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AH & MRC 10th Year Graduation

This week NATSIHWA attended the AH&MRC 10th Year Graduation ceremony which saw over 60 students graduate through the Aboriginal Health College at Little Bay in Sydney.

The events MC was Luke Carrol who coordinated the proceedings which commenced with Graduates being ushered in by the Digeridoo which was played by Brock Tutt. Dance performances by Buuja Buuja Butterfly Dancers set the scene for the historic event.
Uncle Les Davison providing a warm welcome to country on the lands of the Cadigal of the Eora Nation, with the Patron of the Aboriginal Health College Professor the Hon. Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO and Sandra Bailey CEO AH&MRC in attendance.

Keynote Speeches were provided by Mrs Christine Corby OAM (AH&MRC Chairperson), Professor Brian Layland OAM. The Educators Speech was presented by Chris Southwell who highlighted the tremendous work that students had contributed throughout their studies during the year.

Student Reponses were provided by Sue Jenkins, Chris Rowden and Kim Foley where they spoke about their journey’s during their courses and provided encouragement to others that were contemplating studying.

The event culminated in a joint luncheon with all family and friends joining in the celebrations.
On behalf of NATSIHWA we wish to Congratulate all the 2017 Graduates from the Aboriginal Health College and wish them all the best for their future careers and/or studies.

 "Mental Health in Remote and Rural Communities.”

This research paper presents three years of RFDS patient data (2013-2016) for people who underwent an aeromedical retrieval for a mental or behavioural disorder. Analysis of the 2,567 RFDS patient records revealed: 
  • Males (n=1,568, 61.1%) were 1.6 times as likely as females (n=998, 38.9%) to require an aeromedical retrieval for a mental disorder;
  • Retrieved patients ranged in age from less than 4 years of age to 85 years of age or older;
  • One in every two retrievals (47.8%) for a mental disorder was for a person aged 20–39 years;
  • The mean age at which patients were retrieved was 35–39 years (non-Indigenous Australians mean age 40–44 years; Indigenous Australians mean age 25–29 years);
  • Males were more likely to undergo an aeromedical retrieval than females for all age groups except 10–14 years and 60–64 years, when females were more likely to be retrieved than males of the same age group; and 
  • 2.2% of retrievals for mental disorders were for children under the age of 15.
Age-specific aeromedical retrieval rates were calculated and were higher among Indigenous Australians than non-Indigenous Australians. Indigenous Australians of all age groups were between 3.5 times and 40.6 times as likely as non-Indigenous Australians to be retrieved for a mental disorder. The age-specific retrieval rate was highest in Indigenous Australians aged 35–39 years (3.25 per 1,000 population), closely followed by Indigenous Australians aged 25–29 years (2.57 per 1,000 population) and 30–34 years (2.24 per 1,000 population). 
The three main diagnoses that triggered a patient’s aeromedical retrieval for a mental disorder were:
1. Schizophrenic psychosis; 
2. Depressive disorders; and 
3. Drug psychosis. 
The research recommends the following actions to improve mental health outcomes of remote and rural Australians:
  • Stronger recognition in the Fifth National Mental Health Plan of the significant barriers and challenges, including the large geographic and travel distances, that are faced by those in remote and rural areas when seeking to access comprehensive mental health services, as well as consideration of how these can be overcome;
  • Implementation of innovative service models, including consideration of further use of RFDS infrastructure to deliver necessary, appropriate, and more comprehensive mental health and suicide prevention services more often; and 
  • Appropriate resourcing by all levels of governments, to provide more long-term funding certainty.
RFDS worked with key organisations in preparing this paper and hopes the release of the paper provides an opportunity to consider methods by which the provision of mental health and social and emotional wellbeing services in remote and rural communities can be enhanced.

For more information contact Lara Bishop 02 6269

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health organisations: Online Services Report—key results 2015–16

This is the eighth national report on organisations funded by the Australian Government to provide health services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. In 2015–16: 204 organisations provided primary health-care services to around 461,500 clients through 5.4 million client contacts and 3.9 million episodes of care; 216 counsellors from 93 organisations provided social and emotional wellbeing services to around 18,900 clients through 88,900 client contacts; 80 organisations provided substance-use services to around 32,700 clients through 170,400 episodes of care.

National Key Performance Indicators for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary health care: June 2016

This fourth national report on the national Key Performance Indicators (nKPIs) data collection is based on data from more than 240 primary health care organisations that received funding from the Australian Government Department of Health to provide services primarily to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Information is presented for 22 ‘process-of-care’ and ‘health outcome’ indicators for June 2016, which focus on maternal and child health, preventative health, and chronic disease management. The report shows continuous improvements for the majority of indicators.
ARTICLE SOURCE: Palm Island Voice Newsletter

Palm Island Nurse Hopes to Rein in Kidney Disease 

Renal nurse Lauwana Blackley has returned to Palm Island in a bid to turn the tide of chronic kidney disease suffered by many locals. Lauwana said slowing the progression of chronic kidney disease through educating the community was a key component of her position.

