Using the cultural appeal of bush tucker to market healthy food

Ms Maxine  Daley1, Renee Watts1

1Queensland Health, Palm Beach, Australia


Adequate fruit and vegetable intake helps to prevent chronic health problems such as cardiovascular disease, some cancers and obesity. According to the 2012-13 Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey, ninety five percent (95%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people did not meet the recommended serves of vegetables a day, and less than half (43%) consumed adequate serves of fruit. Health promotion campaigns aimed at increasing fruit and vegetable intake amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities need to consider the sociocultural aspects of food choices. The Bush Tucker Calendar involved utilising the cultural appeal of bush tucker to market seasonal fruit and vegetables to the Gold Coast Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community. Each calendar month featured a local, seasonal bush tucker ingredient featured in a healthy, convenient and affordable recipe. Promoted throughout the community via a series of cooking demonstrations at cultural events and health centres, uptake of the calendar has been overwhelmingly positive, with survey respondents reporting outcomes such as using elements of the calendar to embed Indigenous perspectives into school based programs; cooking the recipes at home; and encouraging a feeling of pride and ownership of food culture for some community members who have used the information based in the calendar to promote the foods to family and friends. However, further work is required to increase access to bush tucker, with possible future directions involving school and community bush tucker garden programs.


Maxine Daley

I have worked as a dietitian/nutritionist within the Gold Coast Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community for the past 12 years. I have merged my passion for cooking and nutrition with my passion for bush tucker to create strategies aimed at engaging consumers in nutrition promotion activities.

Renee Watts

I am a Wiradjuri woman and my family come from Darling Point and Leeton in New South Wales. I was born in Sydney and moved to the Gold Coast in 1994.

I am an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Health Worker focussing on antenatal. I am passionate about working with families to support them to bring their babies into the world with the best start in life and helping to set them on a pathway to grow into great leaders of the future.

Developing a Student Speech Pathology Service with an Aboriginal Medical Service

Ms Belinda Goodale1

1WA Centre For Rural Health, Geraldton, Australia


Student speech pathologists worked with their clinical supervisor and the child health nurse at the Geraldton Regional Aboriginal Medical Service (GRAMS) to develop a new service for families. Prior to the student clinic, families could access speech pathology services with the public health services, but not at their local health service, GRAMS. The new service was developed to run alongside the child health service at GRAMS. It was developed through collaboration, and being mindful of working respectfully within the existing models of care for families at GRAMS. The students developed information resources for families and their initial services were focussed around waiting room play based interactions with families and children. This developed key relationships with families and trust in the student services that were also linked with the child health nurse clinic. After a few weeks individual referrals and regular client sessions began to grow and the important waiting room consultations also continues. This service has been in operation for a year and the presenter will share the collaborative process to develop this service, the impact on student learning outcomes and experiences, evaluation of this initial program and the plans for interprofessional expansion.


Belinda is a Speech Pathologist who has worked in rural and remote areas within the Midwest region of Western Australia and New Zealand for the past 18 years.  She is currently enjoying working as a lecturer and clinical educator for Speech Pathology students with WA Centre for Rural Health and is based in Geraldton.

Square peg into round hole: questioning the appropriateness of 24hour dietary recalls for Indigenous children.

Miss Sarah Ryan1,3, Dr Yasmine Probst1,2, Dr Anthony McKnight4, Dr Rebecca Stanley2,3,4

1School of Medicine and Health, University of Wollongong, , Wollongong, Australia, 2Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute, Wollongong, Australia, 3Early Start, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, Australia , 4School of Education, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, Australia


Motivation/Aim: Research typically reports that Indigenous Australian children overconsume energy dense nutrient poor foods, with minimal evidence about the context surrounding nutritional intake. Current dietary assessment methodologies tend to only capture the physical rather than the spiritual, social and emotional aspects of food, which are important components of Indigenous Australian’s definition of health. The aim of this research was to explore the appropriateness of 24hour dietary recalls as standalone tools to capture dietary intake in Indigenous children. The 24hour recall dietary assessment is a validated tool though fails to capture the context surrounding consumption. Indigenous research methodologies require this context.

Approach/Methods: A pilot afterschool cultural program developed for Indigenous children (aged 7-12y) in the Shoalhaven region of New South Wales, used 24hour recalls to assess dietary intake. An analysis was conducted using FoodWorks 2009 software and AUSNUT 2011-13 food composition database. Participants also captured photographs and were interviewed about things connecting them to culture, including food.

Results: The uncontextualised dietary data (n=17) found high consumption of discretionary foods and low intakes of fruit and vegetables. Children photographed food and shared stories of how it made them feel connected to their culture. The context surrounding the food photographs unexpectedly highlighted the potential spiritual, emotional and social impacts of food on health.

