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Showing posts tagged with 'Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people'

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We're In This Together

This week is National Reconciliation Week. At Wentworth Healthcare we recognise that “Reconciliation” is not just a word - it is a process that requires change and positive action. It is a journey for all Australians - as individuals, families, communities, organisations and importantly as a nation. At the heart of this journey are relationships between the broader Australian community and Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples.

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New Aboriginal Mental Health & Addiction Support Workers

Our organisation has always had a strong commitment to supporting the local Aboriginal community, which is encapsulated in our Reconciliation Action Plan that we launched earlier this year.

The voice of this community is an important one, and helps us to shape how our services are designed so they culturally appropriate.

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Introducing our Reconciliation Action Plan

Last week, in recognition of Reconciliation week, we were proud to officially launch our first Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). This RAP formalises our vision to improve the health of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people and embed their community needs into our everyday business and culture.

“Reconciliation” is not just a word - it is a process that requires a change of culture and positive action. It is an ongoing journey. Whether we’re engaging in challenging conversations or unlearning and relearning what we know, this journey requires all of us to walk together with courage.

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Breath of Fresh Air Campaign Launches

Last Friday, on World No Tobacco Day, we were excited to launch our Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander focused smoking cessation campaign - Breath of Fresh Air.

Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people are still overrepresented when it comes to tobacco use, which could indicate that current anti-smoking initiatives are not effectively engaging Aboriginal people.

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Young, Strong & Deadly - helping Close the Gap

Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people still face unequal health outcomes. On average, Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people die more than 10 years younger than other Australians.

National Close the Gap Day, on 21 March, highlights this issue and provides Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians the opportunity to come together to share information and to support the work that aims to achieve Indigenous health equality.

We have a strong history of collaborating with Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander communities in the region to identify gaps in services relating to health and taking action to close those gaps.

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Young, Strong & Deadly

This month is Mental Health Awareness Month and a great opportunity to highlight one of our commissioned services, Blue Mountains Aboriginal Culture Resource Centre (ACRC), and the amazing work they are doing with young Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people in our region through their Young, Strong & Deadly Program.

Young, Strong & Deadly is a dual early intervention Mental Health and Alcohol & Other Drugs prevention program for young Aboriginal people between 13-28 years of age. Delivered primarily through schools, the program is designed to strengthen young people’s connection to country and cultural identity, creating a positive sense-of-self and community. This creates a sense of belonging that increases their personal resilience and decreases their risks of mental illness and alcohol and other drugs addiction.

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Cancer Screening Program on a Winning Streak

Our Cancer Screening program team recently attended the sixth annual 2017 Innovations in Cancer Treatment and Care Conference in Sydney, which brings together NSW health professionals to learn and share the latest innovations in quality cancer treatment and care.

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Our immunisation rates among the best

A government report released last month showed that immunisation rates in our region are amongst the highest in Australia but I was most pleased that we have significantly closed the gap on immunisation among the Aboriginal childhood community.

With 97.5% of five year old Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in our region fully immunised, we are placed second among all Primary Health Networks.

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NAIDOC Week 2017

As the nation celebrates NAIDOC Week, within our region, I was proud to attend the launch of NAIDOC on Monday at Penrith City Council's Civic Reception.

NAIDOC Week celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples. NAIDOC is celebrated not only in Indigenous communities, but by Australians from all walks of life. 

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PHNs delivering Alcohol and Other Drug Services

In October 2015, the Final Report of the National Ice Taskforce was submitted to the Australian Government, detailing strategies to address the high level of drug use - particularly methamphetamine use - in Australia.

A key recommendation from the report was tasking PHNs with the role of ensuring Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) treatment services within their region met the needs of their local population. In response, the Federal Government committed $241.5 million to primary health networks commencing late 2016, to increase AOD treatment services - including addressing methamphetamine use - across Australia.

Our PHN has since been working around the clock to set up a range of new AOD services within our region. 

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Taking the next steps for Reconciliation

This week is national Reconciliation Week. Our organisation has a history of collaborating with the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander community in our region, working with them to identify gaps in services relating to health and take action to close those gaps.

We have extensively partnered with the Blue Mountains Aboriginal Health Coalition, and from that relationship, established programs such as Healthy for Life.

The Closing the Gap program, as well as the Healthy for Life program, were tailored to meet the needs of the local community. Through these programs across the last eight years we have assisted nearly 700 people, and supported dozens of cultural events, such as the NAIDOC Cup and Closing the Gap day.

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Closing the Gap Program Transition

Wentworth Healthcare and its predecessor organisations have been providing the Aboriginal Health Closing the Gap program across the region for the past 7 years.

As part of our move to commission services rather than providing them directly, we undertook an expression of interest and request for proposal process whereby interested organisations submitted an application to take on the delivery of the Closing the Gap program.

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Mental Health and Alcohol & Drug (AOD) program

This week, I took part in a Workshop with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Advisory Group, in Canberra.

Attended by CEOs from every PHN, this workshop was a terrific opportunity to discuss the best practice approaches to mental health and suicide prevention for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

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Healthy for Life program

As we bid farewell to our staff who have delivered the Blue Mountains Healthy for Life program for the last six years, I would like to take a moment to reflect on the successes that have been achieved by this program.

We are very proud of these successes, and have countless stories that show the difference this program has made to the lives of Aboriginal people living in the Blue Mountains. 

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Lizz Reay's avatar
Lizz Reay is the CEO of Wentworth Healthcare, provider of the Nepean Blue Mountains Primary Health Network. Previously Deputy CEO of Nepean Blue Mountains Medicare Local & Nepean Division of General Practice, she has an extensive background in public health.
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