.

Click here to view the presentation.

Leading the way with culturally responsive training for Allied Health Assistants to bring about generational change

Cindy Mathers

Cindy MathersPresenter Biography: Cindy Mathers has been working with Aboriginal people for the last fifteen years in the health, community services and education fields. This includes remote Aboriginal communities as a nurse and a teacher. She is passionate about Closing the Gap in all areas of inequality for Aboriginal people. This current project has given her the opportunity to use her qualifications in education, adult training, mental health, community health and general nursing to develop a program that suits the learning styles of Aboriginal people and which is taught in a holistic manner that relates to their concept of wellbeing. The principle of substantive equality is informing her work which acknowledges that often a different path has to be travelled to reach the same destination.

Abstract: A shortage of Aboriginal people employed in health in our rural area sparked the development of an Allied Health Assistant trainee program in our organisation. Innovative thinking and a willingness to develop culturally responsive training have underpinned the training being provided by West Gippsland Healthcare Group (WGHG).

We have developed a workforce model that is based on the principle of substantive equality. We understand that Aboriginal trainees are often disadvantaged in their life and learning experiences, which can limit their opportunities for the future.  Therefore, we have engaged a holistic approach to our training, which reflects the Aboriginal concept of wellbeing, which is inclusive of social, emotional, spiritual and physical health.

A broad curriculum is being offered so that on graduation trainees will be able to seamlessly move into other areas of health and community service and play the vital role of providing culturally responsive care to their community. It is our view that this program will promote generational change in the trainees, their families and community.

Already our organization has benefited from the experience of having this cohort of Aboriginal trainees in the workplace and our goal to provide a pathway for a sustainable workforce in the Aboriginal community is becoming a reality. We are working collaboratively with other health organizations in our area, are being funded by the Close the Gap Funding, working closely with the Indigenous Employment Program and have found a training organization who are prepared to develop a program specifically for training Aboriginal Allied Health Assistants.

Our aim is to develop a model of delivery and a training package that will then be made available to other organizations so they can provide opportunities for Aboriginal people to gain employment in the health sector. We believe this process will culminate in ongoing employment and sustainable outcomes.

Click here to view the presentation.

A Case Study in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership and Innovation: Murra Mullangari – Pathways Alive and Well

Dr Kali Hayward & Nicole Turner


Kali HaywardDr Kali Hayward is a descendant from the Warnman people, of the Martu language group of Western Australia. Dr Hayward graduated from The University of Adelaide with a MBBS in 2005. In 2010, she completed General Practice training and obtained RACGP Fellowship in September 2010.

As well as working as a General Practitioner at Nunkuwarrin Yunti, the largest Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation in South Australia, Dr Hayward serves on the Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association (AIDA) Board as Vice President.


Nicole TurnerNicole Turner is a Kamilaroi women and one of very few Aboriginal Nutritionist in Australia. Nicole obtained a Bachelor of Applied Science in Community Nutrition early last year and is also a Board of director at Durri Aboriginal Corporation Medical Service, Kempsey NSW. Nicole sits on a large number of state and national committees, chiefly those on Indigenous Chronic Disease and Nutrition. She currently works as an Indigenous Health Academic for Newcastle University, and is involved in a large number of research projects.  She has 4 children aged 8 to 19 years and a 4 month old grandson who keep her fit and active. Nicole is very passionate about Aboriginal health and believes prevention is the answer to a lot of our health problems.

Abstract: The inaugural Murra Mullangari – Pathways Alive and Well Health Careers Development Program was run by Indigenous organisations, for Indigenous youth. The Program brought together 30 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander secondary school students in April 2013 with the aim to provide information and support on pathways into health careers. The program is based upon the Patty Iron Cloud National Native American Youth Initiative hosted by the Association of American Indian Physicians. Evaluations of this program have demonstrated the significant impact of the Program in educating and encouraging Native American students to pursue healthcare professions.

Murra Mullangari – Pathways Alive and Well has been adapted to suit an Australian context. Working in partnership with Indigenous Allied Health Australia and other peak Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health organisations, and auspiced by the Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association, the program focuses on the support, retention and graduation of Indigenous high school students, strengthening pathways into health careers, and offers leadership development. This paper will share the Murra Mullangari program objectives and results while also presenting a case study of collaboration between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peak Health Organisations at the programs level.

Click here to view the presentation.

Urban, Rural and Remote Innovation

Music as Preventative Medicine

Graham “Buzz” Bidstrup

Presenter Biography

BuzzGraham “Buzz” Bidstrup began his music career with renowned Adelaide band Fahrenheit 451. After completing tertiary studies in Mechanical Engineering in the early 1970’s, he joined fledgling band The Angels and played drums on The Angels first four albums, co writing and producing the chart topping hit “No Secrets”. After leaving the Angels he was in great demand as a session player on countless hit records including Mondo Rocks “Chemistry”, Australian Crawls’ “Reckless”, Richard Claptons’ “Solidarity”, Cold Chisels’ “20th Century” and Jimmy Barnes’ “No second prize”. He also produced and/or engineered many records including The Hoodoo Gurus , INXS, The Riptides and Nathan Cavaleri and was a founding member of Aussie rock “supergroups” “The Party Boys” and GANGgajang.

He has also written and produced film and television music and managed several successful recording artists but in 1999 he began a new chapter of his career as manager and music director for iconic Australian Indigenous entertainer Dr Jimmy Little AO, guiding Jimmys’ career until his unfortunate passing in April 2012. Buzz co produced Jimmy’s ABC album “Down the Road” and has been the CEO of The Jimmy Little Foundation since its inception in 2005, working to improve the quality of life for Indigenous Australians. He is also the Managing Director of Uncle Jimmy Thumbs up! ltd an organisation that delivers a nutrition and healthy lifestyle education program in over 50 Indigenous communities throughout QLD, NT, WA, SA and NSW.

Abstract – Background: Dr. Jimmy Little AO was one of Australia’s most well respected entertainers and a proud Aboriginal man from the Yorta Yorta clan. He had many hit records starting from the early 1960’s and continuing right though to the 2000’s when his career and public profile was again firmly in the spotlight with the ARIA award winning album Messenger. In 2002 at the height of his resurgence, his life took an unfortunate turn when (as Jimmy used to say ) his kidneys retired before he did. Jimmy undertook a regime of peritoneal dialysis enabling him to continue to travel and perform. Jimmy used his experience with kidney disease to highlight the plight of many of his countrymen and women in regional and remote communities who on diagnosis of kidney disease had to leave their homes, families and country and live in the towns where treatment was available.

In 2004 Jimmy received a kidney transplant and again used his fame and public stature to establish a Foundation in his name and to help raise awareness of the small numbers of transplant donors in Australia and of the many chronic diseases that are unfortunately so much more prevalent in many Aboriginal Australian communities. Jimmy’s commitment to improving the quality of life for Indigenous Australians continued to inspire people across Australia and when the Foundation was offered significant funding from Medicines Australia Jimmy personally directed a large proportion of the funds to another organisation to build “The Purple Truck” a mobile renal truck now based in Alice Springs.

Realising that prevention can be better than cure, Jimmy turned the Foundations attention to developing a preventative program called Uncle Jimmy Thumbs up!

Using the catch phrase “Good tucker – Long life “ the program uses music and new media to help encourage Indigenous children to lead a healthier lifestyle, eating more fruit and vegetables, replacing fizzy drinks with water and not smoking. The program employs a whole of community approach through engagement with the traditional owners and councils, schools, local food stores, health services and key community stakeholders both government and non government. The program has been successfully evaluated by Menzies Health in Darwin and has been funded by the Federal Department of Health and Ageing for the last three years.

Buzz Bidstrup will give a short overview of the history of the Foundation and Thumbs up! with powerpoint and then present a video that shows how the Thumbs up ! program works in community. The video also includes interviews with key stakeholders who have seen the results of the program first hand.

Click here to view the presentation.

Deadly Thinking – From an Aboriginal Perspective

Debra Hunter-McCormick

Presenter Biography –

Debra HunterDebra Hunter-McCormick is a Nykina woman, with connections to Bardi, NyulNyul, DjabbaDjabba and Mungala people in the Western Kimberley region of Western Australia (WA). Debra originally completed a Bachelor of Applied Science Indigenous Community Health and an Associate Degree in Aboriginal Health at Curtin University in WA and later went on to complete a Bachelor of Social Work at James Cook University in Queensland.

