IAHA June 2014 Newsletter

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Nicole Turner - IAHA Board MemberMessage from Nicole Turner, IAHA Board Member

Welcome to the IAHA June 2014 Newsletter.

The IAHA Board and secretariat have some fantastic news to share with you all as IAHA has been successful in attracting $100,000 from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (PMC) to implement an IAHA Leadership Initiative. IAHA has long advocated the importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership in improving the lives of Australia’s First Peoples and it is great news for our members that the government has also seen this as a priority.

We are also excited about the 2014 IAHA National Forum ‘Valuing Diversity in Allied Health’ to be held in November 2014… Included in the National Forum are the second IAHA Health Fusion Team Challenge, Professional Development workshops and the IAHA 2014 National Indigenous Allied Health Awards. These events will present fantastic opportunities to work together, support each other, enhance our professional and personal journeys and celebrate the successes of those contributing to improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Registrations for all events will open 1 July 2014 and I encourage you to visit our website and check them out. It shouldn’t be too cold in Canberra in November so don’t let the weather hold you back!!

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2014 IAHA HealthFusion Team Challenge – proudly sponsored by ACT Health

group shot participantsIAHA is pleased to announce that ACT Health has been confirmed as the major sponsor for the 2014 IAHA HealthFusion Team Challenge. For those who have not heard about this exciting event, it is a challenging and fun-filled 2 day event which sees Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from a diverse range of health disciplines come together and work in interdisciplinary teams to develop the best plan of care for a client with complex care needs.

If you, or someone you know, is an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person currently studying a health degree then we want to hear from you!!! A limited number of scholarships are available for IAHA Full Members (student) to participate and applications open on 1 July 2014.

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Professional Development Forum– Registrations Open 1 July 2014

IAHA is holding a series of interactive professional development workshops on 25-26 November 2014. Click here for workshop descriptions, including aims and learning outcomes. All workshop participants will receive a Certificate of Attendance, detailing the duration, aims and learning outcomes of the workshop, which can be included in your Continuous Professional Development (CPD) personal portfolio. A limited number of scholarships are available for IAHA Members to attend and applications open on 1 July 2014.

Workshop topics include:

  • Critical Thinking for Success
  • Emotional Intelligence in Leadership
  • Cultural Responsiveness in Action
  • A Strengths-Based Approach to Racism
  • Embedding an Holistic Approach to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Wellbeing
  • Diversity Mentoring
  • Indigenous Research and Practice
  • Media Skills and Awareness

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2014 National Indigenous Allied Health Awards – Nominations Open 1 July 2014

Do you know someone who deserves acknowledgement for the great work they do? If so, IAHA will be holding its 2014 National Indigenous Allied Health Awards in Canberra at the Hyatt Hotel on Tuesday 25 November 2014 so consider putting in a nomination… Nominations open 1 July 2014 and the online form and Awards Guidelines will be found here from this date. The 2014 Indigenous Allied Health Awards will be held during the IAHA National Forum, where winners will be announced at a gala dinner. The Indigenous Allied Health Awards showcase the outstanding achievements in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander allied health and provides identifiable allied health role models to inspire all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to consider and pursue a career in allied health.

In 2014 there are 6 categories of IAHA National Allied Health Awards:

  • Future Leader in Indigenous Allied Health Award
  • Indigenous Allied Health Student Academic Achievement Award
  • Indigenous Allied Health Professional of the Year Award
  • Allied Health Inspiration Award
  • Commitment to Indigenous Health Award
  • IAHA Life Time Achievement Award

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Journey into Allied Health – Chiropractic

Dr Stephanie Blyth – Chiropractor

Stephanie Blyth is a Noongar woman from the Galamaia Nation in south west WA who was born and grew up in Launceston, Tasmania. Stephanie has four siblings, and she is the first in her family to go to university. In 2013 Stephanie graduated with a Bachelor of Health Science/Bachelor of Applied Science (Chiropractic). She is now working as a registered chiropractor in Ballarat, Victoria.

