2019 National Conference

2019 IAHA National Conference –  10 Years Making a Difference, Leaving Healthy Footprints

The 2019 National Conference brought together 329 delegates from around Australia. Over two thirds of attendees (67.5%) identified as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

With the support from partners IAHA were able to support a number of our members to attend. In total IAHA awarded, 83 scholarships to 37 students and 46 graduates.

The feedback showed the value of bringing together this cohort, with one delegate saying that:

Overall, 100% of delegates agreed that the conference, overall, was of benefit personally, culturally and/or professionally.

Professional development

The IAHA National Conference is the major professional development for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander allied health workforce.

The program features target content relevant to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, allied health, research and the social and cultural determinants of health, among other topics.

The program also privileges the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, with all presentations being delivered by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander presenters or co-presenters.

In total, 76 IAHA members presented within the conference program gaining valuable experience in presenting their work in an academic setting. VIEW PROGRAM

Celebrating success

As an organisation, IAHA are keen to celebrate the successes of our members, partners and other key stakeholders making a difference in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (allied) health.

With the theme 10 Years Making a Difference, there was recognition where IAHA have come from, the growth of the organisation over the past decade, and the future need and role for IAHA.


Leaving Healthy Footprints – Anniversary Book

At the Conference, IAHA launched our Leaving Healthy Footprints book which profiles the pathways taken by IAHA members and the contributions they make to improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.

Profiling members is an important way to provide role models of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander within the allied health professions. It’s also important to profile the role of these professions, their contribution to improving health and wellbeing and increase community awareness of health careers.

You can purchase a copy of our book via the Shop HERE

Healing and Wellbeing

A new addition to the 2019 IAHA National Conference was the inclusion of dedicated spaces for healing and wellbeing.

This was done in acknowledgement of the intergenerational trauma experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and recognising the impact that witnessing pervasive health inequities and poor health outcomes of our people has on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce.

The Healing space was led by Aboriginal psychologist, and IAHA Director of Strategic Policy and Research, Tanja Hirvonen and Larrakia Elder Tony Lee.

The Wellbeing Team consisted of both male and female team members, to ensure that men’s issues and women’s issues could be addressed in a culturally appropriate manner.  The Wellbeing Team was comprised of highly trained members with the backgrounds in Clinical Psychology, Psychology, Counselling and Traditional Healing.

They were supported by staff from Danila Dilba Health Service to provide supports and allow referrals back to the local Aboriginal Medical Service; SEWB and GP services, as necessary.

Issues managed by the wellbeing team include:

  • Grief and loss
  • Being impacted by the Health Fusion Team Challenge Case Study
  • Feeling sadness over not knowing own culture
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Feeling hurt by actions of others in teams of the Health Fusion Team Challenge
  • Techniques to manage anxiety
  • Needing support to manage grief and anger
  • Emotional regulation support
  • Shame around behaviors
  • Needing a safe space to cry and be held safe
  • History of complex trauma

Feedback from members, and the level of engagement with wellbeing team, demonstrated how valued and necessary these spaces were.