Debra worked in a number of positions in both WA and Queensland, eventually returning to Broome to work for about 4 years as a Child Protection Officer. Debra currently works as the Aboriginal Mental Health Coordinator for the Kimberley region in the Statewide Specialist Aboriginal Mental Health Services (SSAMHS).

Abstract: Sadly the Kimberley’s in WA has very high levels of mental illness, suicide, domestic violence, child abuse, alcohol and drug misuse, and chronic diseases which are all indicators of complex social dysfunction.  The Deadly Thinking tool is  an effective way of working with Aboriginal communities to raise awareness of these issues, improve understanding and provide strategies and pathways to help Aboriginal people address social, emotional and mental wellbeing issues in a ‘whole person, whole community’ context. This presentation talks about the value of Aboriginal Mental Health Workers, the constant need for crisis intervention work and the need to look at longer term solutions.

The knowledge held by Aboriginal Mental Health Workers of individuals, their families and communities has been instrumental in preventing clients and relapsing or ‘slipping through the gaps’. One of the key objectives of the program is to increase the number of Aboriginal people working in mental health. The program has over 50% of its workers enrolled in supported tertiary education.

Click here to view the presentation.

Current practices for assessment and diagnosis of communication disorders in Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children living in urban areas

Dr Wendy Pearce

Wendy PearcePresenter Biography: Dr Wendy Pearce is a senior lecturer at James Cook University in Townsville, Queensland, and teaches in the areas of child speech and language impairments. She also supervises speech pathology students on clinical placements at Shalom Christian College, an independent school  for Indigenous children in Townsville. Wendy’s primary research interest is in expanding knowledge of the language skills of Indigenous Australian children, with a view to improving identification of language delay/impairment in this population. She is also interested in service delivery approaches for children with speech and language disorders, particularly in schools and early childhood settings. She gained a PhD from Flinders University, in 2007 and has over 20 years prior experience working as a speech pathologist with children in early childhood settings and schools in South Australia.

Abstract: This presentation aims to provide an overview of challenges in identifying communication (speech and language) disorders in Indigenous Australian children, as described in the literature and emerging research. The focus is on children residing in urban areas and developing a framework for future research directions.

Early communication development and academic outcomes for Indigenous Australian children are lower than for non-Indigenous children. Development of spoken language skills is also linked to long term outcomes for academic achievement. This context is complicated by the fact that many urban Indigenous children begin school with a non-standard dialect of English which varies within and across communities and geographical locations. Language assessment procedures used by speech pathologists are also often culturally and linguistically inappropriate and may not elicit performance which is commensurate with actual communication competence.

It is important that speech pathologists are equipped to assess and diagnose communication disorders in Indigenous children; and are able to differentiate disorder from differences due to cultural and linguistic background. However, research evidence for appropriate assessment and diagnostic processes is largely limited to a few small studies. More rigorous future research is needed with larger and more diverse population samples. It also needs to find a balance between conventional research expectations, cultural appropriateness and face validity for the Indigenous communities under investigation.

The presentation will review current findings from the literature, and research conducted by the presenter which investigates the language skills of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in low socio-economic areas of Townsville Queensland. Firstly, a small study of 19 children aged 8 to 13 has demonstrated fundamental flaws in use of standardised language assessments with urban Indigenous Australian children. Analysis of story-telling language samples from the same group of children will explore the grammatical features of their English dialect. In addition, preliminary findings will be reported for a study of the story-telling skills of 60 children in their first year of school, half of whom are Indigenous. Conference attendees will be invited to contribute to discussion about future research directions for investigating child communication development and disorder in Indigenous Australian children.

*No presentation available.

Maintaining Strong Being: A new theory of worker protection grounded in the lived experiences and knowledges of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander SEWB Workers

Clinton Schultz

Clinton SchultzPresenter Biography: Clinton Schultz is a Kamilaroi man and a registered psychologist, he is currently employed by Griffith University School of Public Health as Lecturer of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health . Clinton is the director of Marumali Consultations, which provides cultural competence auditing and training, cross cultural psychological and business management services and Aboriginal focused mentoring and supervision. He is the author and facilitator of “Forming Culturally Responsive Practice”, a Royal Australian College of General Practitioner’s accredited cultural competence training package and a lead facilitator of the Australian Indigenous Psychologists Association’s cultural competence training for mental health practitioners.  Clinton’s areas of research include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social and emotional wellbeing, institutional racism, and cultural education in tertiary settings. Clinton is currently undertaking his PhD with Griffith University.  

Abstract: This project aims to identify the risk and protective factors to social emotional wellbeing (SEWB) perceived by SEWB workers in an effort to generate theory around worker protection for this specific population. Understanding these mechanisms will allow for more appropriate workforce mentoring, training, support, supervision, education and security. Improving in these areas will assist with maintaining SEWB for this workforce.  There is limited research conducted into the SEWB of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce.  . However numerous reviews undertaken by those that work in the field of SEWB argue that turn-over rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff are high in health services and that work associated stressors are great.  This seminar will present some preliminary findings from a PhD investigation suggesting that issues across a 2-world space are currently impacting on our workers and that there is both in and out-group factors which need to be considered.  It is hoped this seminar will further generate constructive conversation around these issues.

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Building the Allied Health Workforce

Central Gippsland Health Services Aboriginal Allied Health Assistant Traineeship Case Study 2012

Denise McInnes and Kayla Kennedy-Hills

denisekaylaDenise McInnes has worked within the healthcare system for over twenty years within metropolitan Melbourne. Originally trained in operating room nursing Denise moved into a number of middle management roles both clinical and non-clinical which enabled her to fully understand and appreciate the importance of executive leadership when initiating change programs. Furthering her career path Denise successfully worked in a variety of senior and executive management roles within Melbourne before returning to her home town in Sale, Gippsland and took up a position as General Manager Workforce Capability and Learning at Central Gippsland Health Service. This position has enable Denise to bring together her background knowledge in support of the development of the Aboriginal Allied Health Assistant traineeship and the qualification of three Aboriginal people as Allied Health Assistants at Central Gippsland Health Service.

Kayla Kennedy-Hills is one of the Aboriginal allied health assistants who completed the 18 month traineeship at Central Gippsland Health Service. Before she started her traineeship Kayla went to Sale College High School where she completed half of year 11. Kayla didn’t enjoy school and wanted to leave so when her sister informed her of the traineeship she applied straight away without knowing what an allied health assistant did. At the age of 16 Kayla went on to start her traineeship and is now working as an allied health assistant in the dietetics department at Central Gippsland Health Service. Kayla has 6 siblings in her family – 2 older brothers, 1 older sister and a set of younger twin sisters. She is currently still living with her parents and younger sisters. In her spare time Kayla enjoys playing netball and spending time with friends and family.

Abstract: This case study describes Central Gippsland Health Service’s (CGHS) experience supporting five Aboriginal people to undertake an eighteen month Allied Health Assistant (AHA) traineeships in July 2011.  The Aboriginal Traineeships were made possible due to a successful $75,000 grant awarded through the ‘Closing the Health Gap’ Department of Health initiative in Victoria.

The traineeship, aligned to CGHS vision and objectives, was designed to provide a career pathway for Aboriginal health workers and improve Aboriginal health outcomes.  The trainees varied in age from sixteen to thirty-two. Each was a resident of the community in which they trained. The majority of the trainees had left school around age sixteen with two trainees moving from school to the traineeship after year 11.

Where local people can access entry level vocational qualifications in their own community, it has been demonstrated that retention rates are high and a small but significant percentage of the graduates take advantage of the pathways available to them to progress to professional tertiary qualifications.

CGHS engaged Upper Murray Health and Community Services’ (UMHCS) Registered Training Organisation, the Australian Institute of Flexible Learning (AIFL) as the training provider because of the on-line capability, at work approach to flexible learning.

The case study outlines such things as key issues, critical success factors, key processes that led to the trainees qualifying as Allied Health Assistants and lessons learned all of which has been translated into the next Aboriginal Allied Health Assistant traineeship which commenced in March 2013.

The case study describes the alignment between the recruitment of Aboriginal Trainees, the VET traineeship model and the CGHS 2009 Strategic Plan, and the commitment to continually improve organisational capability to support trainees as part of our commitment to a self-sufficient workforce.