“I believe the community and our patients will be more receptive to our messages and their treatment if that message is coming from one of their own people,” she said.

“Through education we can slow the progression of chronic kidney disease but people need to be receptive to the message."

“I am really delighted to be home to see my family and it is a real privilege that I’ll be able to look after my community who really feel the impact of this chronic illness.” 

Lauwana said she wanted to provide the community with the tools they need to take ownership of their kidney health. She said the preventative messages for the community were to get regular exercise, drink plenty of water, quit smoking and to keep a close eye on their blood pressure and blood sugars.

In 1999, Lauwana began her career as a health worker at Joyce Palmer Health Service before beginning a nursing degree at James Cook University in 2011.

After graduating in 2013, she spent four years working at The Townsville Hospital renal dialysis unit and at the North Ward satellite clinic. At the beginning of 2017, she felt the call to go home.

“I really felt ready to go home and help my community,” she said. “Hopefully we start to see some results and I can act as inspiration for more of my family and friends on the island to consider a career in health.”

Indigenous Health Services Group director Ms Liza Tomlinson said research had shown Aboriginal health workers achieved better health outcomes for their patients.

“Lauwana has established a reputation as being an excellent renal nurse here in Townsville and I have no doubt she will be an invaluable health asset for the Palm Island community,” she said. 



Join the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers Association (NATSIHWA) for a one day CPD networking workshop focussed on current workforce development opportunities.

Upskill and strengthen your skill level in a specialised area and find out what is happening through program development, education and funding opportunities.

Hear from organisations such as: PHN Primary Heath Network, CranaPlus, Autism QLD, Rheumatic Heart, PEPA Program of Experience in the Palliative Approach, Aboriginal Learning Circle, Diabetes Australia, IBA Indigenous Business Australia, HESTA Superannuation, 1800 RESPECT, Hearing Australia and more to be annuonced in the coming months (tailored for your specific region).

Current topics on the agenda:

Who is NATSIHWA? - an update on what is happening on a national level.

NATSIHWA Membership Benefits - Why join? Access to online members portal, web resources, weekly eNewsletter and social media.

Scope of Practice - An update on the development of the national framework for the scope of practice for ATSIHW's and ATSIHP's.

AHPRA - Who is AHPRA and what do they do? Why register with AHPRA? CPD requirements of ongoing registration.

Modern Award - An update on the progress of the modern award process with Fair Work Australia.

Workforce Development - Career development, training opportunities, CPD Points, GNARTN Tool, Scholarships.

Master in Public Health

Institute of Koorie Education Deakin University

Applications Open for Trimester 2 Intake – July 2017

The MPH is delivered via a residential study program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.  This important initiative encourages Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders students to bring their own knowledge and experience in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practice to the study program and helps inform evidence based practice.  The study program focuses on:

  • Enhanced capacity to strategically contribute to health policy and health promotion programs;
  • Research skills;
  • Skills and knowledge necessary to tackle existing and emerging public health issues in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities; and
  • Broad base of knowledge and expertise valuable for public health practice and management.

How to Apply
Contact the Institute of Koorie Education at or phone (03) 52272538.
Wendy Anders at or Janice Jessen


The South West Aboriginal Medical Service (SWAMS) is a non Government Health Service based in Bunbury which provides a variety of health services to Aboriginal people in the South West of Western Australia.  SWAMS delivers a wide range of community programs and has a strong growth strategy through partnership opportunities and future community development.

Aboriginal Health Worker (50d) Full Time

Here at SWAMS we have an exciting position available for someone looking to make a difference. As an Aboriginal Health Worker, you will be involved in assessment, care coordination, support, advocacy and community development activities.

Specific requirements of this position include but are not limited to;

Essential Criteria

  • Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders descent under section 50(d) Equal Opportunity Act.
  • Current Certificate IV (preferred) in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care.
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively and sensitively with Aboriginal people.
  • A demonstrated understanding of the unique issues affecting and impacting upon the health of Aboriginal people
  • Experience, skills and knowledge in multidisciplinary teamwork and conflict management.
  • Sound written and oral communication skills. 
  • Demonstrated organisational and time management skills along with an ability to adapt to changing needs.
  • Knowledge and experience in the provision of health promotion programs. 
  • Knowledge of community and local Aboriginal cultural issues. 

Desirable Criteria

  • Knowledge and expertise in the use of Communicare or similar clinical database system.

All candidates must have a WA Drivers License and will be required to undertake a National Police Check prior to beginning employment.