Here is her story…

“Much of what I learnt about my Galamaia heritage is from stories passed down to me from my relatives. My great grandmother was, in her own quiet way, quite an activist. She was instrumental in changing the culture of the workplace to recognise Aboriginal peoples’ right to work alongside other races. Her cousin played a large part in enabling Aboriginal people to cast votes in the WA State elections. I am proud that my ancestors helped to shape various parts of Australia’s culture. Knowing what a success my great grandmother made of her life after living a difficult childhood, and against all odds, instilled in me that anything is possible regardless of your upbringing and there are no excuses for not succeeding in life.

I chose to be a chiropractor because I knew I wanted to be a health care practitioner that helps prevent disease and ill health. When I studied health in year 12 it didn’t make sense to me why as a nation we spend so much time, money and effort in treating conditions which are easily preventable by living a healthy lifestyle and keeping our nervous systems healthy. I knew that chiropractors were primary care practitioners who integrate many aspects of health care to provide a high standard and broad range of healthcare and advice. I’d also seen many positive results for both myself and my family in reducing both pain and illness under chiropractic care.

In high school I didn’t think I would get the grades to study chiropractic so I didn’t apply for it. Instead I applied for, and was accepted into, exercise science. Not convinced exercise science was what I wanted to study, I decided to take some time off and travelled both within Australia, basing myself in Port Hedland for a large portion of this time, and overseas, predominantly Europe and the UK. Eventually I decided I definitely wanted to become a chiropractor. I didn’t study chemistry in year 12 (which was a prerequisite subject) so I did a bridging course and applied for chiropractic at 3 universities. I supported my application with letters from myself and my chiropractor explaining my passion for the profession and why I had the desire to study it. Fortunately Melbourne was my first preference and the first offer I received so I was ecstatic, as were my supportive family.

The most challenging thing whilst studying is finding balance! Finding balance between study, work, sporting life and social life. Financial stresses and being away from family were both additional stresses whilst studying, but the biggest stressors were the study itself due to the high demand of the course. I got better each year with studying and learning how to manage the stress load, particularly at exam time. I worked several jobs throughout my 5 years of study, sometime juggling 3 jobs at a time, but I always made time to study. Sometimes this meant making sacrifices in sporting and social life, although I still incorporated them in to my life to some degree to maintain a healthy work/life balance. I overcame the difficulties with good time management, sacrifices and a few cries to my dear sister! Although I didn’t have family in the same state as me, I’m fortunate enough that I knew they were always only a phone call away if I needed them! One of the biggest supports I had in my early years of university was the free tutoring I received which was due to being an Aboriginal person. To this day I am still appreciative of that support as I know it helped me immensely in gaining a better understanding of the course material.

My friends and family were all supportive of my studies and very proud of me which is nice and I was appreciative of their positive attitude. I was the first of 5 children in my family to attend university so I think they were just pleased I was going at all!! It was comforting knowing they were proud of me and that they were always interested in how I was getting on, even if they couldn’t financially support me or physically be there with me.

What I love about being a chiropractor is the results that it gets! It is very rewarding making positive changes to peoples’ lives. I also enjoy empowering my patients with knowledge to live long, happy, and healthy lives.

To people thinking about a career in chiropractic I’d say that if you’re willing to put in 5 hard years at university and you’re doing it for the right reasons, then just do it because it is extremely worthwhile. It is a very rewarding career as you have the ability to make people feel better without intervention.

In the future I hope I’ll be happily practising chiropractic with a child or 2! My partner and I moved to Ballarat this year as I was offered a position too good to refuse and we’re both happy living in this community, so we may still be here. But who knows what the next five years will bring! I will still want to work, at least part time, but I know how important it is for children to have good family values, so I think once again I will have to find balance between fun, family and work!”

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IAHA Policy Update

IAHA continues to adopt a constructive, strengths based approach to announcements made within the 2014-15 Federal Budget. Revitalising the IAHA Strategic Plan recently has assisted us to refocus on our 4 key priority areas – IAHA Membership, Allied Health Workforce Development, National Leadership and Corporate Governance.