Five Aboriginal people commenced in the 2011 traineeship, three have qualified and two have been re-employed at CGHS in Allied Health Assistant positions with the third potentially being re-employed at a later date post maternity leave. The program has enabled sustainable change to occur within the CGHS Aboriginal Employment Strategy.

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The importance of an Indigenous Rehabilitation Assistant in a community rehabilitation service for people with neurological conditions: Achieving the best outcomes for Indigenous people throughout their rehabilitation journey

Marayah Taylor

Marayah TaylorPresenter Biography: Marayah Taylor is an Indigenous woman from Townsville in northern Queensland. Marayah’s mother is Maltese and her father is Aboriginal from the Cloncury, Mt Isa region of the Mitakoodi, Kalkadoon people. Marayah began working as a Physiotherapy Assistant at The Townsville Hospital when she participated in a government incentive program to attract Indigenous people into the Allied Health Professions. On completion of an 8 month contract with The Townsville Hospital, Marayah took up the position of the Indigenous Rehab Assistant at Community Rehab nQ, a new and innovative community rehabilitation service for northern Queensland.

Background:  During both hospital and outpatient rehabilitation for neurologic conditions, our indigenous people are often isolated from their families and community. The anxiety of being away from family often means that Indigenous people leave prematurely, and as result miss out on much of their rehabilitation. Once at home, they can also become isolated because the extensive rehabilitation and education they have received might mean they are the only person in the family who understands their condition and what to do to recover.

Purpose: Community Rehab nQ, located in Townsville, is a new, innovative inter-professional community rehabilitation program for people with neurological conditions. This presentation outlines the role of the Indigenous Rehabilitation Assistant (IRA) at Community Rehab nQ, and highlights the potential benefits of this role for Indigenous people.

Discussion: The primary role of the IRA is to liaise with and support Indigenous people during their time at Community Rehab nQ ; a familiar face that is less intimidating for participants and families that they know can relate to them emotionally, spiritually, and culturally.  The secondary role of the IRA is to share with the allied health team the personal and environmental factors which impact on each Indigenous person and the anxiety they may feel that is associated with being away from home and family that might otherwise be seen as ‘noncompliance’.

At Community Rehab nQ, the IRA carries out their role by being present during assessment, during rehabilitation sessions that might include physiotherapy, occupational, speech pathology, exercise physiology and nursing, and on home and community visits. The IRA provides support and assists with explanations of tasks the participant is required to do for their rehabilitation program. The IRA needs to be flexible in the support given to ensure each person is empowered to ‘drive their own recovery’ as soon as they can.

Using the approach taken at Community Rehab nQ, the IRA also gains skills and knowledge by interacting with other allied health professionals. This can inspire the IRA to become an Indigenous allied health professional.

Summary: The IRA makes important contributions to Community Rehab nQ, by helping staff and participants in three domains: (1) to Recognise- we all don’t fit perfectly into a box; (2) to Refine – the method of practice and make it meaningful to the participant and their family; and (3) mutual Respect- for cultural and social diversity.

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Building a Culturally Safe non-Indigenous Allied Health Workforce

Prof Wendy Edmondson & Bevin Wilson

Presenter Biographies

Prof Wendy Edmondson
Wendy EdmondsonA/Professor Wendy Edmondson, a Badimia Aboriginal woman, originally from WA, is the Deputy Director of the Poche Centre for Indigenous Health and Wellbeing, Flinders University, SA. She has worked in the Indigenous affairs arena for a total of 35 years, in the areas of education, the arts, and health. She has 20 years-experience as an educator, researcher and in curriculum design and development. Her professional responsibilities currently include a Masters of Public Health topic, Social Determinants of Indigenous Health, and the new Flinders MD topic, Health, Professions and Society: Culture and Indigenous Health, two Indigenous Health topics in Nursing, and a new topic, Indigenous Health for Health Sciences.

She has recently been nominated to the HWA Project Advisory Group for the Development of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Curriculum Framework as the MDANZ representative. She is a member of a project team for another OLT grant: Reshaping curricula: integrating culturally diverse/mental health online content to prepare work ready health professionals.

Wendy worked in the Aboriginal community controlled health sector from 2001 – 2010. She is the former CEO of the Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia, and Wirraka Maya Aboriginal Medical Service, in the Pilbara, W.A.

In 2010, Wendy was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to investigate factors contributing to improved life expectancy in Indigenous populations in Canada and the USA.

Her research involvement has included the Centre of Clinical Research Excellence (Chronic Conditions) through the NHMRC. In a landmark decision, the NHMRC awarded the CCRE grant to an Aboriginal community-controlled health organisation, the Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia, as lead investigator (she was CEO at this time), in partnership with Flinders University. Wendy was also involved in a study on urban heath inequities and Aboriginal experiences of neighbourhood life, social capital and racism through Flinders (NHMRC), undertook a scoping paper on SEWB for the CRCATSIH, and an otitis media study for the Spencer Gulf Rural Health School. (UniSA and Adel. University). She has extensive experience across a range of Aboriginal health sectors, strong networks with Aboriginal communities, community-based cultural knowledge, academic experience and research knowledge.

Bevin Wilson
Bevin WilsonBevin Wilson is an Associate Lecturer with the Poche Centre for Indigenous Health and Wellbeing where he teaches in the School of Nursing and Midwifery, School of Health Sciences and the School of Medicine at Flinders University in Adelaide, South Australia. A Secondary School Teacher for 20 years with a health/education background, Bevin was born in Barmera in the Riverland of South Australia and as such, developed close connections with the Riverland Indigenous community. Bevin also has a background working with the Southern Adelaide Health Services, initially as an Aboriginal Health Worker and later as one of seven Directors of the Southern Adelaide Health Services Board. He is currently the Topic Coordinator of HLTH2102 Indigenous Health for the Health Sciences.

Abstract: The Poche Centre for Indigenous Health and Wellbeing, at Flinders University, is responsible for the development and teaching of Indigenous health subjects across the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health. Four Indigenous academics, as well as an Indigenous Senior Research Fellow, work collaboratively with four non-Indigenous colleagues, to deliver topics in Indigenous Health, with the aim of developing culturally safe health practitioners, who understand the history of race-relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Australia.

Cultural Safety is gaining traction in Australia after the concept was first developed by Maori Mid-wives in New Zealand. Cultural Safety requires the health practitioner to reflect on his or her own cultural identity, and recognise the impact of this personal identity on professional practice. Unsafe cultural practice comprises behaviour and attitudes which diminish, demeans or disempowers the cultural identity of individuals receiving care.

Taught in the context of the social determinants of Indigenous heath, racism, discrimination, whiteness, colonisation and hegemony, the subjects developed by the Poche Centre can be challenging to students, who often embark on a journey of transformative unlearning of previously held assumptions, beliefs and stereotypes about Indigenous peoples. Students are required to develop their critical reflection skills, in a sometimes deeply self-revealing, and often illuminating, learning process.

More recently this teaching has involved the delivery of a topic called Indigenous Health for Health Sciences. Students enrolled have included those studying Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Nutrition and Dietetics, Health Promotion, Paramedics and Health Services Management.

The three Indigenous academics responsible for the teaching this topic, Bevin Wilson, Courtney Ryder, and Wendy Edmondson, will present their experiences in developing teaching material for Allied Health students, strategies for presenting confronting material, managing student discomfort, and feedback from the students themselves.

Although the numbers of Indigenous Allied Health professionals is growing, there is a critical need for non-Indigenous Allied Health professionals to transform their professional practice to one that is Culturally Safe, as they work alongside Indigenous colleagues and with Indigenous communities.

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Connecting Care

A Multidisciplinary Allied Health Partnership Approach to Improving Chronic Disease Self-management in an Urban Indigenous Population: Let’s ‘Work it Out’!

Kyly Mills & Samara Dargan

Presenter Biographies:
presenter_samaraSamara Dargan – Exercise Physiologist, Work It Out Program. Samara is a Kalkadoon woman from West Queensland. After completing her studies in Sport and Exercise Science and Clinical Exercise Physiology at James Cook University she then worked in the private sector in Townsville. In 2012, she moved to Brisbane to take on the role of Work It Out Manager with the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health. She is responsible for coordinating the chronic disease self-management program across South East Queensland.



Kyly MillsKyly Mills – Research Assistant, Work It Out Program. Kyly is a Kamilaroi woman whose family originates in Moree, New South Wales. She completed a Bachelor of Health Science in Public Health in 2012 at the Queensland University of Technology, and is currently studying a Masters of Applied Science by research degree. She works as a research assistant in the evaluation of the Work It Out Program.