In addition to above award wages, Salary Sacrifice is available for the right candidate .

For Information 

For further information about this position, please telephone the Human Resources Coordinator on (08) 9791 1166 during normal business hours.

To Apply

To apply for this role, please visit Current Vacancies and click on the role that you would like to apply for. This will take you to through the online application process. Alternatively please come and see one of the friendly HR staff who will be able to assist you in going through the online application process

Applications must be received by 5pm Wednesday, 14th June 2017

SWAMS reserves the right to withdraw this advertisement prior to the stated closing date.

To apply online, please click on the appropriate link below. Alternatively, for a confidential discussion, please contact Tia Ashwin on , quoting Ref No. 758896.



Primary Health Networks

PHNs have been established with the key objectives of increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of medical services for patients, particularly those at risk of poor health outcomes, and improving coordination of care to ensure patients receive the right care in the right place at the right time.
Let us navigate you to the page most relevant to you by clicking the link for your area below.       

Job Vacancies

Deputy Director - Aboriginal Health  

Permanent Full Time
Sydney Local Health District - Camperdown
Health Managers/Health Mgr Lvl 3
$105,615.00 - $120,402.00

• Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent (An applicant's race is a genuine occupational qualification and is authorised under section 14(d) of the Anti Discrimination Act 1977)

• Demonstrated Aboriginal Health management experience including experience in the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policy and service planning

• Experience in the planning, development, monitoring and evaluation of Aboriginal Health programs.

• Highly developed knowledge and understanding of the dynamics of Aboriginal health service delivery including the role of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services.

• Sound knowledge of legislative and policy frameworks for health policy issues, Aboriginal health, and the social, cultural, political and health issues affecting Aboriginal people, families and communities.

• Demonstrated ability to work with, and earn the trust and respect of, Aboriginal people and organisations.

• Demonstrated ability to consult and negotiate around complex and sensitive issues at state and local levels

• Unrestricted NSW driver’s licence (P2 licence acceptable)


Aboriginal Quitline Coordinator

Medibank is delivering the best possible smoking cessation outcomes for Aboriginal clients in NSW and ACT on behalf of Quitline, the Cancer Institute of NSW and Healthdirect Australia.

The Aboriginal Quitline Program provides both inbound and outbound calls to Aboriginal clients who are considering smoking cessation. We have a dedicated team of counsellors who provide specific interventions such as delivering one off counselling, focusing on quit planning, supporting with quitting (including managing withdrawal symptoms), providing strategies for relapse prevention and providing outbound milestone checks.

Joining our Relationship Management team, the Aboriginal Coordinator will provide team leadership and program direction in relation to Quitline, specifically focused on the delivery of the program to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Clients. This is a 12 month maternity leave contract and will be critical in promoting the service & liaising with Aboriginal Health workers & key Aboriginal Health & Community Controlled Services to ensure strong partnerships. The role will have a distinct community focus and will be key in the promotion of the program amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. This is a satisfyingly broad role with a range of responsibilities including:

  • Develop and implement Aboriginal Health Community Engagement Strategies for the NSW and ACT Aboriginal Quitline program
  • Foster relationships within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to promote awareness of services by travelling to identified communities;
  • Represent NSW Quitline at Aboriginal Health community events, organising and hosting promotional stalls as required;
  • Lead Aboriginal Advisory Groups with participation from key influencers in Aboriginal health groups to inform service design and the delivery of service improvement initiatives;
  • Lead engagement efforts to increase the variety of services delivered to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities;
  • Support the development and delivery of cultural education and training across the business and contribute to the Aboriginal Employment Strategy.

About You

You have exceptional communication and stakeholder engagement skills which enable you to build strong and lasting relationships across a range of internal and external stakeholders/clients and community groups. Critical thinking, decision making and problem solving skills are your strong suit as is your ability to lead and motivate others to achieve shared goals and objectives. You will also have the following skills and experience:

  • Strong community engagement experience with Aboriginal communities, ideally in health, welfare or similar;
  • Strong delivery focus; project management skills will be highly regarded; 

Highly desirable – experience as a Counsellor, Registered Nurse or Allied Health Professional

This position will only be open to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander applicants – Medibank considers this to be a genuine occupational requirement under the relevant anti-discrimination legislation.


Courses and Workshops

Click on any of the links below to be directed to the websites offering courses and workshops for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Health Practitioners.


Watch this space for accredited RTO's

For up to the minute Approved Programs of study please follow the link:

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook! Visit our website
NATSIHWA acknowledges the traditional owners and custodians of this Land the Ngunnawal and Ngambri peoples, and pay deep respect to their Elders both past and present. We also pay respect to the cultural authority of our members that are spread across Australia
Copyright © 2017 NATSIHWA, All rights reserved.

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