What is Allied Health according to IAHA?
IAHA defines allied health from a unique perspective as it relates to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Allied health is a collective term used to refer to a variety of healthcare disciplines that contribute to a person’s physical, sensory, psychological, cognitive, social, emotional and cultural wellbeing, excluding medicine, nursing and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health worker/practitioner roles.
Allied health functions include but are not limited to, services related to the identification, evaluation, management and prevention of disease and disorders; dietary and nutritional services; and rehabilitation services.
Allied health operates in widely diverse settings, including but not limited to clinics, hospitals, rehabilitation centres, laboratories, schools, long-term care facilities, Aboriginal Medical/Health Services, community health centres, early childhood services and home healthcare agencies.
What is an Allied Health Professional?
An allied health professional is considered by IAHA to be a health professional who;
- Has graduated from a tertiary qualification at Bachelor Degree (AQF Level 7) or higher in an allied health course; and
- Has attained the necessary knowledge, attributes, attitudes and skills required to be an autonomous practitioner and practices in an evidence based paradigm using a recognised body of skills and knowledge to contribute to the physical, sensory, psychological, cognitive, social, emotional and cultural wellbeing of people so that each individual is able to achieve their full potential as a human being; and
- Does not practice as a Medical Practitioner, Nurse or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker/ Practitioner.
Allied health professionals are key players in the interprofessional delivery of healthcare. No single health profession alone will be able to meet the complex healthcare needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. In order to truly make a difference and improve health outcomes for our people, we will all need to work together.
– Faye McMillan, Pharmacist.
Why become an Indigenous allied health professional?
It is well known that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health professionals play a vital role in addressing the heath needs of our people.
An allied health practitioner is a trained professional who sometimes work alone, and often work with others in the healthcare team. Their role is to promote recovery, to support diagnosis and to guide the patient toward wellness.
Access to allied health care can increase a person’s ability to walk or move better, reduce dependence and assist the patient to care for themselves. Allied health services lessen the risk of complications associated with chronic disease conditions or injury.
In order to close the gap in Indigenous health outcomes, we need more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to consider becoming an allied health professional. This includes professions such as audiology; dietetics; exercise physiology; occupational therapy; optometry; orthoptics; pharmacy; physiotherapy; podiatry; prosthetics & orthotics; psychology; radiography & sonography; social work, speech pathology and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health. For more information on where to study click here.