Conclusion: Food has strong ties to culture. Incorporating mixed methods in Indigenous research may be more appropriate to provide contextual information to formulate a story and capture the holistic aspects of health. This approach aligns with recommended Indigenous research methodologies.


Sarah Ryan completed a Bachelor of Science (Nutrition) with Honours at the University of Wollongong while working with an Indigenous community on the south coast of NSW. She has worked alongside the local Aboriginal community and a team of researchers at the University of Wollongong for two years she has found her passion in working with children and community. Sarah hopes to explore further research in the area of cultural connectedness in the future.

PALS Intercultural Support

Ms Naomi Havens1

1Anglicare NT, Winnellie, Australia


The Play And Learn Support (PALS) Program uses bicultural communication resources developed with East Arnhem Land Yolngu workers and families since 2007 for facilitated discussions about life goals, brain development, children’s needs and responsive parenting. The resources and approaches used represent metaphors embedded in Yolngu people’s identity and life experiences. Service providers and families  communicating their experiences and values facilitated by metaphors, gives program participants increasing opportunities to develop a shared understanding of each other’s roles and priorities. PALS resources and approaches have been shown to open discussion and give participants insight in areas of children’s play needs, nutrition, processing trauma experiences, understanding emotional expression and communication (e.g. withdrawal and aggressive behaviours), understanding parenting influences, and addictive behaviours (e.g. gambling, alcohol and substance misuse). PALS resources and approaches have also proven effective in negotiating and expressing values between mainstream cultures and Yolngu cultures, seen as Yolngu families communicating their needs and experiences more meaningfully to service workers and service workers clarifying and increasing access of their service to Yolngu families.


Naomi Havens is an Occupational Therapist working with the Yolngu people of East Arnhem Land with intercultural concepts. Her current work approaches have been shaped by post graduate work in Darwin as a paediatric Occupational Therapist, then living and working for 5 years at Galiwin’ku community in local Yolngu languages with adult education principles in health education. Naomi also concurrently worked in her PALS role with Yolngu families and StandBy, a response service for people bereaved by suicide. In 2015 Naomi added a Graduate Certificate of Play Therapy.

Developing viable allied health service and workforce development models in rural and remote Aboriginal communities.

Ms Donna-Maree Towney1

1Indigenous Allied Health Australia, Deakin West, Australia


Indigenous Allied Health Australia (IAHA) is a member-based organisation with over 1,400 members, made up of allied health students and professionals. We acknowledge and respect the critical role both the allied and Indigenous health workforce plays in improving health and wellbeing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. IAHA advocates for systemic improvements to better enable health professionals to achieve this.

Working in collaboration with community and key stakeholders, IAHA are leading a project to develop an Indigenous allied health workforce in remote and rural Australia.

The project has identified two locations that have access to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), with a high population of Indigenous people with disability:
• Tennant Creek, NT,
• Palm Island, QLD; and
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability are more disadvantaged and generally do not access health care for a variety of reasons.
IAHA has progressed this project to determine there is a significant and critical need for consistent allied health care within remote and rural locations.

By developing an Indigenous allied health workforce, we are:
Providing opportunities for Indigenous peoples with employment and career pathways
Providing sustainable employment which will improve the economy;
Providing communities consistent person and family centred care that is culturally appropriate and safe; and
Increasing health outcomes for Indigenous peoples who cannot easily access health care

Workshop participants will consider key recommendations from the final RIAHP report and discuss practical solutions of ensuring viable allied health services and workforce development can be sustained.


Donna-Maree Towney is a Gunditjmarra woman.
Donna-Maree worked in the Australian Public Service (APS) for 15 years and proudly joined the IAHA team in May 2017 and is currently working on the Remote and Rural Indigenous Allied Health Workforce Development Project (RIAHP).

Whilst in the public service, Donna-Maree worked with several government agencies to develop strategies to employ and retain Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Australian Public Service, as well as boost government departments’ knowledge of cultures and value of employing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Cultural Responsiveness in Action: Transforming the health workforce

Ms Donna Murray1

1Indigenous Allied Health Australia, Deakin West, Australia


Transforming the Australian health system to deliver better and more equitable health outcomes requires a strong and resilient workforce characterised by increased numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander professionals. To increase access to health care that is available, affordable, acceptable and appropriate to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, the system requires a culturally responsive workforce acting in partnership with individuals, families and communities to provide culturally safe and responsive care
IAHA has developed the Cultural Responsiveness in Action: An IAHA Framework within the health context based on the concepts of knowing, being and doing.
The Framework defines working in a culturally responsive way as being about strengths based, action-oriented approaches to building cultural safety that will improve health and wellbeing for Indigenous Australians. In culturally responsive care, cultures, cultural meanings and healing traditions are visible and included. They are the strengths.
When taking a leadership and strengths-based approach to transforming behaviours and systems, culture is seen as a strength and asset; decision making shifts to be longer term, strategic and owned by Indigenous Australians. The IAHA Cultural Responsiveness Framework aims to support all Australians working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals, families and communities to acquire relevant skills and knowledge that will develop the capabilities essential to drive innovative, flexible and responsive practices. Underlying this is the goal of equitable access to healthcare and improved life outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.


