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The health of urban Aboriginal people has been overlooked for too long. We now have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to get this right. To do this, we are working with Aboriginal leaders to ensure our perspectives meet the needs of the community. It’s important we follow Aboriginal protocol, focus on sense of place, leadership and culture, seek solutions within the community, and design health research on Aboriginal terms.

Our goal, for Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing, is to understand the concerns of everyone involved – patients, carers, service providers, policy makers and the public. Once we do, we can use this knowledge to translate research quickly. We believe this is how we can bring lasting improvement and economic benefit to the Aboriginal people of the Sydney basin.

Activity

Aboriginal health disadvantage is complex and multidimensional. Our trans-disciplinary approach to healthcare acknowledges this, while upholding the social and cultural strengths of the community.

We are currently engaged in the following activity:

  • Community Engagement
    It’s not often that Aboriginal people are included in health planning or translation activities. It’s time to change this. We are working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members, their organisations, and representatives in the Sydney basin to encourage genuine engagement. This engagement is ongoing and will be central to every project we undertake.
     
  • Program Evaluation
    Evaluation is integral to research translation. Without it, research stands still. We’re developing a suite of products designed to evaluate programs across research, education and healthcare – with greater accuracy and efficiency.
     
  • Education
    It’s important that every non-indigenous clinician, researcher, service provider and organisation understands how to engage with Aboriginal people. As Aboriginal health and wellbeing educators, we’re building the capacity of Aboriginal people, and the cultural capability of organisations and individuals. We’re especially focused on those with little experience in building relationships with this community.
     
  • Prisoner Health
    Prisoner health is a national priority – for both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and the Federal Minister for Indigenous Health. We’re looking at current research, education and practice in this space and building on 7 existing projects to ensure care is continued into the future. Our aim is to support new and emerging projects with translation capabilities, establish translation models that can be used in the future, and align prison health with mainstream health services.

Team

We are a collective of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders, community organisations, Aboriginal community health advocates, health and wellbeing researchers, educators, practitioners and service professionals. Our trans-disciplinary network is broad. It encompasses Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, workforce communities, policy makers and parliamentarians. Never before have we managed to enjoy this level of collaboration between key decision-makers.

Our team includes representation from 11 of our 14 partner organisations. These multi-skilled partners are leaders in Aboriginal health, research, education, policy and community advice. Together, we’re co-creating a group that’s closing the gap on Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing. It’s the first of its kind that is truly focused on community and Aboriginal participation as a key vehicle of change.

Our footprint covers the Greater Western Sydney region, which has the highest urban population of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the country. Through our work we can have the greatest impact across the largest Aboriginal population.

Vision

To reinforce Aboriginal research leadership, build on the strengths and success of positive health and wellbeing outcomes, and develop innovative models of care and service delivery.

Leadership Partnerships Research Roundtables

We are working with community elders, ensuring we open up conversations, encourage participation and truly understand the voice of this community. And then we will ensure this voice is implemented into policy, highlighting the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander influence.

We’re breaking down the barriers with the Aboriginal community. We’re co-creating research and models of care for the first time with this community. And ensuring everything we do is created in partnership.

Our Roundtable processes are designed to encourage participation of all our Partners. This includes those we have new or emerging connections with, and those we have not yet connected with. Roundtables in the Aboriginal health space are an inclusive, non- threatening opportunity to encourage participation. 

Close the Gap

For more information on the work of the AHW CAG, contact Chris Pitt, Project Officer.