In the May 2014 IAHA Newsletter we mentioned that the Minister for Health the Hon. Fiona Nash had announced the government’s intention to develop an implementation plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan (NATSIHP). Click here to read the media release about this announcement on the Minister’s web site. Further to this announcement, IAHA has been working with other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health peak bodies in the National Health Leadership Forum (NHLF) to influence the implementation plan development.

Over the next 12 months, we will continue to engage and work with our members and in order to ensure we accurately articulate our members’ voices, we welcome feedback from members around the implications of the May 2014 budget announcements on frontline allied health service delivery, particularly within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. How do you think the budget announcements, including program and/or funding rationalisations, GP co-payments etc. will impact on the demand for your services, how you work (workforce models, interprofessional relationships), access to allied healthcare for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples? Positive, negative and neutral impacts are all important for us to know about in order to plan for the future.

Over the coming months we aim to focus on and highlight the benefits/positive contributions that allied health professionals make to the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and are looking into various avenues for research and data analysis in order to further this agenda. We remain committed to highlighting the importance of building a strong and sustainable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander allied health workforce and improving the cultural responsiveness of the wider allied health workforce.

Work with our partner organisations continues as we move toward this objective and the IAHA Board recently agreed to progress the development of an IAHA Cultural Responsiveness Framework to guide our work in this area. This initiative is still in the planning stage at present however we are actively seeking additional resources to commence its development. We will be sending out a member survey in the near future to assist us with this process and will keep you up to date with the progress of this initiative.

As always, we welcome member feedback and/or contributions to current and emerging policy initiatives. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with innovative and constructive feedback, case studies and/or information that you feel may be useful in achieving our strategic direction.

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A message from Larry – IAHA Membership Officer

Mount Isa Community Visit, Former Origin Greats (FOGS) Expo & Dreamtime Expo

On Tuesday 10th June I visited Mount Isa Centre for Rural and Remote Health at James Cook University Campus and 11th June attended the FOGS Expo at the Mount Isa Civic Centre promoting IAHA. I met many helpful and knowledgeable people – Kaye Smith, Elder Aunty Karen West, Director Prof. Sabina Knight who all welcomed me, showed me around their facilities and offered heaps of information.

I visited Gidgee Aboriginal Healing Medical Service, where I met three staff from Deadly Choices, who visit schools and committees to talk to Indigenous students about healthy eating and living. At Spinefex Senior Campus I spoke with Megan Graham and Lynette Bambrick, who gave also had a lot of informative and interesting info.  7 schools attended the FOGS Expo with huge numbers of Indigenous students. It was lovely seeing these beautiful young students attending the expo, I love how they get one person to do the asking of questions, it’s really cute. I tell them not to be shy and ask questions so they have an idea of what they may like to do in the future. This happens at all expos so you just have to put yourself out there and get them to talk to you. If we then have one or more students thinking about working in the allied health workforce than that is great.

I attended the Dreamtine Career Expo 31st May 2014, with Brenda McDermott, Social Worker student and SRC member with approximately 300 people attended. Brenda and I spoke with many young school students, a few students studying allied health, who were interested in joining IAHA. Acclaimed artist Kutcha Edwards was the Expo MC for the day, he walked around the venue chatting to stallholders and visitors. Every 30 minutes, Kutcha invited a Guest Role Model to the stage to speak about their professional journey, which captured attendees attention. It was great having Brenda at the expo with me, as we both could take it in turn to walk around and talk to some of the other stall holders, great networking opportunities.

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Healing Foundation

You are invited to attend Cultural Solutions: Understanding Suicide a public forum in Canberra with live streaming to discuss the critical issue of suicide and wellbeing in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. The keynote speaker is Professor Michael Chandler and panel members include Pat Anderson AO, Professor Ngiare Brown, Jeremy Donovan and MC Greg Turnbull.

The discussion will focus on the effects of trauma and how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are applying cultural solutions to promote healing in communities.