Ms Donna Murray is a proud descendant of the Wiradjuri and Wonnarua peoples of the Murrumbidgee River and Hunter Valley, NSW. Donna is the CEO of Indigenous Allied Health Australia (IAHA), a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander allied health peak organisation.
Donna provides strong strategic leadership across Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs and the wider health sector with extensive experience in Indigenous leadership, governance, health, education and community development. She is the current Deputy Chairperson of the National Health Leadership Forum and plays a key leadership role on many national, state and local health and community advisories.

The Strength of our cultures is the strength of our future workforce

Ms Donna Murray1

1Indigenous Allied Health Australia, Deakin West, Australia


Utilising strengths-based approaches that build on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledges and perspectives, Indigenous Allied Health Australia (IAHA), has worked in collaboration with key partners to build a model of workforce development across the health and medical disciplines.

The program known as ‘The Northern Territory Aboriginal Health Academy’, is a model of health and medical workforce pathway development that aims to engage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to complete high school, whilst also completing a Certificate III in Allied Health Assistance and gaining job ready skills.

The process involved in progressing this workforce development model is equally as important as its potential outcomes. We actively engaged in ways of knowing, being and doing that demonstrate the key aspects of Indigenous knowledge and leadership.  Through key local partnerships, this pathway model into health and medical careers has been established with profession role models and mentors engaged, recognising these are a critical success factors.

Future workforce development and planning are essential in health, especially to address chronic workforce shortages and allied health access in communities. This academy model presents a locally controlled and driven initiative, opportunity to grow and develop our future workforce, while addressing social and cultural determinants in a culturally safe environment for student participants.

Our future Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce needs to have access to education and training that will support them to learn in a culturally safe and responsive environment.


Ms Donna Murray is a proud descendant of the Wiradjuri and Wonnarua peoples of the Murrumbidgee River and Hunter Valley, NSW. Donna is the CEO of Indigenous Allied Health Australia (IAHA), a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander allied health peak organisation.
Donna provides strong strategic leadership across Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs and the wider health sector with extensive experience in Indigenous leadership, governance, health, education and community development. She is the current Deputy Chairperson of the National Health Leadership Forum and plays a key leadership role on many national, state and local health and community advisories.

The Quinine Aboriginal allied health assistants project: Changing lives in rural and remote NSW

Ms Bethany  Oi-Ching Yeung1, Dr Kim Bulkeley1, Professor Michelle Lincoln1

1The University Of Sydney, Lidcombe, Australia


Culturally responsive health services are imperative to closing the gap in health outcomes for Aboriginal people in rural and remote communities. Access to allied health services is impeded by recruitment and retention difficulties, inaccessible service delivery models, cross-cultural issues and distance. The contribution of Aboriginal allied health assistants (AAHA) to addressing the health needs of individuals within their communities is promising, however, little is known about the nature and nuances of this emerging role. This study captured the perceptions, experiences and activities of AAHAs. The Participation in Everyday Life (PIEL) survey application, based on a modified experience sampling approach was used to generate a tailored survey including quantitative and qualitative questions to capture experiences within their everyday context. The survey will be completed by participants on an iPad at the end of each working day, over two weeks on three occasions. Early findings from the first round of quantitative data indicated participants engaged in regular and direct work with individual clients and groups, and provided services primarily within their local community. Two themes emerged from the first round of qualitative responses: 1) “being an Aboriginal person from the community”; and 2) being locally based. This mixed methods study highlighted the value of the AAHA role, which can be used to inform implementation more broadly in a rural and remote context. Although yet to be fully realised, the AAHA role has potential to improve the cultural responsivity of, and access to allied health services in rural and remote communities.


Dr Kim Bulkeley is an occupational therapist with over 30 years experience working in community, management, policy and research settings. Her work with the Wobbly Hub rural research team in recent years has focused on access to allied health services in rural and remote communities in western NSW. Kim’s research is grounded in partnerships that generate relevant and informed insights into the development of responsive service delivery approaches.

‘Staying strong inside and outside’: Perspectives of Aboriginal families with Machado Joseph Disease.

