Our People to Live Stronger & Longer

Countdown to AH&MRC Indigenous Health Summit 2024

Calling Indigenous healthcare leaders! Directors, CEOs, Managers, Program Coordinators, and community leaders in Clinical and Medical, Community Engagement, Allied Health, and more – join the AH&MRC Indigenous Health Summit! Explore critical issues with powerful presentations by Stan Grant and the esteemed Dawn Casey PSM of NACCHO.

Engage in Panels on UN’s Declaration Rights, Incarceration, and Maternal Health Models. Dive into Yarning Circles on Smoking Cessation, Decolonising policy, and pandemic lessons. Elevate skills at the Leadership and Innovation Workshop by Nicole Turner.

The Summit will also include guest healing sessions proudly presented by Barrmarrany at the Indigenous Health Summit. Engage in cultural expressive therapy through sessions led by the esteemed Aunty Sylvia.

These sessions are a sanctuary for relaxation, creative rejuvenation, reflection and balance amongst the bustling atmosphere. There are two session available (Monday/Tuesday) and spaces for each session are limited, so save your spot now to avoid missing out.

But, there’s more!

We’re proud to present another feature of the Summit, Breakfast Bites: Conversations for Proud Partnerships in Comprehensive Primary Healthcare in collaboration with the University of Sydney.

Our panel will share practices that encourage and promote Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander leadership as the cornerstone of accessible comprehensive primary healthcare. This is an interactive conversation over a light breakfast – register now, places are limited.

Expression of Interest for Vaccination Support

The public health team is requesting an EOI from ACCHOs wanting support for their yearly Influenza Vaccine clinics. We are offering to assist with vaccinating your patients and communities with the 2024 influenza vaccine as well as ensuring COVID vaccines are up-to-date.  

If you’re interested, please contact the Public Health team with potential dates; number of days required and approximate number of patients requiring vaccination. 

Cryptosporidiosis alert for NSW

After a steep recent increase in cryptosporidiosis cases across the state, NSW Health is advising the community not to swim for at least two weeks after they’ve had diarrhoea.​ 

498 cases of cryptosporidiosis have been reported in NSW so far in 2024, compared to the 5-year average of 95 cases for the same time period. 

Cryptosporidiosis is caused by the parasite, Cryptosporidium, which infects the intestine and is a common cause of acute diarrhoea in young children. Other symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, fever, headache, and loss of appetite. 

People who have had diarrhoea should: 

  • avoid swimming for at least two weeks after your symptoms resolve 
  • avoid sharing towels for at least two weeks after your symptoms resolve
  • avoid handling food for at least 48 hours after your symptoms resolve 
  • children who have diarrhoea should be kept home from preschool, childcare or playgroup until 24 hours after the diarrhoea has completely stopped. 

 NSW Health Alert 23 Feb 2024: Cryptosporidiosis alert for NSW – News 

Supporting People With Cancer (SPWC) Grant Initiative

The Government has a new round of funding to support Australians living with cancer –  Supporting People with Cancer (SPWC) Grant initiative.The Australian Government, through Cancer Australia, is inviting grassroots community organisations and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations working to improve outcomes for people affected by cancer to apply for grants of up to $120,000 each.The SPWC Grant initiative, an annual program, aims to enhance support for individuals affected by cancer by promoting equity in cancer outcomes and experiences. This includes a focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other priority population groups identified in the Australian Cancer Plan (ACP).Successful projects from the 2023 round tailored support for diverse population groups, such as Indigenous communities, regional and rural communities, children affected by cancer, LGBTQ+ people, and culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

Current Grant Opportunity View – GO6713: GrantConnect (grants.gov.au)

The deadline for submissions is 29 February 2024.

End of Life and Palliative Care NGO Grants Program

For further information on this grant opportunity, please visit the NSW Government Grants and Funding Finder listing and review the grant guidelines. Further information and responses to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) can also be found on the NSW Health End of Life and Palliative Care website.

