Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health

Since 2012 INW PCP has conducted a range of initiatives (through Closing the Health Gap and Koolin Balit funding rounds) to support partner organisations to provide culturally responsive and respectful services to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

The below interactive timeline maps our journey towards improving cultural responsiveness in the INW catchment and contains links to many of the resources developed by the Koolin Balit Wellbeing Partnership.

 

Wellbeing Partnership

The INW PCP convenes a local Wellbeing Partnership which meets regularly to share information, resources, and project updates. The partnership is made up of Aboriginal and non-indigenous representatives from across the North and West Metropolitan Region. The group is an important sounding board for the INW PCP led initiatives and a source of advice for resource development, training and projects.

 

Workforce Initiatives

The INW PCP in collaboration with the Wellbeing Partnership implemented the following workforce initiatives:

  • Training to build the capacity of mainstream agencies to employ and retain Aboriginal staff (the Working with Aboriginal People and Programs) delivered by VACCHO.
  • The  Walk With Us resource video alerts CEOs, Boards and managers to factors impacting on Aboriginal people who work in their organisation and guidance on how to address those factors. As well as addressing a major information gap, the project created a paid acting, interviewing and video resource production opportunity for a young Koorie journalism student.
  • Development of the From Symbols to Systems Framework for supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Workers in mainstream organisations.

 

Working in Two Worlds

Aboriginal people working in mainstream organisations report that they are still regularly exposed to culturally based hazards. These hazards impact their personal health and wellbeing and undermine their ability to support their community.

The Working in Two Worlds initiative aims to assist mainstream organisations become more accessible, culturally safe and appropriate for Aboriginal people by supporting the recruitment and retention of the local Aboriginal workforce.

A Working in Two Worlds Forum was held in 2017 with over 60 Aboriginal people employed in mainstream organisations. The participants shared their thoughts, concerns and ideas about how mainstream health and community service sector work impacts them and how employers can more effectively support Aboriginal workers.

The feedback from Working in Two Worlds Forum participants, alongside an examination of current policy frameworks, helped to inform the From Symbols to Systems Framework which was launched in December 2017.

The From Symbols to Systems Framework enables whole-of-organisation protocols and strategies that place culturally informed values at the centre of service development and delivery which go beyond cultural awareness training and organisational audits. It identifies strategies to support mainstream organisations to provide services that meet the needs of their Aboriginal clients and minimise the impact of culturally based hazards on their Aboriginal staff.

The From Symbols to Systems Framework is being piloted by member organisations in mid -2018.

In June 2018, INW PCP won a HART award (VLGA and Reconciliation Victoria) for the Working in Two Worlds Initiative.

 

Building the Blocks of Organisational Cultural Responsiveness Toolkit

The Koolin Balit Building the Blocks of Organisational Cultural Responsiveness Toolkit provides member organisations with resources to support:

  • Improvements in data collection practices and processes.
  • Improving cultural responsiveness through environmental audits and cultural audits.
  • Workforce recruitment and retention of Aboriginal employees.
  • Cultural models of support for Aboriginal employees.
  • Fostering partnerships between mainstream organisations and Aboriginal organisations.
  • Culturally appropriate communication and developing targeted resources.
  • Cultural responsiveness quality improvement processes.
  • Aboriginal employment and training opportunities and programs.
  • Policy templates and examples.

 

Past INW PCP activities

  • Cultural awareness training for community health sector employees and management;
  • Developing a  training package for health staff to improve identification of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander service users incorporating:
    • training resource on ‘Asking the Question’
    • a short video clip on ‘Asking the Question’
    • a Trainer’s Guide on ‘Asking the Question’
    • a Powerpoint presentation for staff training
  • Developing a Guide: Helping your organisation to create a welcoming environment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people;
  • Developing graphic design elements for member agencies to use when developing targeted resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander service users; and
  • In collaboration with an Aboriginal Consultant, conducting cultural auditing activities with identified agencies and working with agencies to implement a tailored action plan for improving cultural competency.

 

Evaluation

The NWMR PCP Consortium commissioned two external evaluations over the life of the Koolin Balit funding which included the INW PCP led component. The evaluation reported that the project has increased the capacity of mainstream service providers and their workforce to engage with and meet the needs of Aboriginal people.

Evaluation of the North and West Metropolitan Region PCP Consortium Koolin Balit Project Report on the mid-point evaluation – May 2016

Evaluation of the North and West Metropolitan Region PCP Consortium Koolin Balit Project Final Report – September 2017

For further information or to participate in this project please contact the INW PCP Executive Officer, Emma Fitzsimon on 9389 2261 or by email Emmafi@inwpcp.org.au

 

 

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