IAHA February 2015 Newsletter

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Message From the Chair

FAYE2014Welcome to the second IAHA newsletter for 2015.  February has already proven to be and exciting and action packed month for IAHA.

Earlier this month IAHA attended the Closing the Gap parliamentary event at parliament house, as part of the Close the Gap Steering Committee. Ms Danielle Dries (IAHA member) gave an address and introduced the Prime Minister of Australia – click here to view the IAHA media release.  This is still a key priority of IAHA to work in this space to ensure that the Close the Gap campaign continues to move forward.

IAHA converged on Alice Springs for the Leadership Workshops which ran from the 17th – 19th of February 2015. The Student Representative Committee (SRC) along with the Board of Directors arrived a few days early for board meetings.  The SRC  attended school visits in Alice Springs and spoke to secondary school students about their experiences and what allied health professionals are all about (so a big thank you to the SRC members, you all did an amazing  job). Board members did a site visit to the Centre for Remote Health (CRH), where we were able to speak with the staff about the complex, challenging and rewarding aspects of allied health professionals in working in the unique remote environment.   All of the participants on the Leadership workshop had a warm Welcome to Country from Aunty Maree Ellis as well as a visit to spectacular Rainbow Valley (Wurre) with Ricky Orr as our guide; all of the participants thoroughly enjoyed this experience.  On another bright note, on the Thursday we had a visit from Ngangkari Clem Toby from the Ngaaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women’s Council Aboriginal Corporation (NPYWC) accompanying Clem were other employees of the NPYWC including an interpreter.  This visit generated lots of questions and feedback, and Clem and his team stayed for lunch, photos as well as book signing for many of the participants. Further information about the NPYWC can be found at the following link http://www.npywc.org.au/

The Leadership workshop was an opportunity for many of the participants to be self reflective and determine where they as individuals were on their own leadership journey.  Eddie Watkins was the facilitator of the workshop and helped to draw the best out of the participants with a lot of conversation and laughter taking place in the room.  At the end of day one we had the opportunity to have a relaxing evening and had the wonderful experience of being entertained by Drum Atweme (a drumming group used to enable young people to be part of a positive and publicly popular activity, again further information can be found at the following link)

http://www.tangentyere.org.au/services/family_youth/drum_atweme/

The overall vibe of the leadership workshop was extremely positive, which is a direct result of the positive mindset and contribution that all of the participants brought to the workshop.  As the CEO pointed out in the January newsletter we are already looking forward to the 2015 IAHA National Conference in Cairns in November/ December with this year’s mantra being Allied Health – Stepping into Action, this theme was certainly evident in the workshop with all participants stepping into action on their own leadership journeys. A huge thank you to all of the participants, and the secretariat for the commitment to ensuring that this was a positive and successful workshop for IAHA, members and friends that were able to join us.

Faye McMillan
IAHA Chair

Policy Update

Senate Select Committee on Health Hearing

IAHA CEO Donna Murray was called to be a witness at a Senate Select Committee on Health hearing held on Friday, 13 February 2015. Donna was first to provide evidence at 9am and answered questions on our submission into the Committee’s inquiry into health policy, administration and expenditure. The focus of this public hearing was Indigenous health and a number of other national Indigenous organisations were also invited to provide evidence, including NACCHO and the Australian Indigenous Doctors Association. A link to the Hansard transcript of evidence for the committee’s hearing will be made available on the IAHA website once it is publicly released.

Close the Gap (CTG) Campaign parliamentary event

IAHA joined other CTG Campaign Steering Committee members at a parliamentary event to launch the 2015 Close the Gap Progress and Priorities Report which can be accessed here. IAHA member Danielle Dries had the opportunity to introduce Prime Minister Abbott to speak at the event that was held to coincide with his second report to parliament on progress towards closing the gap. In response to the Prime Minister’s address and the CTG Report, IAHA issued a Media Release Allied Health Collaboration Crucial to Close the Gap which can be accessed here.

