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Cultural determinants of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health roundtable

Eighteen distinguished Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders from across the country convened in Melbourne for the roundtable on 26 November 2014.

Identifying and addressing the social determinants of health has long been recognised as central to improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health outcomes. However, while there is an emerging body of international work around the link between culture and health, and its importance has been acknowledged in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013–2023, there is a limited evidence base around culture as a determinant of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing in Australia. Some of the literature about culture as a determinant of health can be in the roundtable background paper.

Aims

The aims of the roundtable were:

  1. Clarify what the cultural determinants of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health are
  2. Consider strategies that could assist in strengthening culture as a determinant of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health
  3. Consider the implications for The Lowitja Institute’s research strategy.

Outcomes

The overarching themes identified by the roundtable included the need to learn to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and nations to rebuild their resilience and cultural sustainability. It identified the need to strengthen languages, relationships, cultures, identity, place and networks. The process of learning culture, in and of itself, is healing. Learning culture builds resilience. The roundtable also identified that action on these themes are needed at both program and system levels.

Report, presentations and related materials

Roundtable report

Presentations
Reference group members
  • Alwin Chong – Director of Yaitya Purruna Indigenous Unit, University of Adelaide
  • Shannon Dodson – Digital Campaign Manager, Recognise
  • Ray Lovett – Research Fellow, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
  • Ngiare Brown – Public Health Medical Officer, National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation
  • Tamara Mackean – Senior Research fellow, Flinders University
Facilitator
  • Gregory Phillips – Executive Director, ABSTARR Consulting
Created: 17 March 2015 - Updated: 26 March 2015