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Aboriginal Community Controlled Primary Health Care Services (ACCHSs) have been around for more than 20 years in a range of communities and they are seen as being an essential part of the process of delivering culturally appropriate primary health care services to Aboriginal people. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that they do more than just provide high-quality health care. The role that ACCHSs have played in developing a professional skilled workforce of Aboriginal people, leaders within communities and advocates for improving the health status of Aboriginal people have all been recognised as a by-product of the development of ACCHSs.
This project formed part of a PhD thesis and aimed to build knowledge about how community members themselves value the work done by ACCHSs. The project used Indigenous Associate Researchers (ARs) and was a collaborative venture with the community controlled Wuchopperen Health Service (WHS), which is based in Cairns and services communities in Far North Queensland west to Mt Isa.
This research sought answers to the following key questions:
The principal researcher worked closely with ARs to develop a training program and associated training resources to meet their needs. The training was held over a period of three days in a two-week period during October 2009. It is important to note that as the training approach is based on a participatory process, the training program evolved to meet the learning needs of the ARs. As ARs indicated a need for further training, training package components were developed to assist with their professional development. To date the training package covered:
Additional training issues that are in the process of being addressed include:
The research was supervised by Dr Susan Quine (University of Sydney) and Dr Kate Senior (Menzies School of Health Research). The project trained eight staff from WHS as Associate Researchers (AR). A number of meetings were held between project staff and the WHS executive to ensure that all parties understood the timeframes, expectations, workload, support needs and potential deliverables that were expected from the project.
Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health