Aboriginal Health & Medical Research Council of NSW

Health Programs – Quarterly Update

July 1st, 2022

Categories: Uncategorised

Sector Support will now be known as Health Program

The team consists of the following areas:

  • Chronic Care
  • Sexual health
  • Alcohol and Other Drugs
  • Mental Health
  • NDIS
  • Ear and Eye health
  • YHYF – promotion of 715’s
  • Smoking Cessation
  • Suicide Prevention
  • Workforce Development Support Unit

Each of these programs currently represent on a number of advisory committees, run forums to create networking opportunities, but also to learn about any challenges and good new stories that are occurring. The health programs team engages with the RTO to provide advice on courses that are required based on what we have learned from our yarns with the sector, but also advises policy about the challenges occurring in specific  area’s. Additionally, the team cerate’s resources in collaboration with the program area’s advisory committees, and try to support with any request that is sent to us by our member services.

Within the Month of June the health programs team have been working towards wrapping the end of financial year up, and completing funding body reporting. Below is a summary from each program area of the work that has occurred over the past 3- 6 months.

Your health your future

 The Your Health Your Future program seeks to enhance health literacy, increase awareness and knowledge of annual health checks, and provide further engagement though health promotional days at a community level in collaboration with member services. The messaging and engagement with Aboriginal Communities by the AH&MRC serves to be culturally safe, educational, and effortlessly drawn off the effective mode of health promotion through modelling on lived experience and understanding the structural theories of Aboriginal perspectives. The program aims to utilise 2 models of health those of that being the social and health promotion models. Ultimately the program engages directly with community and works collaboratively with member services to increase health education through the promotion of the importance of annual 715s. Your Health Your Future promotes the concept of self-determination and encourages Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People to take care of their health. Your Health not only centralises around one being, or an individual, it targets Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as a collective. It encourages individuals to not only be in control of their health, but to promote the importance of all health, to all people. Your Future is a key component of taking care of physical, mental, and spiritual health, it promotes the concept of staying healthy for one and all’s future. Future is dependant of knowledge, kin, and good health.

The YHYF artwork represents AH&MRC’s commitment to ensuring access to high quality health care services for Aboriginal communities, the colours used show the connection to our land and the importance of this in our health journey. Each element points to the health challenges that our people face and the journey to healing -Aleera Baker, Artist

On the 28th May 2022, the team engaged community members at the MAYI festival through the promotion of merchandise, inclusive of shirts, lunch boxes, backpacks, yoga mats, sportswear, football’s, and umbrellas and fun activities for kids and adults that depicted aspects of good health. Activities involved in getting the merchandise consisted of completing a video promoting what good health is, how community take care of there health or simply saying ‘Your Health, Your Future’. Community was also encouraged to utilize their local Aboriginal Medical Service (AMS) if they were interested in receiving more merchandise, and education was subtly provided about the annual Aboriginal Health Checks (715s). Throughout the day, there was great uptake of these videos’, consent was sought, and information was provided on the futuristic use of the videos captured. Overall, community members were really encouraging and enthusiastic in participating in the activities. A collated video of communities yarning about ‘your health, your future’, will be provided to BACHS on completion. The entire day met the expectation of its meaning through bringing community together as ‘one’, storytelling, yarning and laughing

On the 22 June, the team engaged the Ungooroo community members through the Ungooroo community expo. This event run a little differently, with many stakeholders joining us and health passports were adopted. The team engaged NRL players to be apart of the event of which excited the community. The community were given the opportunity to ask questions of the NRL players, whereby young people were keen to hear about how they become NRL stars and what is the process of doing so. The AH&MRC registered nurses came along to assist the clinical staff with general obs and immunisatons, of which engaged many community members.


Sexual health

The sexual health program has supported the YHYF community events through encouraging communities to attend there local AMS to complete a 715.

Additionally, sexual health activities were promoted to community, whereby community could win the YHYF artwork doonar cover by guessing the number of condoms in the box, and answering one sexual health question. The most frequently asked question were,  ‘what is the most common STI’ and ‘why are condoms important ‘. The uptake of this activity varied in each community event, and really highlighted the need for further sexual health promotion in Bourke.

This month, we have excitingly locked in Yerin Aboriginal Health Service to allow the AH&MRC to conduct a couple of site visits to work with them on developing a sexual health model of care, and potential programs. We will continue to work with Yerin prior to the sexual health workshop that will be held in Sydney within the 1st half of next year.

Lastly, we have engaged Aboriginal consultant Eliza Pross, from Ochre and Salt to assist in the development of a train the trainer training pack, as well as an in school sexual health training kit, this program is currently known as ‘DOIN IT RIGHT’

The current manual can be found à DOIN IT RIGHT – Manual 


The sexual health programs officer position is currently being advertised and re-recruited to.


Chronic Care & Cancer

The chronic care programs has been busy developing the new  Living Longer Stronger Website Click here. This website in its current format will be a ‘one stop shop’ for Aboriginal Health Workers/Practitioners to go for further information on chronic diseases, that will also consist of many resources from our key stakeholders.