Date:  Friday 4 July 2014
Start:  9:30am arrival, streaming goes live at 10:00am AEST
Finish: 11:30am, refreshments provided
Venue:  50MC Theatre, 50 Marcus Clarke Street, Canberra ACT 2601

Click here for the Cultural Solutions: Understanding Suicide invitation

If you would like to attend the forum in Canberra please RSVP for catering and security purposes providing your name and contact details.

RSVP to community@healingfoundation.org.au or phone 02 6124 4410 by 30 June 2014

People who can’t attend in person can join the live stream. For live streaming click here.

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LowitjaThe Lowitja Institute – 2 Fellowship Opportunities in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research Leadership

On 1 July 2014 the Lowitja Institute Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health CRC commences operations. It will continue the work of its predecessor organisations with a strong commitment to supporting the education and training of the next generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health leaders.   

On 1 July 2014 the Lowitja Institute Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health CRC commences operations. It will continue the work of its predecessor organisations with a strong commitment to supporting the education and training of the next generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health leaders.

The Lowitja Institute Senior Researcher Fellowship offers post-doctoral researchers, with a minimum of three years’ post-doc experience or other relevant senior researcher experience, the ability to participate in leadership and career building opportunities while also continuing to develop research skills and expertise.

You will be required to participate in activities with the Lowitja Institute for up to 50% of your work time over the course of your fellowship, which initially would be for 12 months, but may be extended for a further 6 to 12 months. The Lowitja Institute will invest in the Fellow’s executive education through a range of high profile leadership development courses.

Applications are open to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers who have want to move into leadership roles in health research. The application process is competitive. Submissions will be assessed on merit and the strength of the application.

For further information on our Fellowships download the application pack .

Enquiries to David Morgan email at david.morgan@lowitja.org.au or on 03 8341 5501.

Applications close on Friday 4th July 2014

– See more at: http://www.lowitja.org.au/fellowship-opportunities

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Palliative Caresearch pic

Palliative Care Info for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

CareSearch is committed to providing trustworthy and easy-to-understand palliative care information for all Australians with a life-limiting illness and the families, friends, and health professionals who care for them.

There is information on the CareSearch website that may be of relevance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and CareSearch has worked with an advisory group to collate all of this information, including evidence-based pages, project information, websites and organisations into one central location on the website. This is an interim solution to bring together commonly sought information.

Palliative care information for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is available at www.caresearch.com.au. 24 hours a day, seven days week. The information is always free to access and is current, relevant, and evidence-based.

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IAHA Student Bursary Scheme

The IAHA Student Bursary scheme has been established to assist students with purchasing text book/s for your study. If you are an IAHA Student member click here to fill in the application form as comprehensively as possible – the more information you provide, the greater your chance of success.

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Undergraduate Scholarships – Helping students with remote placement

The CRANAplus Undergraduate scholarships offer financial assistance to support students who are interested in working remotely giving them the opportunity to experience a remote health setting first hand. This demonstrates the commitment of CRANAplus to the future remote health workforce.

Each year CRANAplus offers a number of scholarships. These scholarships provide financial assistance of up to $1000 per applicant, per remote placement. They can be applied to the cost of fares, accommodation and other incidental costs incurred by a student undertaking an undergraduate placement in a remote area of Australia and its external Territories.

The closing date for the scholarship application is the 31st July of each year.

Click here to read more…

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Indigenous Scholarships Website

indigenous scholarships

Click here to find a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships available to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. Scholarships range in value from a $500 one-off payment to $100,000, paid over the duration of a student’s course.

This website is a not-for-profit venture run by The Aurora Project and The Charlie Perkins Trust for Children & Student, more information can be found at www.auroraproject.com.au.

Indigenous Allied Health Australia encourages all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are interested in a career in allied health to investigate the support options available to them.

The Australian Government has the Indigenous Cadetship Support Program available to people interested in a career, not only in allied health, but within a government setting.

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Upcoming Events

6-13 July, 2014

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