Listen to success stories from the frontline of Aboriginal Health

Media Releases article written on the 04 Apr 2011

People will have the chance to hear the first-hand experiences of Victorian Aboriginal health workers and the crucial role they are playing to close the Indigenous life expectancy gap, in the launch of a new series of video stories this evening (Monday April 4).

The ten multimedia testimonies were produced in workshops held across the state with a range of Aboriginal health workers who wrote, recorded and produced stories about their work.

The workshops were conducted by the Victorian Aboriginal Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO), the Victorian Department of Health and Oxfam Australia in partnership with a number of Victorian mainstream and community controlled health organisations.

VACCHO CEO Jill Gallagher said she hoped the project would help spread the message that the Aboriginal health workforce is crucial to closing the Indigenous life expectancy gap.

“The positive experiences of Aboriginal health workers don’t get told enough which is why we want to celebrate and share these stories,” Ms Gallagher said.

Jock Peterson’s video depicts his experiences working for an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation in regional Victoria.

“Where I work, rates of chronic disease such as diabetes are extremely high and I’m hoping by telling my story people will get a better understanding of the work we are doing in the community to address these health issues,” Mr Peterson said.

Francine Riches’ video depicts her experiences as an Indigenous health worker at a metropolitan mainstream health service.

“As an Indigenous person working for a mainstream health service, I’ve been able to act as an advocate for both Indigenous people within the health sector, and an advocate for the health service in the Indigenous community,” Ms Riches said.

“In the two years I have been here, I’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of Aboriginal people using our service and have also been able to help other health workers better understand the needs of our people.”

The project is a part of The Aboriginal Health Promotion and Chronic Care (AHPACC) program that has forged bold partnerships between Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations and community health services throughout Victoria.

AHPACC aims to increase access to primary health services, support and train health workers and health services to provide culturally sensitive services to Aboriginal Victorians.

These video stories will be presented from 5 – 7pm on Monday April 4 from at the Metropole Hotel, 44 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy. The health workers will be there to answer questions and talk about their work.

For more information or interviews, please contact Oxfam Australia Media Coordinator Sunita Bose on 0407 555 960.