Abstract: Chronic diseases disproportionately contribute to the burden of disease in Australia experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations. Effective management of these conditions is elemental in closing the life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians within a generation. Moreover, there is a need to design and implement programs which meet the unique needs of urban Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The Work It Out (WIO) Program has been implemented by the Institute for Urban Indigenous health across five Indigenous Community Controlled Medical Services in urban South-east Queensland. This program adopts the holistic view of Indigenous health and utilises a multidisciplinary allied health partnership approach to aid in chronic disease self-management within an urban Indigenous population. Multiple weekly 45 minute education sessions are delivered by health professional from fields of exercise physiology, occupational therapy, nutrition, psychology, nursing or pharmacy. This is followed by a one hour individually tailored exercise program in a group setting. Independent of the group sessions, clients have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with allied health professionals to aid in self-management strategies which are unique to their chronic condition.

The WIO program is coordinated by an Aboriginal Exercise Physiologist, with ongoing research undertaken through partnership with an Aboriginal Research Assistant and a small research team. Additionally, clients in the program range from 21-84 years, with many recognised Elders in community participating. It is this direction from Indigenous staff combined with the diversity of clients in community that makes important steps for intergenerational change within this urban population.

Fostering a mixed-methodology approach, evaluation of the WIO program is ongoing. Recent analysis of blood pressure (BP) and blood glucose levels (BGL) show promising and statistically significant decreases on both measures. In addition, preliminary evaluation of the semi-structured qualitative interviews have shown encouraging results in increasing client knowledge of chronic conditions and motivation to empower self-management, as well as self-reported improvements in social and emotional well-being and general quality of life. This presentation will outline the project in detail and report on outcomes from preliminary evaluations.

Author Details: Ms. Kyly Mills, Research Assistant – Work It Out(WIO) program, The Institute for Urban Indigenous Health (IUIH); Ms. Chantal Roder, Research Assistant – WIO program, IUIH; Ms. Samara Dargan, Manager and Exercise Physiologist – WIO program, IUIH; Dr. Alison Nelson, Workforce Development Coordinator, IUIH; Ms. Katrina Rae, Exercise Physiologist – WIO program, IUIH; Mr. David Mclaughlin, Exercise Physiologist – WIO program, IUIH; Ms. Emma Campbell, Occupational Therapist – WIO program, IUIH; Ms. Tabinda Basit, Psychologist – WIO program, IUIH; Ms. Katherine Munce, Dietitian – WIO program, IUIH; Ms. Sian Truasheim, Music Therapist – WIO program, IUIH.

*Presentation not available.

Building an eye-care program with Aboriginal communities in Victoria; a partnership approach

Genevieve Napper

Genevieve NapperPresenter Biography: Genevieve Napper is Lead Optometrist Aboriginal Services at the Australian College of Optometry and has worked in the optometry service at VAHS and other Aboriginal Health Services around Victoria for the past 12 years. After completing her optometry degree, she completed a research PhD and a Master of Public Health. Genevieve’s clinical interests also include ocular disease and therapeutics, low vision and clinical education. She is a Senior Fellow with the Department of Optometry and Vision Sciences University of Melbourne and a Board Member of the Optometrists Association Australia Victorian Division. Genevieve has also contributed to eye care education in Vanuatu. She is also a founding member of the Public Health Optometry Group and a member of the Vision 2020 Australia Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander committee and a Fellow of the Australian College of Optometry.

Abstract: The Australian College of Optometry (ACO) Aboriginal eye-care program operates in partnership with Department of Health Victoria, Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO), Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing, and Aboriginal communities around Victoria.  An optometry clinic opened in 1998 at the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service in Fitzroy. The aim is to contribute to efforts to reduce avoidable blindness in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

The National Indigenous Eye Health Survey (2008) reported that blindness and vision impairment are 6.2 times and 2.8 times, respectively, more prevalent in the adult Aboriginal population than in the non-Aboriginal population, yet 94% of vision loss is preventable or treatable and 35% of adults have never had an eye exam.

The ACO pursues a government supported, community partnership approach to improve service availability and delivery. A team of 17 optometrists has been developed to work regularly with Aboriginal communities. The ACO Aboriginal Liaison Officer strengthens links with communities and clients. The VACCHO Statewide Eye Health co-ordinator facilitates new partnerships and initiatives to enhance services.  In 2010 the Victorian Department of Health announced new eye care measures under the Closing the Health Gap program, including the Victorian Aboriginal Spectacle Subsidy Scheme that makes glasses available to Aboriginal community members for $10.  The program is overseen by a subcommittee of the state Aboriginal health forum (VACKH) that comprises relevant stakeholders.

In 2012, over 1201 members of Aboriginal communities in Victoria received an eye examination with over 1500 pairs of glasses prescribed. In 2013 eye-care services are available at 18 Aboriginal community controlled sites and ACO facilitates access to eye care at 27 mainstream sites.

The ACO has demonstrated that by working in partnership with Aboriginal communities and reducing barriers to care, it is possible to dramatically increase utilization of eye-care services.

Author Details: Genevieve Napper, Jimi Peters, Mitchell Anjou, Tim Fricke, Kulan Barney, Cheryl Vickery, Jonathan Jackson.

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COMHeLP – Best practice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ear and Hearing Health

Dr Judith Boswell & Hayley Baldwin

Presenter Biographies:

Judith BoswellDr Judith Boswell is an audiologist with many years’ experience of clinical practice and research in the field of Aboriginal Audiology. She is currently a Director and practicing Audiologist with Adelaide Hearing Consultants.




Hayley BaldwinHayley Baldwin is an audiologist with vast experience of rural/remote and Indigenous Audiology. She currently works with ear and hearing health services in the Northern Territory through the Remote Area Health Corps (RAHC).




Abstract: The impacts of otitis media (glue ear, middle ear infection) and hearing loss in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (A&TSI) peoples have been known for decades. Efforts to create and implement effective interventions and management strategies have suffered, especially in remote communities, from limited resources and poor understanding of discrepancies in cultural values and health knowledge.

Audiology as a profession has, over the past 10-15 years, attempted to improve services to Indigenous clients by increasing awareness of A&TSI ear health issues, by bringing cultural awareness and safety into mainstream audiological practice, and by highlighting tools and skills that support clinical practice with A&TSI people.

Chronic Otitis Media and Hearing Loss Practice (COMHeLP): A Manual for Audiological Practice with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians (March 2012) presents the current understanding of audiological best practice with A&TSI people, highlighting aspects of particular relevance to this population, such as the need to address issues of health literacy, the screening versus surveillance debate, and interdisciplinary collaboration for outcomes. Cases illustrating relevant points will be used to discuss best practice for Indigenous people with ear disease and hearing loss.


Author Details: Dr Judith Boswell, Adelaide Hearing Consultants; Hayley Baldwin, Audiologist Amarjit Anand, NT Hearing Services; Kathy Currie, Hearing Health Program

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Guide to Allied Health Professions in the Primary Care Setting in action

Elaine Dunn


Elaine DunnElaine Dunn currently is the National Principal Adviser – Closing the Gap Workforce Support for Australian Medicare Local Alliance and is responsible for leading the AML Alliance Closing the Gap team in working with and supporting Medicare Locals in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, particularly with implementation of the Care Coordination and Supplementary Services program and Improving Indigenous Access to Mainstream Primary Care programs.  Prior to this role, Elaine was the AML Alliance (AGPN) National Principal Adviser for a Mental Health program working with Divisions of General Practice whose communities were affected by drought.  Elaine has worked in various industries from mental health, mining, property valuation, state and local government whilst continuing being a partner in farming business near Ballarat, Victoria.


Abstract: Medicare Locals (MLs) are working towards providing high quality primary health and social care for our local community through tackling existing inequalities and introducing new opportunities to bring together all health professions (GPs, Nurses, Allied Health etc.). MLs have a responsibility to monitor the health workforce in their area and to align this to the population’s needs. A major challenge for MLs is how to fully understand the diversity in roles and services of the Allied Health professions. Collaboration with Peak bodies has been, and continues to be strengthened, as a critical factor to gain a deeper understanding of each profession. The Guide to Allied Health Professions is a key resource for MLs and the workforce they employ and/or fund.

