Indigenous Allied Health Australia (IAHA), a national not for profit, member based Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander allied health organisation, describes leadership as having the ability to inspire, unite and mobilise others to influence change. Health leaders do this by striving to ‘improve clinical and quality of life indicators and the wellbeing of the health system’.

Within the health context, leadership has been shown to directly and indirectly impact the quality of care. IAHA asserts that culturally responsive health leadership is essential to eliminate racism, transform the health system and improve the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and all Australians.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing can be transformed through collective action lead by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities. This is supported by the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan which states “Improving the health and wellbeing outcomes for Aboriginal people can be achieved by local Aboriginal people determining and owning the process of health care delivery. Local Aboriginal community control in health is essential to the definition of Aboriginal holistic health and allows Aboriginal communities to determine their own affairs, protocols and procedures”.

The strength and foundation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health leadership is cultures. This has been demonstrated by the visionary leadership of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who lead the creation of Aboriginal community health services. The establishment of these services implicitly included several important concepts: the importance of cultural holism in health, non-racist and culturally safe healthcare as essential for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and community development (understanding the social determinants of health and that locally driven initiatives are more likely to be successfully utilised).

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health leadership recognises the diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and ensures strategies and initiatives are locally relevant and are a cultural match. This is demonstrated in the work of many in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander allied health workforce who, in addition to discipline-specific capabilities, draw upon cultural knowledge, practices and holistic views of health to provide a high standard of culturally safe and responsive care for their clients.

To achieve our vision and priorities, IAHA engages in national and jurisdictional committees, advisories, boards with governments and stakeholders focused on allied health workforce development and policy, Indigenous health policy and service delivery and cultural safety.

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National Health Leadership Forum

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Australian Allied Health Leadership Forum

Leaders of national allied health peak organisations working collaboratively to collectively address issues of national important to the allied health and the Australian public

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Close the Gap Campaign

Australia’s largest community driven campaign to improve Indigenous health and wellbeing.

The Close the Gap coalition is calling on governments to take action to achieve Indigenous health equality within 25 years by:

  • A long-term investment in Indigenous health; investment in financial and human resources
  • Increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders’ access to health services
  • Addressing critical social issues such as poor housing, nutrition, employment and education
  • Building Indigenous control and participation in the delivery of health and other services
  • Getting governments at state and national level to work in partnership with Indigenous communities, health organisations and experts to develop and monitor a plan to tackle the Indigenous health crisis
  • Promoting real and meaningful partnerships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities and health services. Partnership means giving people real influence at all stages of the decision-making process, and must be adequately resourced.

Click here for more detailed information on the campaign, sign up for updates, register your Close the Gap event or to get Close the Gap resources.

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Coalition of Peaks

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