Ms Jennifer Carr1, Ms Joyce  Lalara2, Ms  Gayangwa  Lalara2, Ms Libby Massey2, Mr  Nick Kenny2, Mrs Kate Pope2, Professor Alan Clough3, Associate Professor Anne Lowell4, Associate Professor Ruth Barker1

1College of Healthcare Sciences, James Cook University, Cairns, Australia, 2Machado Joseph Disease Foundation, Alyangula, Australia, 3Community-based Health Promotion and Prevention Studies Group, College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences and Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine, James Cook University, Cairns, Australia, 4Northern Institute, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, Australia


Background: Machado Joseph Disease (MJD) is a hereditary neurodegenerative disease that causes progressive ataxia and loss of mobility. Among Aboriginal families of Groote Eylandt and related communities across the Top End, MJD has the highest prevalence in the world. To work out the best way to keep families stronger for longer according to their priorities, the first step was to listen and learn from them about (1) what is important and (2) what works best to keep them walking and moving around.

Methods:Semi-structured interviews were conducted with individuals with MJD (n=8) and their family members (n=4) from the Groote Eylandt Archipelago using a collaborative approach, flexible to the needs/priorities of Anindilyakwa participants. Interviews were led by Anindilyakwa community research partners in each participants’ preferred language.

Results: Walking and moving around are considered important, allowing families to do what matters most to them in life. ‘Staying strong inside and outside’ (mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically) works best to keep walking and moving around as long as possible. ‘Exercising your body’, ‘having something important to do’, ‘keeping yourself happy’, ‘searching for good medicine’, ‘families helping each other’ and ‘going on country’ contribute to staying strong ‘inside and outside’.

Conclusions:Services supporting families with MJD need the flexibility to focus on what is important for each individual and to concurrently support their psychological and physical needs along the disease continuum. With Australia’s National Disability Insurance scheme rollout, it is timely to highlight the significance of individualised care plans developed collaboratively with families.


Jen Carr:
Jen Carr is a PhD candidate and Physiotherapist working alongside families with MJD and the MJD Foundation to help find the best ways to keep families with MJD walking and moving around. Jen grew up in North Queensland and has spent most of her physio career working in Neurological Rehabilitation across inpatient, outpatient, community and rural and remote settings across Queensland.

Joyce Lalara:
Joyce Lalara is an Anindilyakwa woman of Groote Eylandt and community researcher who has worked for the MJD Foundation (MJDF) since 2011. Joyce has extensive experience in cross cultural communication, supporting families with MJD to understand research and medical concepts and guiding MJDF staff and researchers working with families with MJD. Joyce has supported MJD therapy programs and education programs through her work with the MJDF.

Aboriginal children and young people in Out of Home Care accessing health assessments in regional Victoria; A project evaluation identifying challenges and hope for change

Dr Werner Vogels1, Ms. Corina Modderman1

1La Trobe University, Albury-Wodonga, Australia


The number of Aboriginal children and young people in Out of Home Care (OoHC) has been steadily increasing over the last few years. Health outcomes of this cohort are generally poorer compared to other cohorts, despite a range of initiatives implemented by the Victorian government to address this discrepancy. From 2014 onwards, the Taskforce 1000 project was instigated in North East Victoria by the Commissioner of Children and Young People to critically analyse the experience of Aboriginal children in OoHC. Subsequently, in 2016 the Department of Health and Human Services commissioned the Murray Primary Health Network to develop and implement a pathway for Aboriginal children and young people in OoHC accessing health assessments. La Trobe University evaluated the OoHC pathway project and submitted a report including recommendations early 2018.

For the evaluation of the pathway project, a qualitative research design was applied containing a comprehensive literature review, ten interviews with key stakeholders and a survey amongst frontline child protection staff. A thematic analysis of the interviews revealed the need for cross-sector education of allied health and human services staff, practical support for carers, and a range of systemic challenges. However, there are also elements of hope and the prospect of change to effectuate culturally ‘safe’ practice across the service sector by partnerships between organisations.

The aim of this paper is to critically reflect on findings and seek a dialogue with the audience regarding some of the recommendations for the pathway project implementation, and the principle of self-determination put in practice.


Dr. Vogels has a background in (cognitive) Neuropsychology. He obtained his Master degree and PhD in the Netherlands, and has worked in academic settings and in partnership with prestigious research groups across Europe and USA. Following his move to Australia, Werner has worked in the area of Mental Health, Dual Disability, Aboriginal Mental Health and complex care across regional Victoria. As a casual academic at La Trobe University, he has been involved in a range of projects, ni partnership with government and non-government organisations, to improve health outcomes of community members and promote cultural safe practice across service sectors in North East Victoria.

Corina Modderman is a lecturer in social work and social policy at the La Trobe Rural Health School, Shepparton campus. Corina has over 18 years of experience in child protection having worked in a variety of senior leadership roles across the world and is now undertaking her PhD in the topic of transnational social work practice and experience.


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