The End of Life and Palliative Care Grants Program aims to complement NSW Health palliative and end of life care services by supporting community initiatives to engage with death and dying. Projects or activities should address one or more of the following key objectives:

  • Increase death and grief literacy in the community.
  • Promote knowledge and implementation of Advanced Care Planning.
  • Provide increased support for bereavement, grief and loss for families and carers.

A total of up to $4 million in funding is available over four years (FY 2023/2024 – 2026/27) under the World Class End of Life Care commitment, with multiple grants of between $320,000 up to $800,000 available ($80,000 – $200,000 per year).

A minimum amount of $800,000 ($200,000 per year) will go towards proposals from Aboriginal community-controlled organisations (ACCHOs or ACCOs).

Any queries regarding the grants program or its application process should be directed to the NGO grants program inbox via MOH-PalliativeCare-NGOGrants@health.nsw.gov.au and will be responded to via the FAQs page on the NSW Health website.

Mental Health Support for Flood Affected Communities

Many NSW communities have experienced repeated and regular flooding over the past few years, causing damage to homes, infrastructure, and livelihoods. There is a growing awareness that natural disasters such as floods can affect people’s mental health both short- and long-term.

To better understand your mental health needs following natural disasters, we ask that a member of your ACCHO team complete the survey: Mental Health Support for Flood Affected Communities.

Upon submission of your survey response, the AH&MRC will be granting each member service the opportunity to attend the Indigenous Health Summit held at the Sydney International Convention Centre (4th-6th March, 2024) free of charge, which will include travel and accommodation costs (up to the value of $3000 per service) reimbursed.

The AH&MRC’s Indigenous Health Summit is a great opportunity to collaborate with your peers from the Aboriginal Community Controlled Sector, and other health partners, as we work towards innovative and sustainable activities to promote and support mental health services in communities.

Find attached the provisional program for the summit here.

Please submit the survey by COB 9th February 2024.

New First Nations Health Rural GP Incentive payment

The new workforce incentive payments (WIP) commenced on 1 January 2024 and will provide encouragement for more doctors with advanced skills in Indigenous health to work in ACCHO’s in regional, rural and remote areas (MM3-7 locations). 

Eligible General Practitioners with advanced skills in First Nations health can take advantage of the new Workforce Incentives Program. Between $4,000 and $10,500 per year is available for doctors providing these advanced skills services.

The qualifications and/ or training which a GP will require to access this payment for First Nations Health are as follows:

  • Advanced Specialised Training in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health (ACRRM).
  • Additional Rural Skills Training in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health (RACGP).
  • GPs and Rural Generalists with 12 months (full-time/1.0 FTE) or more prior experience (within the last five years) working in an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation or Aboriginal Medical Service (prior to commencement of assessment period).
  • GPs and Rural Generalists with 12 months (full-time/1.0 FTE) or more experience (within the last five years) providing health services (AMS, community or hospital setting) in a community (as defined by Australian Bureau of Statistics Indigenous Areas) where at least 70% of the population are First Nations people (prior to commencement of assessment period). See Section 7.1 (List of Eligible Indigenous Areas) in the WIP Rural Advanced Skills Guidelines.

AH&MRC Public Health team visit Yoorana Gunya and Orange AMS

Our Public Health Medical Officer Kath Keenan and our Sexual Health Nurse Kodie Alderton were invited to Yoorana Gunya last week to talk about all things sexual health! The visit included meeting with the Executive and Clinical Teams with a site tour before they got down to some sexual health education and group discussions.

There was contribution from all team members with enthusiastic conversations about processes for the uptake of sexual health screening, the importance of sexual health in the 715-health assessment and how AH&MRC could support Yoorana Gunya to achieve better health outcomes for the community.

Dr Kath and Kodie were also able to stop by Orange AMS (OAMS) and met with CEO Jamie Newman, the Sexual Health Nurse and Clinical Nurse Lead. They toured the already amazing facilities at OAMS and viewed the site for the approved hydrotherapy pool.

The Public Health team look forward to providing ongoing support to the teams visited and are keen to visit other member services. Please email publichealth@ahmrc.org.au if you are interested in a site visit or other assistance for your clinical teams.