Click here to read the Closing the Gap Prime Minister’s Report 2015

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Curriculum Framework

IAHA maintains active contribution to the Project Advisory Group for the national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Curriculum Framework project, which is currently in its final stages of development. IAHA looks forward to working with our partners to support and facilitate its implementation so that health education providers can effectively prepare graduates across health professions to provide culturally safe and responsive health services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

SRC Visits schools in Alice Springs

IMG_1217SRCSMALLOn Tuesday 17 February 2015, whilst in Alice Springs attending the IAHA Indigenous Leadership Workshop, our IAHA Student Representative Committee (SRC) members, who are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander allied health students from different universities across Australia, had a wonderful opportunity to visit two local secondary schools. The purpose of the school visits was to encourage and inspire Indigenous students to complete yr12, to talk about allied health career options and pathways available to them and the support systems to help them succeed.

The first school we visited was Yirara College, a boarding school for Indigenous students 12 years and older from remote communities in the Northern territory and beyond, some coming from up to 2000kms away. On our visit we learned that Yirara College, for the first time ever, had eight students in their Yr12 cohort. Our SRC congratulated the 8 students for being role models to younger students and choosing to do yr12. They got to know the students and spoke to them about their journeys and why they love their professions which included Psychology, Oral Health, Social Work, Occupational Therapy and Mental Health. They stressed how important it was to complete yr12 so that they have more opportunities in the future. Although the students were quite shy, they seemed to really engage with our SRC. It was wonderful to talk to the students about their hopes and dreams… One student is well on the way to achieving his dream, as he was starting a part time job at the local hospital as an interpreter the day after our visit.

IMG_1227SMALLThe next school we visited was Centralian Senior College where we met over 80 Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students who were in year 11 or 12. They were split into four smaller groups and then rotated around and experienced fun interactive activities run by our SRC. There was lots of laughter and learning and the students asked so many fantastic questions. The SRC were available to answer these questions and get the students excited about completing yr12 and thinking about a career in allied health.

Throughout the day, our SRC demonstrated their emerging leadership capability by taking responsibility for both school visits, being flexible and adapting as required as they shared their passion for their chosen professions. Our IAHA SRC members are wonderful role models and are a credit to their families and to the IAHA family.

Journey Into Allied Health

stories_stevie01This month’s Journey Into Allied Health is 2014 Future Leader in Indigenous Allied Health award winner, and recent Dietetics and Nutrition graduate Stevie Raymond.

Click here to read more…

Other News

13th National Rural Health Conference – Pre Conference Workshop

24 May 2015, 10am – 3pm, Darwin Convention Centre

Cultural responsiveness: an action based approach to cultural safety

This interactive workshop, delivered collaboratively by Indigenous Allied Health Australia, Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association, the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation and the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker Association, will build participants’ ability to be culturally responsive to the unique needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, with a particular emphasis on those living in rural and remote locations. Participants will have the opportunity, in a safe environment, to engage in self-reflection and practical activities that will enhance their ability to take culturally responsive action.  This course is for all rural and/or remote health professionals interested in providing culturally safe and responsive care with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Register now

National Close the Gap Day 2015

Join more than 200,000 Australians of all ages and backgrounds who are supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health equality. Register for National Close the Gap Day, Thursday 19 March, 2015. Register now here.

Despite Australia being one of the wealthiest countries in the world, Indigenous Australians have health outcomes on a par with many developing countries in Asia and Africa. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are dying at double the rate of other Australian children. This is not a statistic that we can let wash over us. And we don’t have to accept it.

Your support for National Close the Gap Day will mean you’re joining tens of thousands — hopefully more than 150,000 Australians — who will be showing governments that they must continue to work with Indigenous Australians on this issue. Significantly though, it will also have the immediate impact of showing Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities that they are not alone as they strive for health equality.

So join the campaign for equal access to healthcare for all Australians. Register your event today, or join a public event already being held in your community. It’s easy to do, and your support will have a big impact both locally and nationally; within government, as well as in Indigenous communities across Australia that are looking to partner with other locals to Close the Gap.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cancer Framework

Cancer Australia is currently developing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cancer Framework. As part of this process a number of public forums are being held across the country. The dates and locations of the face to face consultations are:

  • Melbourne -12 February
  • Darwin – 17 February
  • Broome – 19 February
  • Thursday Island – 24 February
  • Ipswich – 3 March
  • Mount Druitt – 6 March

Click here for more info.

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