A recent Workforce Roundtable has paved the way for new research to look at issues around Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation in the health sector, and to improve the recruitment and retention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the health workforce. An expression of interest (EOI) for two policy projects has now been released and can be found on the Lowitja Institute website (see below).
Hosted by the Lowitja Institute in Brisbane on 15 September 2011, the Roundtable brought together researchers, policymakers, community controlled health care providers and other Aboriginal representative bodies with an interest in developing a stronger Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander presence in the health workforce.
The presenters included Professor Cindy Shannon (University of Queensland), Romlie Mokak (Australian Indigenous Doctors Association), Tom Brideson (NSW Aboriginal Mental Health Workforce Program), Alwin Chong and Professor Judith Dwyer (both Program Leaders at the Lowitja Institute).
Their presentations covered the make-up of the existing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce and current shortfalls; the complexity of health governance and the need to build educational pipelines for future health workers; and ways of delivering best practice treatment in a culturally respectful environment.
The future outcomes the Lowitja Institute hopes to achieve in the workforce area were summarised by Professor Dwyer as:
- developing policy instruments for improving capacity within the health workforce; and
- determining strategies for enhancing the participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the health workforce, and their career pathways.
Targeted workforce research is one of the Lowitja Institute’s key milestones through its CRCATSIH program. It has the potential to contribute on several levels to knowledge, including developing the resources, models and tools to assist both the community controlled health sector and the health industry in general.
A project proposal is expected to be released shortly with the research due to start later in 2012.