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.
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.
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.
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 16 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.