A clear example of Medicare Locals addressing local population health needs and the critical role of allied health professionals are the Indigenous Chronic Disease Package funded Care Coordination and Supplementary Services (CCSS) program along with the Improving Indigenous Access to Mainstream Primary Care (IIAMPC) program.

The intent of the CCSS program is to contribute to improved health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with chronic health conditions through better access to coordinated and multidisciplinary care.
The IIAMPC program funds Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Outreach Workers (Outreach Workers) within the Medicare Locals network who encourage and support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to access primary health care services and to ensure follow up treatment is accessed.

Indigenous Health Project Officer positions are also being funded to provide leadership in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health issues within the Medicare Locals network, including increased awareness and understanding of the various Closing the Gap initiatives relevant to mainstream primary care.

Cases illustrating relevant points will be used to demonstrate the team approach of this workforce and how they are engaging, supporting and enabling Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients to improve chronic disease self-management and the important role of Allied Health professionals.

*Presentation not available.

Student Journeys

A new chapter for occupational therapy in South Australia

Emma George and Trevor Ritchie

Presenter Biographies:

Trevor RitchieTrevor Ritchie is a final year occupational therapy student at the University of South Australia. He has cultural ties to the Kaurna people of the Adelaide plains and is currently involved in the revival of the Kaurna language. He works as a mentor to Aboriginal students of primary and preschool ages, which has sparked a passion to work in Paediatrics with Aboriginal children. He has served on steering committees and has been a strong advocate for both Aboriginal issues and occupational therapy culturally appropriate practice within the University of South Australia. Trevor is described as a leader among Indigenous students on campus and actively involved in activities within the Indigenous Student Support Unit for the University’s Division of Health Science. Trevor was a semi-finalist in the 2012 South Australian Aboriginal Young Achiever Award.

Emma GeorgeEmma George is a registered Occupational Therapist, Lecturer in Health Sciences: Occupational Therapy at the University of South Australia, and an Associate member of IAHA. Emma is passionate about public health and primary health care, embracing principles of equity, empowerment and social justice in over 10 years of work experience through projects at local level and in international aid and development. Emma has worked, consulted and visited projects in Australia, Kazakhstan, Cambodia, Philippines, Bangladesh and India. Emma is the current course coordinator for ‘Primary Health Care Approaches in Occupational Therapy’ and supervises 4th year undergraduate, and graduate entry student ‘Participatory Community Practice’ projects. Emma has also worked as a tutor with Indigenous Students within the Division of Health Science and remains involved with supporting the Indigenous students across the division.

Abstract: The first identified Indigenous Occupational Therapist student in SA is set to graduate from the University of South Australia at the end of 2013. This is a significant moment for occupational therapy and allied health in South Australia reflecting both successful support of Indigenous students in the university program and encouraging the potential for occupational therapy in promoting health and well-being of Indigenous people.

Graduates from the occupational therapy program receive a broad education in medical sciences to social sciences and occupational therapy techniques to ensure that they can work collaboratively with people, communities and populations to do what they want and need to do. They understand that health and well-being is a process not just an outcome and that people and communities have a right and capacity to influence their own health.

Occupational therapy has an increasing focus and awareness of health issues for Indigenous people and communities in Australia. Students are now learning more about health inequity in Australia and the challenges and opportunities for allied health professionals to invest in health from a bottom-up, grassroots, community-led foundation where Indigenous people are valued, respected and can have ownership and power in decision making. Graduates are developing a greater understanding of the vital role of Indigenous health workers as well as the importance of partnership as Indigenous and non-Indigenous people work together for the health of our nation.

With the upcoming graduation of the first identified Indigenous occupational therapist in South Australia, new opportunities await. This milestone after more than 40 years of teaching occupational therapy in South Australia compels us to reflect on the lessons learned and the many more lessons that are yet to be learnt from Indigenous people and communities about health and well-being. It also provides an opportunity for a new chapter in occupational therapy in South Australia with the vision of an Indigenous Occupational Therapist, ready to be launched into the allied health professional world and to work towards reducing health inequity in Australia. In this presentation, we will share insight into support provided and experiences of Indigenous students within the occupational therapy program. The first identified Indigenous occupational therapist for South Australia will share his vision for the future as he steps into the allied health world.

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Allied Health Student Adventure in the Murchison Region of Western Australia: Go Rural Student Program

Kathryn Fitzgerald

Presenter Biographies:

Kathryn FitzgeraldKathryn Fitzgerald is a speech pathologist who has worked in rural Western Australia for 25 years. Her current role at CUCRH is in developing student placements with service learning and interprofessional principles in the Midwest of Western Australia. Kathryn also works part time in private practice. She has a strong interest in supporting rural allied health professionals and is on the Board of Services for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health.

Maeva Hall is an Occupational Therapist who has lived and worked in regional WA for more than 25 years. During this time Maeva has held a variety of positions within the WA Country Health Service including; Allied Health Manager, Multipurpose Program Project Officer, Hospital Administration, Health Information Manager, Midwest Primary Health Coordinator and WA Telehealth Manager. Maeva maintains a part time Occupational Therapy private practice. Maeva uses her breadth of experience to pursue her strong interest in health service planning and delivery that is inclusive of the use of technology (i.e. Telehealth) as appropriate for clinical, education and management purposes. In her role at CUCRH, Maeva is pursuing her interest in applied research of integrated technology, focused on chronic disease self management, service access and its impacts on the patient and provider organisation, indigenous health delivery, eLearning and education for both students and the workforce. Maeva is involved with the development and future operation of CUCRH’s Simulated Learning Centre due for completion in late 2012.

Abstract: The opportunity to pilot an Interprofessional Learning Program in Mt Magnet with students was readily accepted by both CUCRH and the University and based on the University Go Global program.

This placement provided the unique opportunity for students to immerse themselves within a remote community and  to experience and learn with a range of Aboriginal cultural mentors. It was not structured as a clinical placement, however students work with a range of school students to demonstrate clinical reasoning within this environment where the social determinants of health, culture and service access challenges thinking around clinical priorities and primary health care practices.

The focus areas included;

  • Service learning within the education setting of Mt Magnet District High School with links to wider community groups
  • Learning how to apply university learning to developing a service in a remote  area with complex needs.
  • Reflection as a key learning tool, ensuring integration of knowledge with identified need.
  • Cultural mentoring and support for greater understanding and application to practice
  • Interprofessional learning across a range of health and education professions, understanding the roles and integrating this knowledge into practice.

The assessed learning outcomes of this placement focussed around the students’ abilities in communication, collaborative practice, professionalism and client-centred service. This program specifically addresses;

  • Personal and professional progression towards attaining cultural understanding and application.
  • Demonstration of interprofessional practice in a remote service learning placement
  • Student ability to synthesize and document current influences on the healthcare system of a remote community
  • Ability to identify interventions and programs that would sustain community-based health outcomes of host sites

As a pilot program with the intention to offer this through 2014 as an ongoing program within the community, this placement is being evaluated with these results being available for inclusion within this presentation.

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Transition from Trade to Tertiary

Di Bakon

Presenter Biography:

Di BakonDi Bakon is originally from NSW, a Kamilaroi woman with origins to the Narrabri area. She is a mature aged student studying third year Occupational Therapy at James Cook University (JCU) in Townsville.

Di is currently the chair for the Indigenous Health Students Association at JCU and works hard to support success and retention of Indigenous students through peer support and mentoring students in health degrees.

She also supports the Indigenous Health Unit at JCU by participating in the Indigenous Health Careers Road show and other Indigenous ambassador activities such as Closing the Gap, Vibe Alive and FOGS. As a future Occupational Therapist her focus is in Indigenous health issues particularly children’s health, health promotion, research and policy.


Abstract: Growing up, Di Bakon moved around a lot, attending 18 schools and moving house over 30 times. She moved away from home and left school at the age of 16 and she was often told she would never achieve anything or make anything of her life.

In 1999 Di met her husband and entered the building industry, working alongside her husband who is a master builder. She loved being part of the family business, being very hands on and building dream homes for others.

It wasn’t until 2008 that she decided to try something new, while still working part time in the family’s building business. She entered a 6 month tertiary access course at James Cook University but wasn’t sure which course would be best for her at that time. She started psychology, but due to family commitments she withdrew and fell off the University’s radar for a while. Eventually she enrolled in an exercise science degree because she was interested in exercise physiology and thought it could be a good fit. It was while doing this course that she met some occupational therapy students, connecting with the underlying philosophies of this allied health discipline and it was this that determined her new path.