Women and Girls Health – Grant Opportunity

Did you know there is a grant opportunity for projects  which are aimed at Improving health outcomes for priority populations of women and girls.

The objective of this grant opportunity is to support innovative approaches to trialing new initiatives, or expanding existing health promotion activities that focus on improving health literacy, reducing risk, and improving health outcomes within priority population groups as identified on Page 15 of the National Women’s Health Strategy 2020-2030. Preference will be given to initiatives that address clear unmet health needs as identified in the Strategy.

Detail on the grant, including timeframes, guidelines and other related information is available here.

Genomics – Revolutionary healthcare

Medications affect people differently and we’re increasingly understanding why. Genomics is the study of genes, and is making it possible to predict, diagnose, and treat diseases more precisely and personally than ever. This is known as Precision Medicine. The NSW flagship of the Australian ALliance for Indigenous GeNomics (ALIGN) group led by has a focus on Precision Medicine.

ALIGN is looking for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Island people who have strong connections to NSW to join an Indigenous Governance Committee to guide and advise on the genomics and precision medicine agenda.

This is an opportunity to contribute to ensuring First Nations Australians have access to revolutionary healthcare.

For further information, keep reading below.

The potential for genomics to deliver health benefits is clear, however, the process for ensuring that Indigenous Australians realise these benefits is less certain. Understanding how to deliver equity and benefit to Indigenous Australians through genomics requires a purposeful alliance between community, health, research, government, and industry that privileges Indigenous leadership and sovereignty.  To achieve this, and following the successful MRFF grant, we have established the:

Australian ALliance for Indigenous GeNomics (ALIGN)

Sovereignty I Equity I Benefit

https://indigenousgenomics.com.au/

ALIGN is a national consortium, led by the Indigenous Genomics Group at Telethon Kids Institute and the Australian National University, in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stakeholders, peak bodies and Communities, as well as research, clinical, industry and institutional partners from across Australia. ALIGN is currently comprised of six nodes of activity in Queensland, New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia. Each node will coordinate efforts to inform core ALIGN activities in: 1) Indigenous Governance of genomics research and clinical care; 2) the development of best practice data systems and data sovereignty; 3) genomics policy; and 4) developing capacity. These represent key foundations to ensuring the equitable receipt of benefit from genomics. In addition, each node will coordinate a Flagship Program that lays the foundations and articulates clear plans for what is required to deliver meaningful benefit to Indigenous communities. The NSW flagship will focus on Precision Medicine.

Australia has never established an alliance of this kind before. It represents a commitment from academia, industry, Government, and our Indigenous community to work collectively to develop a framework – designed by Indigenous people, for Indigenous people – to deliver the benefit of genomic medicine to all Australians. NSW Node is focused on the Precision medicine, and led by Professor Stephen Simpson, (University of Sydney, Charles Perkins Centre) with investigators from Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, The Garvan Institute of Medical Research and University of New South Wales. The work of the NSW node and NSWICG is coordinated and supported Dr Shaz Sazali.

Indigenous governance

Indigenous governance will both underpin and lead ALIGN’s work. It will be instrumental in bringing forward the voices, values, and priorities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, locally and nationally. There are two levels of Indigenous Governance throughout ALIGN. Firstly, ALIGN National Indigenous Governance Council (“Council”), which includes representation from each of the jurisdictional Indigenous Governance Committees, and invited Indigenous leaders with specific knowledge and skills that can help drive our national Indigenous genetic and genomic health governance agenda. Secondly, the jurisdictional Indigenous Governance Committee (NSWIGC), which includes representation from Indigenous researchers working and living in NSW, and key individuals working in NSW health . We are in the process of forming the NSWIGC. The draft Terms of reference are attached.  The Committee will meet up to regularly (frequency is yet to be determined).

If you would like to discuss this further, please feel free to reach out to Professor Alex Brown Alex.Brown@anu.edu.au or Dr Annalee Stearne annalee.stearne@telethonkids.org.au.