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 www.jlf.org.au 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 www.thumbsup.org.au 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.

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.

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.

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.