Doing occupational therapy, which is based upon assisting people to be able to do what they want, need or are expected to do in their everyday life, helped Di to see that she, too, could achieve her own dreams and aspirations. She realised that nothing was holding her back but her own thoughts and as she extended her thinking, she has gone from strength to strength.

*No presentation available.

Rewards of Radiography

Lynelle Fallon

Presenter Biography:

Lynelle FallonLynelle Fallon is a Waanyi woman from Mount Isa. Currently studying Bachelor of Medical Imaging at CQ University in Mackay where she has lived for the last 17 years. Lynelle is now a third year student of a 4 year degree to become a Radiographer. She is a 31 year old mature age student, married with four beautiful children aged 13 years, 9 years, 7 years and 2 years old. Lynelle was actively involved with the Mackay Parental and Community Engagement [PaCE] Program, attending workshops and meetings aimed at building relationships with key school staff and other Indigenous parents to better the educational outcomes for our children.

The life changing event of losing her brother to suicide 8 years ago was the catalyst to pursue her dreams and goals of going to university and living life to fullest.

Family, better life for your children than your own, financial rewards of a career, determination, proving to yourself that you are intelligent and smart, proving to others that you can do it, being a positive role model to family, your children, friends and community, sleepless nights studying, tears and more determination are all things that gets a student like Lynelle through her journey.

Abstract: From my life experiences thus far and becoming a Health Professional has sparked a passion for overall better Indigenous health outcomes, closing the gap, and in particular the power of higher education. I want to inspire and get the word out to Indigenous people of any age to think about the rewards of pursuing further education and getting a career in Health, whilst at the same time boosting the number of Indigenous Health Professionals in the workforce.

I was very surprised when I first found out there was only a small number of Indigenous people working or studying Medical Imaging in Australia. This is something I want to change and improve.

From my experience a lot of people in the community and some health professionals don’t know much about what a Radiographer is or does. You being a Health Professional will be of great benefit to learn more about Radiography to relate to your patients who have or will be in the care of a Radiographer.

I am excited to educate anyone and everyone about Radiography. There is a lot more to our jobs than just taking general x-rays. Radiographers need to be highly skilled in patient care building a rapport and trust of a patient almost immediately as some procedures only require a small amount of time with the patient. I enjoy the challenge of understanding and working with all of the advanced Medical Imaging technology and learning Human Anatomy and Physiology. There are many modalities that Radiographers work in such as General X-ray, CT (Computed Tomography), MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), Fluoroscopy, Angiography and Mammography. All of these imaging modalities use different equipment that is utilised to locate, rule out or diagnose different pathologies.

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Accessibility and Affordability of Healthcare for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

Closing the Gap – The challenges of Managing Medications in remote communities

Brendan Hooper

Biography: Brendan Hooper heads up Webstercare’s Professional Services with significant experience in the project and change management required to implement medication management systems.  This role has taken Brendan across Australia from large aged care facilities in metropolitan areas to remote communities with completely different challenges.  Brendan has worked closely with the founder and Managing Director of Webstercare, Gerard Stevens AM, to help revolutionise medication management in Australia.  Brendan and his team of pharmacists, nurses and clinical pharmacists, develop and implement a patient centred clinical approach to a wide variety of environments.  Webstercare is dedicated to technology and system development to achieve best practice within each individual environment and Mirrijini is the result of this dedication.

Abstract:  The management of medications in remote communities was ineffective and problematic resulting in either under-medicating or risk of medication misadventure. Medication dispensing and stock management systems in remote primary health care clinics (PHCC) were inefficient, time intensive, badly labelled and recorded, costly and did not promote or capture compliance to medication regime. This took up significant resource for the Aboriginal Health teams and adversely impacted on patient health outcomes placing them at a significant disadvantage.

Goal: The heavy reliance on manual process within this system created many of the problems. It was identified that an electronic solution was needed, which would be user friendly specifically developed for the remote indigenous environment. The system needed to be effective and standardised to enable legible medication labelling, accurate supply records and efficient stock control. The ultimate outcome needed to be improved health care and services for patients in remote and isolated communities while contributing to improved staff satisfaction.

Solution: Mirrijini (Tiwi-Aboriginal for “medicine”) Dispense System was developed in collaboration with Queensland Health, Cairns and Weipa Hospitals and 12 PHCCs, Webstercare and a private pharmacy provider. Webstercare already had extensive experience in developing sophisticated software based medication management systems used within the community and aged care environment. Webstercare created a ‘kiosk’ facilitated system incorporating barcode scanning, labelling, identification, stock control and recording of supply and administration of medications. The software interface was carefully developed to ensure an easy to use and intuitive process flow on the screen, given that many users had little or no prior experience with technology based systems, right down to the location of the icons on the touch screen.

Outcome: Mirrijini is now operating in 19 sites across far north and central Queensland, and The Northern Territory. Registered Nurses and Aboriginal Health Workers are the primary users of the Mirrijini. Using the inbuilt scanner to read the medicine barcodes and the touch screen, labels are printed and the medication is dispensed. Data feeds directly into the stock management system and automatically determines stock reconciliation activity required for that item. The real benefit though is that patients receive clearly labelled medications with administration directions designed to optimise compliance and to record it – this has a clear health outcome. Health professionals in the PHCC or the base hospital/outreach pharmacy can review a patient’s complete medication profile and adherence. Pharmacists can also log in remotely allowing them to quickly see the medications previously supplied to a patient and provide professional support as required.

Mirrijini enables efficient stock control as all medications dispensed are automatically accounted for thus reducing the incidence of out of stock medications. Reliable stock control also means the hospitals/outreach pharmacies can project future medication needs and plan ahead accordingly reducing the reliability on costly emergency supply.

Summary: Mirrijini is an efficient and accurate tool for safe dispensing of medications to patients in remote communities. It also manages inventory of medications and other consumable stock. Staff using Mirrijini have reported a significant reduction in time spent dispensing medications, improved reporting functionality, better availability of medicines through stock management and improved health outcomes for the whole Indigenous communities where Mirrijini is used. This has been achieved because patients get the medication they need when they need it and understand how take it in the right way so they achieve the desired effect. Mirrijini is a unique solution for medication management in remote primary health care clinics.

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Spreading the word about communication difficulties after stroke and traumatic brain injury in Indigenous Australians: an introduction to the Missing Voices research

Deborah Hersh

Deborah HershPresenter Biography:     Deborah Hersh, PhD, has over 20 years of clinical and research experience in Speech Language Pathology in the UK and Australia. She has presented and published in the area of acquired communication disorders (ACDs) after stroke, particularly around how people experience being discharged from therapy, professional-client relationships, group work, goal setting in therapy and experiences of Aboriginal Australians with ACD. Deborah is a Fellow of Speech Pathology Australia and Associate Professor in Speech Pathology at Edith Cowan University in Perth. She is a member of the research team on the Missing Voices project.

Abstract: Acquired Communication Disorder (ACD) is a common consequence of stroke and traumatic brain injury (TBI). These both occur at a higher rate and a much younger age in Indigenous compared to non-Indigenous Australians. ACD has a devastating impact on individuals and their families in the general population, and yet virtually nothing is known about Indigenous people’s experiences of this disorder. Their uptake of speech pathology services is minimal, and to date, short and long-term outcomes are unknown. This study will provide the first comprehensive and significant information on adult Indigenous Australians’ experiences of ACD, and one of the first in the world on Indigenous issues related to such disorders. This is also the first study to address the lack of uptake of Speech Pathology services by Indigenous Australian adults, in relation to both rural and urban Indigenous communities.

The proposed research, entitled Missing Voices, builds on a pilot study reported at IAHA in 2012, and is funded for three years (2013-2015) by the NH&MRC. It is a multi-centred study with data collection anticipated across six sites in Western Australia: Perth, Geraldton, Albany, Kalgoorlie, and two sites in the Kimberley.  Both WA Health facilities and Aboriginal Medical Services will participate in data collection, with an Aboriginal liaison person appointed at each site. This person will lead participant recruitment at their site, assist in data collection and liaise with the local Aboriginal community in order to facilitate strong two-way communication between the research team and the local community.

The project aims to: investigate the extent and impact of ACD in urban and rural Western Australian Indigenous populations following stroke or TBI, to develop and validate a culturally appropriate assessment tool for use by health professionals working with this population, to explore how Indigenous people post-stroke or TBI, their family members and health professionals feel about ACDs and rehabilitation services, and to develop potential alternative service delivery models that are accessible and culturally appropriate.

