Our People to Live Stronger & Longer

Ear Health Forum 2022

AH&MRC Ear Health Forum in collaboration with our Ear health stakeholders and Member Services was held at Mercure Hotel Sydney NSW on Gadigal country, on Friday 9th December 2022.

This event was a great opportunity for our ACCHO sector to discuss the critical issues around ear health, and also showcase health training and equipment that is available to them. We were also able to address gaps and barriers with this section, and solutions in how to get more accessible quality of care in Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander communities.

We received a high attendance with over 40 patrons across our Member Services, Stakeholders and also special guests.

Special thanks to Uncle Allen Madden for our Welcome to Country, and AH&MRC Director or Operation Joanne Grant who addressed the forum, and Nicole Turner who was our MC for the day.

We’re also fortunate enough to have guest speaker via Zoom Professor Kelvin Kong who is an Otolaryngology, Head & Neck Surgeon (Ear Nose and Throat Surgeon) who has demonstrated history of working across the health industry, involved in clinical research, medical education, medicine, surgery, paediatrics, health policy and Indigenous education.

All our guest speakers were widely received, and included Rural Doctors Network, Hearing Australia First Nations Unit, Tafe NSW, Sonic Equipment, AH&MRC Service Performance and Quality Acting Manager Richie Garcia.

Finally, thanks to all the staff that helped put this event together.

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Eye Health Conference 2022

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Eye Health Conference 2022

“Our Vision Our Hands”(NATSIEHC22)

Date: 24th-26th May 2022

Location: Double Tree Esplanade Darwin

Hosted by: University of Melbourne & Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory

Attended by & prepared by: Shelley Du & Mafi Kailahi

AH&MRC supported 2 staff from the Public Health Intelligence unit to attend the NATSIEHC 2022 conference.

Day 1 – First Nations Delegates Only

Visions For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Eye Health in 2030

  • WORKFORCE “Radical change in eye health education led by Aboriginal people”
  • “Every child in Australia by age 5 has an eye health assessment”
  • “Equitable access to eye health services regardless of location”
  • “Patient led technology driven eye health”
  • “Better health outcomes through ATSI co-developed pathways”
  • (Challenging concepts such as “remote”, “overcrowding” and “capacity building”)
  • “Software and algorithmic diagnosis process to revolutionise the eye care service deliver”

In 2022 the conference is being overseen by an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership group, chaired by Shaun Tatipata (Pic below with Mafi Kailahi Programs Officer Ear health/Eye Health AHMRC)

The Program Advisory Group (PAG) and Conference Organising Group will report to the leadership group. Members of the PAG include representatives from AMSANT, OA, RANZCO, Vision 2020 Australia, The Fred Hollows Foundation and The Brien Holden Foundation.

The conference aims to advance the collective work of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander eye health sector towards the shared goal of improving eye health access and outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

Key note speakers:

  • Thomas Mayor

Thomas is a lead campaigner for the Uluru Statement from the Heart proposal for a constitutionally enshrined First Nations Voice and the author of Dear Son – Letters and Reflections from First Nations Fathers and Sons.

  • Nicole Turner

Nicole’s passion is nutrition and living a healthy lifestyle. She believes we need to give knowledge to our people about the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and preventing chronic diseases.

  • Summer May Finlay

This announcement completes the keynote speaker line up for the conference and we are proud and delighted that Summer May Finlay, Thomas Mayor, Nicole Turner and Jaki Adams will be joining us and sharing their knowledge and wisdom.

  • Jaki Adams – Inaugural Jilpia Nappaljari Jones Memorial Oration

IEH is honoured to announce that the family of the late Jilpia Nappaljari Jones AM have provided their blessing for an annual invited, keynote presentation in memory of Jilpia by a female Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander leader in eye health.                           

The conference brought together the Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander eye health care workers and showcased how eye care clinicians, policy makers, researchers and non-government organisations are working with community to improve eye health access and outcomes.

Thomas Mayor made a moving speech about racism in politics and the Uluru Statement From the Heart. There were several presentations about how culturally safe projects have been carried out and different methods of community involvement to promote eye care and a focus on the environmental issues that affect health.

The conference was overseen by an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership group and its strengths lie not only in bringing a diverse group of eye health workers together but also in its cultural messaging. Delegates had the pleasure of witnessing a welcome reception with cultural performances (see photos) and Non-First Nations delegates were taught about kinship systems while the First Nations delegates convened to discuss their visions for the future of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Eye Health.

Although I work in the chronic care space, I found the methods of co-designing and community involvement creative and useful for our team to adapt in future and the presentations on diabetic retinopathy particularly valuable.

Awards Night:

  • Orange Aboriginal Medical Service (OAMS) received an Award for their Eye Care Model & AH&MRC were mentioned during the presentation of the award – OAMS were not present. Nikki Turner presented the Award to OAMS at the AH&MRC CQI event.

Day 2

Concurrent Workshop and Oral Presentation Session – Break out sessions

Workshop 2: Retinal Cameras in Primary Care. Neville Turner, Kristin Bell

Non-mydriatic retinal camera

Learning how to use the retinal camera and read and detect any eye health issues.

(Break to take group pic of all delegates attended the conference – Melbourne Uni)

Closing Session with Chairs: Shaun Tatipata and Anne-Marie Banfield


  • A Presentation from Kristopher Rallah-Baker
  • Report back from Visions 2030 – Potentially forming a First Nations Eye Health Alliance
  • Report back from Campfire Session Topics:
  • National peak body for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander eye health
  • Inreach eye care- a group of private practices keen to deliver cultural safe care
  • Diabetic retinopathy treatment and cost
  • Reconciliation Action Plans (RAPs) for eye care organisations: advice & lessons
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander optometry student recruitment and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

Student experiences

  • Department of Health
  • Tasmanian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander eye care
  • Transitioning funding to Aboriginal-led solution
  • RTO delivering the full eye health elective in the AHW/P qualifications
  • Linking reform – primary care, NRHA?MBS, Indigenous health
  • Indigenous optometry students recruitment