The AH&MRC embodies a unique Community representative structure. AH&MRC also embraces the Aboriginal values of trust, integrity, consensus and the principle of local Aboriginal community control in all matters related to the Aboriginal community. Whilst health services are delivered to individuals, the dominant objective of the Aboriginal community controlled health sector is ameliorating ill health within the Aboriginal community mindful that the health of Aboriginal people is gauged by the health of the Community as a whole.
The definition of “health” adopted by AH&MRC is that which was composed and adopted by the National Aboriginal and Islander Health Organization (NAIHO) in 1979. (NAIHO is now the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health organisation - NACCHO):
“Aboriginal health” means not just the physical well-being of an individual but refers to the social, emotional and cultural well-being of the whole Community in which each individual is able to achieve their full potential as a human being, thereby bringing about the total well-being of their Community. It is a whole-of-life view and includes the cyclical concept of life-death-life.
Health care services should strive to achieve the state where every individual is able to achieve their full potential as a human being and this bring about the total well-being of their community.”
National Aboriginal Health Strategy, 1989
Aboriginal Community Control: "Community control is the local community having control of issues that directly affect their community". Implicit in this definition is the clear statement that Aboriginal people must determine and control the pace, shape, and manner of change and decision making at [all] levels."The National Aboriginal Health Strategy". National Aboriginal Health Strategy Working Party, 1989
Wholistic health: Aboriginal health is not just the physical well-being of an individual but the social, emotional and cultural well-being of the whole community in which each individual is able to achieve their full potential as a human being."The National Aboriginal Health Strategy". National Aboriginal Health Strategy Working Party, 1989
Self-Determination: The ability of Aboriginal people to determine their own political, economic, social and cultural development as an essential approach to overcoming Indigenous disadvantage. "Aboriginal Peoples Making the Health System Equitable". National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation. 2nd 2007
Cultural Respect: The recognition, protection, and continued advancement of the inherent rights, cultures and traditions of Aboriginal people. The Australian Health Ministers' Advisory Council – Standing Committee for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Working Party (2004). Cultural respect framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health 2004-2009. Adelaide: Department of Health South Australia.
Leadership: Advancing the interests of Aboriginal communities through ACCHSs and their collective knowledge of the communities they are accountable to in order to ensure their involvement in decision making and public debate.
Partnership: Cooperation to ensure that the expertise and experience of the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health sector is brought to health care processes. This expertise comprises knowledge of Aboriginal culture and health care, and clinical service provision of the AH&MRC's constituent services. "The National Aboriginal Health Strategy". National Aboriginal Health Strategy Working Party, 1989