This presentation seeks to spread the word about this important project, to raise awareness of acquired communication disorders following stroke or TBI, and to start discussions about how the project can inform speech pathology services, making them more accessible, tailored to meet the needs of Indigenous people and their families, and integrated into both Indigenous allied health services and communities. Our approach is underpinned by capacity building of Aboriginal researchers and services, and fostering knowledge exchange.

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Building Allied Health Capacity in Far West NSW

Bob Davis & Justin Files

Presenter: Bob Davis
Bob Davis is the Chief Executive Officer of Maari Ma Health, an Aboriginal community controlled health organisation dedicated to improving health outcomes for communities in the far west region of New South Wales with a special focus on Aboriginal health. He has over 25 years’ experience at Chief Executive Officer/Executive Director level in Aboriginal health in Government and non-Government organisations in NSW and Cape York, Queensland. He specialises in the management of innovative complex community based Aboriginal health models that are flexible, sustainable whole of community approaches to care. His previous appointments include Chief Executive Officer of the Biripi Aboriginal Health Corporation, the Cape York Health Council and the Partnership for Care Aboriginal Coordinated Care Trial and held senior positions with the former National Aboriginal and Islander Health Organisation, the Aboriginal Health Research Council of NSW, Director Of Aboriginal Health in the Mid North Coast Area Health Service and more recently Chief of Staff at the Redfern Aboriginal Medical Service. In 2007 he joined the NSW Aboriginal Land Council and became Director of Land Policy and Research prior to being appointed as Chief Executive Officer of Maari Ma Health. He is a Dhungutti man from the north coast of NSW.

Presenter: Justin Files
Justin Files is a Barkindji man from the Darling River and is number 16 of 99 descendants of his Barkindji Elder grandmother. He was raised in Menindee, a small community situated in remote New South Wales Australia. He is the second eldest of five siblings and the uncle to 2 nephews and 7 nieces. Justin graduated from Charles Sturt University with a Bachelor of Health Science Mental Health, and is currently the Manager, Maari Ma Primary Health Care Service. Justin currently resides in Broken Hill known as the Silver City (population of approximately 20 000 people). Justin loves living in rural Australia, as long as he visits the major cities “now and then”. He is passionate about his Indigenous culture, and enjoys learning about his family’s history and genealogy. In addition to learning about his culture, Justin appreciates and embraces the diversity of cultures around the world.


Abstract:  The Outback Vascular Health Service (OVHS) is an outreach service which delivers a vascular health speciality service to communities of Far West New South Wales (NSW). It represents a collaborative program between Maari Ma Health Aboriginal Corporation (Maari Ma) and The George Institute for Global Health (the George Institute) that has sought institutional support through partnership with Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPAH). The OVHS has been funded by the Scully Fund and through the Commonwealth Government’s Medical Specialist Outreach Assistance Program. It aimed to build the capacity of local primary care providers and in particular to support GPs and allied health staff in the management of vascular disease related chronic and complex illness.

Maari Ma Health, established in 1995, is an Aboriginal community controlled regional health service. The corporation’s directors represent six communities in the region: Broken Hill, Ivanhoe, Menindee, Wilcannia, Balranald, and Tibooburra. The corporation covers a vast area, approximately 200,000 square kilometres or just under one third of the state of NSW. The population is approximately 30,000 of whom 20,000 people reside in Broken Hill. The region has a high proportion of Aboriginal Australians and the OVHS primarily services the Aboriginal community in Broken Hill and the towns in the area surrounding Broken Hill within the Central Darling Shire, namely the towns of Wilcannia, Menindee and Ivanhoe.

Maari Ma developed its Chronic Disease Strategy in 2005 in response to the vision and direction of Maari Ma’s Board of Directors at the time, which identified the prevention and management of chronic diseases as one of its major priorities. This strategy aimed to create systems to support self-care, link community health services with hospital services and link medical care with a public health approach. The OVHS was seen as one of the key features to support successful implementation of the Chronic Disease Strategy.

An evaluation of the OVHS was commissioned by Maari Ma and conducted by the George Institute for Global Health between Feb 2012 and October 2012. This evaluation assessed the performance of the OVHS model of care, its processes of implementation and determine the quality of care delivered to OVHS clients. The evaluation represents a snapshot of the service; however, due to the dynamic nature of the service, there have undoubtedly been further developments and changes.

*No presentation available

Community Driven Change

Protective Behaviours Community Way

Aunty Marie Cox

Marie CoxBiography: Marie Cox is an Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander woman form Broome in the Kimberly’s. Her husband is a Bardi Nimunburr man from the Dampier Peninsular they have four children and six grandchildren. Marie has been a long term staff of the Kimberly Aboriginal Medical Services Council Inc for 20 years. She did the Health Worker course with KAMSC IN 1990 and was employed at the Broome Regional Aboriginal Medical Services and the Beagle Bay Clinic as a Health Worker.

In 1993 Marie was employed at KAMSC working in the area of Health Promotions developing appropriate resources for her people. During her time she was a part of H.E.A.T works using innovative ideas using theatre as a medium for health promotions. The Good Feeling—Drugs and Alcohol, No Prejudice –HIV Aids play and Desert Acrobats encompassing circus and acrobats for self-esteem. Moving Stories was Therapeutic Theatre for Counselling using playback theatre and Cultural Action working with community in the East and West Kimberly’s. After 10 years plus moving to the regional Centre for Social Emotional Wellbeing, working in the cold face among her people with child sexual abuse ,suicide ,domestic violence counselling and supporting clients that came to the centre.

In 2002 Marie contributed to the development of the KAMSC Protective Behaviours Community Way Package with the Peninsular Woman Group and KAMSC staff.

She is now working in the Work Support Training unit at KAMSC SEWB Unit. Marie has qualifications in the Diploma of Counselling and Aboriginal Health worker. She is a Master trainer, who delivers Aboriginal Mental Health First Aid and Protective Behaviours training to community and agencies throughout the Kimberley and Pilbara regions.

Absrtract: 11 years ago an Aboriginal girl came face to face with her abuser in her community. The retraumatisation the young girl experienced motivated a group of Aboriginal community Women to come up with a way to teach young people how to protect themselves from violence. The program also looks at addressing domestic violence in the community. The program is called ‘Protective Behaviours Community Way’ and is a living skills and personal safety program. It can be used in a non-threatening way of looking at specific areas such as child sexual abuse and domestic violence.

The safety package is developed to be used as an educational program to be used by families, teachers, health workers and community groups when interacting with children.

  • The Protective Behaviours Community Way Package aims to:
  • Teach our children to be strong and feel safe in their homes and community.
  • Tell them that they can talk about good and bad secrets.
  • There are people who they can trust and will listen and support them.
  • Concepts and ideas had been inspired by KAMSC Regional Centre for Social and Emotional Wellbeing staff and members of the Peninsular Women’s Group.

This program is an Aboriginal initiated, developed, facilitated and owned program. In 2013 the Protective Behaviours Community Way celebrated its 10th Anniversary.

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A Culturally-Safe Communication Assessment for Urban Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children

Tara Lewis

 Tara LewisPresenter Biographies: Tara Lewis is a Jiman woman from the Taroom country of Western Queensland. She grew up in Brisbane and graduated with a Bachelor of Speech Pathology in 2002. Tara has a passion for working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and has been working in that area for 11 years. Tara currently works with the ‘Institute for Urban Indigenous Health’ in Brisbane where she is the clinical lead in speech pathology, provides clinical Speech Pathology Services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and provides supervision to students on prac placements. Tara is also a guest lecturer at the University of Queensland and James Cook University. She also runs a private practice called ‘All About Speech’ and provides accessible and affordable services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children through Medicare bulk billing.

Catherine Castan graduated with Bachelor of Speech Pathology with Honours from the University of Queensland. She is currently working with the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health where she provides Speech Pathology Services to children and their families at the Yulu-Burri-Ba Mums and Bubs clinic, Capalaba and at the Aboriginal and Islander Independent Community School in Brisbane. Catherine has a passion for working with children and has worked with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children for over ten years.

