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Workforce and Capacity Building

Workforce and capacity building

Good health care (and health research) depends on the skills and availability of the workforce. We need more qualified Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander professionals working in health and improved skills and knowledge among mainstream staff if we are to make a positive impact on health.

Specialist MPH course in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heatlh

Students studying for a Master of Public Health (MPH) qualification at the University of Melbourne (UM) and the University of Queensland (UQ) are now able to specialise in Indigenous health, thanks to support from the Lowitja Institute. And the hope is that this ‘specialist stream’ will soon be available to students studying at other Australian universities.

'Smoke-busters': Maningrida’s experience implementing a tobacco control program

Tobacco is a major cause of the gap in life expectancybetween Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians [1]. Smoking prevalence in remote Aboriginal communities is several times higher than the national average [2] and has not declined over recent decades - suggesting that mainstream health promotion campaigns have been ineffective in this challenging setting. Following a community outreach program of Adult Health Checks, tobacco control was identified as a major priority to improve the health of people in Maningrida.

A Nursing Partnership for Better Outcomes in Aboriginal Mental Health, Including Substance Use

This article draws on our participatory action research findings and interventions, such as advocacy and professional education, as applied during and after a large project focusing on Aboriginal mental health and safe medication management. The project was conducted by our research team and partners, community-controlled Aboriginal health services, and community leaders.

Aboriginal Health Workers and Diabetes Care in Remote Community Health Centres: A mixed method analysis

Objective: To assess the effect of employing Aboriginal health workers (AHWs) on delivery of diabetes care in remote community health centres, and to identify barriers related to AHWs involvement in diabetes and other chronic illness care. Design, setting and participants: Three-year follow-up study of 137Aboriginal people with type 2diabetes in seven remote community health centres in the Northern Territory.

Aboriginal Mental Health Workers and the Improving Indigenous Mental Health Service Delivery Model in the Top End

Objectives: This article reviews the changing Aboriginal mental health service delivery model of Top End Mental Health Services, and highlights the importance of Aboriginal mental health workers in improving communication with Aboriginal patients. The Australian Integrated Mental Health Initiative Northern Territory Indigenous stream (AIMHI NT) is introduced. ?Method: Baseline measures of AIMHI NT in 2003, and findings from two clinical file audits (1996 and 2001) at Royal Darwin Hospital inpatient unit are presented.

Achieving equitable and appropriate outcomes: Indigenous Australians in higher education

The first part of this paper gives background information about the CRC for Aboriginal and Tropical Health and its achievements. A key to the success of CRCATH has been its Board of Management, its organisational structure and its support for Indigenous leadership across the activities of the Centre. The second part of the paper comments on issues raised in the Issues Paper and makes a number of recommendations.

AHCSA’s Certificate IV in research capacity building makes a difference

A research training course for budding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers run by the Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia (AHCSA), with financial support from the Lowitja Institute, continues to gather strength, with a further 13 Aboriginal Health Workers from around Australia graduating at a ceremony in Adelaide in November 2010 (see photo).

AIMHI NT 'Mental Health Story Teller Mob': Developing stories in mental health

The Australian Integrated Mental Health Initiative in the Northern Territory is one of a number of sites funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council. The project has been working with Aboriginal Mental Health Workers (AMHWs), and the Top End Division of General Practice (TEDGP) to adapt mental health information to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander context through development of mental health stories. The stories focus on personal strengths and family support, and use local artwork and images, local language, metaphors and music.

An Approach to Treating Depressive and Psychotic Illness in Indigenous Communities

This study is one of the activities of a multi-site research program, the Australian Mental Health Initiative (AIMhi), funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council. AIMhi in the Northern Territory collaborated with Aboriginal mental health workers and Northern Territory remote service providers in developing a range of resources and strategies to promote improved Indigenous mental health outcomes. A brief intervention that combines the principles of motivational interviewing, problem solving therapy and chronic disease self-management is described.

An empowerment intervention for Indigenous communities: an outcome assessment


Empowerment programs have been shown to contribute to increased empowerment of individuals and build capacity within the community or workplace. To-date, the impact of empowerment programs has yet to be quantified in the published literature in this field. This study assessed the Indigenous-developed Family Wellbeing (FWB) program as an empowerment intervention for a child safety workforce in remote Indigenous communities by measuring effect sizes. The study also assessed the value of measurement tools for future impact evaluations.


Another 16 AHCSA research graduates

Sixteen aspiring Aboriginal researchers are the latest to graduate from the Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia’s Certificate IV in Indigenous Research Capacity Building, a nationally accredited course supported and part-funded by the Lowitja Institute along with Flinders University and James Cook University. The graduation was celebrated on a beautiful summer evening in December 2011, cruising up Adelaide’s Port River on the Port Princess Dolphin Cruise.

Better medication management for Aboriginal people with mental health disorders: A survey of providers


To explore the experiences and training needs of service providers in relation to medication management for Aboriginal people with mental health disorders. Design:Survey Setting:Aboriginal and mainstream health and human service organisations in metropolitan, rural and remote South Australia.


Bridging the Health Equity Gap - A Submission from the Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health to the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission

On 13 February 2008, the Federal Government delivered an Apology to Australia’s Indigenous Peoples. The Prime Minister’s address to the House of Representatives, witnessed live on television by hundreds of thousands of people, was a dramatic and moving event.

Bush tucker, conversation and rich pictures: Capacity recognition and entrepreneurship through systemic praxis with Neporendi Forum Inc.

Rescuing the Enlightenment from Itself: Critical and Systemic Implications for Democracy presents papers that make the case that good governance is about thinking and practice that can lead to a better balance of social, cultural, political, economic and environmental concerns to ensure a sustainable future for ourselves and for future generations. The work is inspired by the thinking of C. West Churchman and forms the first volume in a new series: C. West Churchmans Legacy and Related Works.

Capacity building in Indigenous policy-relevant health research

This program brings together some of Australia’s leading experts in Indigenous health research to build capacity to address one of the nation’s most pressing concerns: to develop a critical mass of Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers who combine advanced quantitative skills with a keen understanding of the needs of policy makers.

Capacity development

The Lowitja Institute places a strong emphasis on building the capacity of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and research workforce. Capacity development activity focuses on building the capability of stakeholders to take up and use research as well as on developing researchers’ skills.

The Lowitja Institute aims to develop the capacity of the research workforce in the field of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health by:

Central Northern Adelaide Health Service Family and Community Healing Program: Evaluation report 31 March 2008

The Family and Community Healing (FCH) Program aims to develop effective responses to family violence that address the levels of complexity within Aboriginal families and communities in the Central Eastern/Western metropolitan region of Adelaide. Strengths of the Program include evidence based design, holistic approach, clinical focus, committed staff, inter-sectoral linkages, peer support, mentoring, and Aboriginal cultural focus.

Centre for Clinical Research Excellence (CCRE) in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health

The CCRE in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health was established to conduct Aboriginal community-controlled population health and outcome-oriented research on strategies and systems that would support individuals and communities to prevent and manage chronic disease. It was also designed to provide a range of training opportunities for Aboriginal people in research and clinical skills, to build the capacity of Aboriginal communities to direct and conduct their own health research and to deliver quality health services.

Challenges in Identifying and Studying the Research Workforce in Indigenous Health

There can be little doubt that improving the health of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population is a critical issue for Australia. As most readers would be aware, Indigenous Australians are disadvantaged on a large range of health and socioeconomic measures. This paper explains the challenges that can come in identifying and studying the research workforce for indigenous health and recommendations to solve these challenges is also given.


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