Grow Healthy Together Indigenous Advisory To Receive National Exposure

Photo: Sonia Shelton-PDH ATSI worker
Friday, 3 November 2017
An initiative to improve the health and wellbeing of Indigenous people in the Glenelg region will receive national exposure at an upcoming conference.

Grow Healthy Together is a collaboration between Traditional Gunditjmara owners, local Aboriginal health organisations and local health services and brings together the local community to discuss and action initiatives to improve health and wellbeing of Indigenous people.

The GROW committee is also known as ‘Ka ree ta Ngoot yoong Wat nan da’ – which means Grow Healthy Together and was named by the traditional owners.

Portland District Health Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce officer Sonia Shelton and CEO Chris Giles will outline the development and success of the program at the sixth Closing the Gap Indigenous Health Conference in Cairns on December 13-15.

The GROW initiative is a shared set of goals and actions to facilitate seamless culturally safe services delivery in local healthcare settings.

GROW has achieved some significant outcomes, including improving access to both primary and acute care for people with eye health issues, development of a healing therapy garden at PDH, naming the PDH education centre Ngathoo Wampa Tyama-Ki Teen (I take knowledge Here), and developing an Aboriginal employment plan to increase PDH’s employment participation of Aboriginal people to 2.5 per cent.

Through the process of increasing Aboriginal employment participation, a greater understanding of cross-cultural requirements will be achieved to assist in developing the environment and systems for long-term Aboriginal participation across the organisation, Ms Shelton said.

Ms Shelton said a local Gunditjmara woman had designed new bibs for PDH’s maternity services, and artwork had been chosen to display at all organisations in the Grow Healthy Advisory Committee to reflect the core business of health and each organisation's respect for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

An agreement with Dhauwurd-Wurrung Elderly and Community Health Services provides Indigenous people with access to an Aboriginal health worker or support person on an on-call system.

The formation of a Grow Healthy Together group aims to help close the gap for Aboriginal health in the Glenelg region.

Portland District Health, Dhauwurd Wurrung Elderly & Community Health Services, Winda-Mara Aboriginal Corporation, Gunditj Mirring Aboriginal Traditional Owners Co-op, Western District Health, Heywood Rural Health, and Casterton Memorial Health have formed the group which works cooperatively to address issues around Indigenous health in the region.

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