Abstract – Speech Pathologists often use standardised speech pathology assessments to assess the communication abilities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. These assessments are rarely norm-referenced for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and do not consider cultural difference nor home language. Whilst speech pathologists are aware that these assessments seldom provide accurate and reliable results, they are still utilised as there are no culturally safe speech pathology assessments to guide their practice. In doing this, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are often misdiagnosed with speech language impairment rather than having a language difference.

The Institute for Urban Indigenous Health has developed a communication assessment for lower primary school Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. This assessment focuses on social communication, speech, language and literacy skills to support Speech Pathologists in the accurate interpretation of the child’s abilities. This assessment has been trialled at an urban Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary school and at local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Medical Services in Brisbane. This presentation will discuss the content of the communication assessment, the results of the trial and how this assessment is considered best practice for the assessment and diagnosis of Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander children’s language skills.

*No presentation available.

Yarning as a health research method

Chontel Gibson

Chontel GibsonPresenter Biography:     Chontel is a proud Kamilaroi woman and was the first Aboriginal person to graduate with an occupational therapy degree in Australia. Since graduating Chontel has worked in many different roles and positions in the public health sector, across several Australian states and territories, mainly in rural and remote areas. Areas of practice and policy work include Aboriginal health, paediatrics, generalist community adults, palliative care, chronic care, dementia and mental health. Chontel has completed a Masters in Public Health and is currently completing a PhD in Aboriginal health and wellbeing.

Abstract – Older Aboriginal people and Elders hold a significant place and space in Aboriginal communities and cultures. One of the many roles of older Aboriginal people and Elders is to pass on cultural, social and historical information to family and communities. Yarning is a formal mechanism that many Aboriginal peoples, including older Aboriginal people and Elders use to pass on this invaluable information. Yarning as a storytelling and communication tool has been used and will continue to be used in many Aboriginal communities.

Yarning creates a space and place to share information in a culturally appropriate and safe manner. It is and continues to be both fluid and flexible in nature, adapting to both the context and participants of the knowledge exchange. Yarning allows opportunities for all voices to come into that particular space and place. It facilitates an exchange of knowledge, the expression of different perspectives or many truths and the development of strategies for issues that may arise. This space and place nurtures and develops the relationship and connectedness of all yarning participants.

The use of yarning as a formal research method in the research sector is beginning to be recognised, particularly in the field of education. Yarning reflects important aspects of the Indigenous research paradigm, by creating a space and place for the diversity of Aboriginal knowledge and knowledge systems; allowing for a culturally appropriate way of doing research, and facilitating respectful and fluid relationships and roles during the research process. There are growing opportunities in the health field to explore and use yarning as an effective and culturally appropriate research method.

Some benefits for using yarning as a research method in health research are that it permits the voices of Aboriginal peoples to become the authority of their own knowledge, as well as sets the parameters for its use.  This authority and ownership is of particular importance for older Aboriginal peoples and Elders. Yarning allows for a holistic perspective, incorporating the past, present and future and representing the many experiences and truths that belong to this. This is consistent with Aboriginal peoples’ holistic perspectives on health and wellbeing, allowing past, present and future aspects of health and wellbeing that belong to each person and/or community to be explored. The relationships that are formed in yarning allow the participants, including the researcher take on a number of diverse and fluid roles, such as informer, leader, teacher, speaker, student, listener, and observer. This type of relationship is culturally safe, and supports the connections and trust that is required to respond to the loss, trauma and grief that may arise when discussing health and wellbeing.

This presentation will illustrate how yarning as a research method will be used in a health and wellbeing research project with older Aboriginal people and Elders to capture and reflect their voices. The presentation will show how yarning directs the research process and methodology, creates culturally safe places for the expression of concerns and world views, as well as share experiences and perspectives that will reflect Aboriginal peoples’ knowledge and ways of doing in health and wellbeing. The presentation will also reflect that relationships form and change over the research process, nurturing and maintaining respectful and culturally appropriate relationships with older Aboriginal people and Elders. Elements of this yarning approach can be applied to health service provision and therefore this presentation is applicable to allied health professionals.

Author Details: Chontel Gibson, Indigenous Academic Fellow, School of Community Health, Charles Sturt University Prof. Michael Curtin, Course Co-ordinator – Occupational Therapy. School of Community Health, Charles Sturt University Prof. Pat Dudgeon. School of Indigenous Studies, The University of Western Australia

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Preparing Students to be Culturally Responsive

Nicole Turner

Nicole TurnerBiography: Nicole Turner is a Kamilaroi women and one of very few Aboriginal Nutritionist in Australia. Nicole obtained a Bachelor of Applied Science in Community Nutrition early last year and is also a Board Director at Durri Aboriginal Corporation Medical Service, Kempsey NSW. Nicole sits on a large number of state and national committees, chiefly those on Indigenous Chronic Disease and Nutrition. She currently works as an Indigenous Health Academic for Newcastle University, and is involved in a large number of research projects.  She has 4 children aged 8 to 19 years and a 4 month old grandson who keep her fit and active. Nicole is very passionate about Aboriginal health and believes prevention is the answer to a lot of our health problems

Abstract: In regional, rural and remote communities there is a higher population of Aboriginal people than in the city areas. Therefore, there is a greater chance that those students on rural placements will be involved in the health care of Aboriginal people.

In Australia today not many universities deliver any Indigenous cultural awareness training/education to their students unless the students choose it as an elective subject. This is a major issue, especially in a cultural safety context.

The role of Indigenous Health Academic with University of Newcastle, Department of Rural Health, is to deliver cultural awareness workshops to all students on rural placement in the Taree area. This includes medicine, nursing, dietetics, physiotherapy, podiatry, occupational therapy and pharmacy students.

The aim of the Indigenous cultural training is to increase students awareness of the history, social structure, protocols, customs and social determinants that influence the way that health care is delivered to Indigenous populations. This presentation will provide information about the 3 tiers within the program, describing its strengths and challenges.

*No presentation available.


Reclaiming our Rights, Healing Our Future

hf_mikePresenter: Michael Galluzzo, Senior Communications Officer

Michael is a Wiradjuri man from Narrandera,south western NSW, who recently completed his Bachelor Laws/Bachelor of Arts majoring in Indigenous Australian Studies and Applied Linguistics. His previous experience includes working at Reconciliation Australia as part of the Reconciliation Action Plan and Policy and Public Affairs teams; and at Origin Communications, an Indigenous specialist consultancy company. Michael has extensive community networks which he puts to good use in his current position.


Workshop:The workshop, presented by the Healing Foundation, aims to promote community awareness of relevant human rights treaties and encourage better engagement with human rights systems.

All humans have the right, on an equal basis with all others, to be treated with dignity and respect.

Knowing about Human RIGHTS is important. Human Rights affirm the value of all human beings and they confirm that we all have the right to participate in decisions that affect us. Human rights list the standards for how people should be treated and they provide a tool which can be used to claim rights when they are being denied.  Human rights standards also set out what governments cannot do – as well as guiding what governments must and should do.

The session will begin to unfold layers of human rights, how they support community needs, and direct government duties. We will look to the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a way towards healing past, present and future trauma for our people, family and community.

Reimagining and Rebuilding Indigenous Nations in Australia

Miriam Jorgensen & Alison Vivian

Numerous Indigenous nations around the world have been quietly rebuilding and strengthening their communities as places where people can ad want to live. Research suggests that they are doing so by becoming effective polities, exercising their collective self-determination over cultural, social, environmental, land and other issues.

Moreover, the evidence from North America (and emerging evidence from Australia) suggests that the renaissance of Indigenous nations, through nation-building, has the potential to reverse decades of deficit that have flowed from one colonised generation to the next.

Join Miriam Jorgensen and Alison Vivian for discussion and interactive exercises about how nation (re)building might look in your community, and the benefits/opportunities and challenges that might follow. You will hear about how nation building is developing in the US and Canada and have the opportunity to engage with your peers about how these principles might apply in Australia.

Miriam Jorgensen is the Research Director of the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development and Native Nations Institute for Leadership, Management & Policy at the University of Arizona. She is one of the world’s foremost experts on Indigenous government and capacity building. Over the last 15 years, she has focussed on translating her research into practical application in the US, Canada and more recently, Australia. She is currently leading an ARC Discovery Project (Changing the conversation: Rediscovering Indigenous government) that is working with two Aboriginal nations to explore how nation building principles apply in Australia.

Alison Vivian is a Senior Researcher at the University of Technology, Sydney. She has studied nation building principles at the University of Arizona and has spent the last three years working with Miriam on the ARC Discovery Project.
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