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25 September 2012

Promoting innovation in Aboriginal health

Innovative Aboriginal health projects across the State have benefitted from a funding boost thanks to new WA Health Aboriginal Community Innovation Grants.

A total of $132,000 was awarded through grants of up to $5000 to 32 not-for-profit organisations.

Aboriginal Health Director Jenni Collard said the quality, diversity and creativity of the applications were impressive.

"The projects funded demonstrate leading thinking on Aboriginal health and a commitment to engaging with Aboriginal communities in developing innovative projects," Ms Collard said.

"Aboriginal health is everyone's business, and these grants underline the importance of involving the broader community in designing creative solutions to improve Aboriginal health outcomes.

"The high number of applications also highlights that these grants fill a need amongst not-for-profit organisations unable to access other grants."

The grants will fund a diverse range of health programs, including:

  • encouraging Aboriginal people to increase their level of physical activity and adopt healthy eating patterns
  • reducing the barriers that discourage Aboriginal men from seeking health checks and medical treatment
  • providing child development and early health intervention advice to Aboriginal families
  • improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal men through a series of health information sessions.

Ms Collard said that Aboriginal health outcomes remained much lower than any other group in our community.

"WA Health is committed to working in partnership with Aboriginal communities and health service providers to ensure Aboriginal people receive culturally appropriate health care."


Aboriginal men in the remote Kimberley town of Bidyadanga will benefit from a WA Health grant to the local health clinic.

The Bidyadanga Men's Health Improvement Initiative will aim to reduce the barriers that discourage Aboriginal men from seeking health checks and medical treatment.

It will provide a private and culturally welcoming environment managed by male health staff.

This initiative will also contribute to an improved sense of ownership and responsibility amongst Aboriginal men of their own health and that of their community.

Informal activities including a beach BBQ and overnight camps will be used to provide information on nutrition, alcohol, smoking, mental health, and the importance of yearly health checks.

Other projects funded in the region include:

  • the Kununurra Bubs Day Out, coordinated by the Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Service Council, to encourage families with children less than two years of age to access local health services
  • a healthy living program for older and disabled Aboriginal people run by Halls Creek Community Care Inc
  • a NAIDOC event run by Save the Children and three youth agencies in Broome teaching Aboriginal youth how to prepare healthy traditional food and adopt a healthy lifestyle.

Mid West

The health and wellbeing of Aboriginal youth living in the Geraldton area has been boosted thanks to a WA Health grant.

The Geraldton Regional Aboriginal Medical Service project will encourage Aboriginal youths aged between 13 and 25 years of age to participate in the conversion of a new Living Healthy/Health Promotion truck.

Participants will paint the truck which will travel throughout the Geraldton area encouraging Aboriginal youth to be actively involved in their ongoing health and wellbeing.

The truck will contain health promotion items and activities and will provide a positive and enjoyable environment for Aboriginal youth to make decisions regarding their health, to avoid possible pitfalls, and identify coping strategies.

The Bluff Point Primary School Parents and Citizens association also received a grant to promote local health services to Aboriginal families.

Almost 40 per cent of the school's population is of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent.


The health and wellbeing of Aboriginal children in Kondinin has been boosted thanks to a WA Health grant.

The Kondinin Early Years program will provide child development and early health intervention advice to local Aboriginal families.

The program will support the early development of hygiene, social and fine motor skills through access to play and learning equipment.

It was developed by Kondinin Primary School in consultation with the Aboriginal Islander Education Officer, the Mallee Aboriginal Corporation, and the school nurse.

The program will also promote increased interaction between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal families, and encourage Aboriginal families to access the school nurse and education officer.

A number of other projects were funded in the region, including a grant to the WA Country Health Service Wheatbelt Population Health Unit to deliver a series of workshops to Aboriginal health professionals on grief and loss, advocacy and presentation skills.

Perth metropolitan area

Aboriginal men's health in the south eastern suburbs of Perth has been boosted thanks to a $5,000 WA Health grant to the Beananging Kwuurt Institute.

The 'Men's Business – Healing and Growing' project will target local Aboriginal men and youth.

Project members will be directly involved in its ongoing development, including running information sessions on health topics such as nutrition, smoking, diabetes, physical activity, smoking, alcohol, and prostate cancer.

They will also explore establishing a Men's Shed, and in partnership with Aboriginal Elders, provide information in regards to bush foods and medicines in Noongar country.

The sessions will be presented in a culturally appropriate manner in Aboriginal English, a language understood by local community members.

The project will also encourage young Aboriginal men and respected Elders to participate in a 'Yarning Circle' to discuss the health of Aboriginal men and the design of the project.

Other projects funded in the region include:

  • a healthy healing program for children and families receiving services from Sister Kate's Home Kids Aboriginal Corporation
  • two health programs run by the Jacaranda Community Centre in Belmont targeting Aboriginal men and young parents with babies
  • an event coordinated by Canning Coalition Inc. to promote healthy lifestyles to Aboriginal mothers of young children and youth.

Great Southern

Aboriginal health in the Great Southern region has received a boost thanks to a WA Health grant to the Tambellup Men's Shed.

The grant will fund a series of workshops encouraging local Aboriginal men to increase their level of physical activity and adopt healthy eating patterns.

Workshops will focus on:

  • bicycle maintenance, repair and riding techniques
  • safe bike-riding workshops for school children
  • the importance of a healthy diet.

The workshops will be conducted by Population Health Coordinator Dermot Buckley from Southern Country Health Service – Great Southern.

Other projects funded in the region include:

  • the promotion of local health services and the need for regular health checks at a NAIDOC event in Walitj Mia Mia, a 600 hectare Aboriginal-owned and run farm near Albany
  • encouraging healthy eating behaviours at Katanning Primary School by teaching students and parents how to plan and create healthy lunches.

Media contact: 9222 4333

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