And supporting services with the enhancement of their chronic care programs and or promotion; services supported to date;

  • Ungooroo Aboriginal Health Service
  • Yerin Aboriginal Health Service
  • Albury Wodonga Aboriginal Health Service
  • Illawarra Aboriginal Medical Service
  • Galambila Aboriginal Health Service

The Chronic Care program are also calling for more  interest for the sector to be a part of the Chronic care and Cancer Advisory Committee click here.



The NDIS programs officer, Lisa Gundani, has been working hard at networking with the sector through conducting site visits, developing resources in collaboration with our members, as well as convening the NDIS forum that  was an opportunity for First Nations’ disability stakeholders to come together and discuss the various challenges faced by communities. With perspectives from business consultants, First People’s Disability Network, ACCHOs and the NDIA, we were able to dive into the strengths and limitations of the scheme. The event was a learning opportunity for all who attended. As such, we walked away with some points for reflection – how can we better advocate for Aboriginal people (and families) living with disability, and how can we work to address the intersectionality of intergenerational trauma and psychosocial disabilities? Therefore, AH&MRC hopes to continue working closely with First People’s Disability Network in advocating for communities, particularly as it pertains to accessing services in rural and remote areas.

In the coming weeks we will be working closely with our member services in their NDIS auditing processes. This includes quality improvement meetings to ensure services are able to sustainably provide high quality NDIS services. Additionally, we will commence resource development, with which we hope to tell the story of how NDIS supports can work for ACCHOs (providers) and community (participants).

If you would like any more information please contact our NDIS programs officer, Lisa Gundani – lgundani@ahmrc.org.au


Ear & Eye Health

The AH&MRC has been working with the Illawarra Aboriginal Medical Service to develop and implement there ear health in school screening program,

Thus far there has been great success.

The AH&MRC ear and eye health programs officer, Mafi Kailahi  looks forward to bringing the sector together to present and consult on this important model.

Additionally, there are a variety of training opportunities available to the sector, if you are interested in a particular area, let Mafi know, or complete the following form à Ear health training opportunities coming up

 Watch this space for some deadly National Subsidised spectacle scheme resources that will be available to your service to promote to community.


Mental Health & Alcohol and Other Drugs

The Mental health & AOD programs officer, Colin McGrath  has been busy meeting and networking with the AOD and Mental Health workforce through various training, workshops/forums as well as conducting site visits.

Thank you to the workforce that have responded to the AOD Survey  & Mental Health Survey, we will continue to respond to each and everyone of you through the  various ways of connecting.

In collaboration with NSW Health, the AH&MRC co-convened the Mental Health Workforce Wellbeing forum held in Narooma on the 17-18th May 2022.

This forum provided Mental health workforce a networking platform, particularly to share strategies around selfcare and taking care of oneself.

The AH&MRC were so pleased to be apart of the forum, and hope that workforce enjoyed this opportunity.


Suicide Prevention

The AH&MRC Suicide Prevention Coordinator, Lesli Kirwan  has been travelling around to visit the 12 Aboriginal  Community Controlled Health Services that are

apart of the Building Resilience In Aboriginal Communities initiative. Thus far we have been lucky enough to have been welcomed by

  • Armajun Aboriginal Health Service
  • South Coast Medical Service Aboriginal Corporation
  • Maari Ma Health
  • Coonamble Aboriginal Health Service

The team met with many of the staff and yarned about there roles, and the significance of these roles within their community

We were provided with a tour of the incredible services  that is provided to communities.

It has been incredible to reconnect face to face again, after what has been a  challenging few years.

In the next coming weeks, the AH&MRC will be bringing together the 12 ACCHSs involved in the

Building on Resilience in Aboriginal Communities networking opportunity of which will be a great opportunity for member services to meet and network.

Lesli Kiran now only works on Fridays whereby she will be assisting on a variety of things. The position has been re-advertised and will be recruited to in the next coming weeks.


 Workforce Development Support Unit

It’s been a busy time for the WDSU, Nathan Taylor and Aunty Sylvia Akusah, most recently we held the

The loss and grief workshop has returned to NSW with Aunty Rosemary Wanganeen delivering

the 3-day Averting Mental Health Challenges Workshop in Sydney and Tamworth.



The team convened the  Social and Emotional Wellbeing & Alcohol and Other Drugs Workforce Forum on the  9th and 10th June 2022 at the Novotel Wollongong.

After nearly two years without much face-to-face interaction with AH&MRC member services, this was a great opportunity to come together, network, showcase the work and programs from different services, and to learn from the workforce what is needed from the AH&MRC to support them in their roles.

The forums objectives were to:

  • Engage AH&MRC member services
  • Improve the workforces’ capacity
  • Provide information to and increase the workforce’s knowledge
  • Provide networking opportunities for the ACCHS workforce
  • Provide professional development opportunities to the NIAA Funded Services in NSW


On the 14-15 of June the  team provided Wellington Aboriginal Corporation Health Service with Aboriginal Mental Health First Aid, engaging around 14 participants from the service

On the 15 – 17 June, We-Al-Li provided training at Bourke Aboriginal Health Service, Trauma Informed Care and Practice – An Indigenous approach to developing worker skills, engaging around 12 participants, from 3 different services.

The WSDU contract  has now transitioned to the RTO.

Please see below upcoming training and forums. For more information, contact Nathan Taylor at ntaylor@ahmrc.org.au



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