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Targeted Call for Research - public call for research priorities in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health

ID: 
32
This submission reflects the views of
Organisation Name: 
Queensland Child and Youth Clinical Network
Personal Details
Specific Questions
1. What is the research priority (a significant research knowledge gap or unmet need) you are nominating? How would a TCR in this area greatly advance our understanding of this issue? (200 word maximum): 
Nominated research priority is addressing/tackling identified challenges experienced by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander paediatric health worker workforce. Currently this workforce reports a spectrum of issues that impact their roles and responsibilities, including inconsistent and inadequate professional support mechanisms. This research would greatly advance our understanding of effective mechanisms which provide Indigenous leadership, cultural support, engagement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and help address the ongoing challenges that impact the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander paediatric workforce, which in turn supports long-term, meaningful and sustainable efforts to improve child and youth health care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander infants, children and youth. Research in this area would help identify risks, barriers and enablers to achieving a more empowered, satisfied and valued Indigenous workforce that can lead the delivery of long-term, meaningful and sustainable efforts to improve service delivery and health outcomes. This has the added benefit of empowering the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce to maximise community engagement and acceptance. A TCR would produce a proof of concept/best practice model for a consistent, clear and sustainable approach to workforce governance which fosters collaboration. This evidence would dovetail with the findings from recent work conducted by the Queensland Child and Youth Clinical Network.
2. What are the relevant Australian Government Priorities, and/or Ministerially-agreed State and Territory health research priorities linked to your nominated priority? (200 word maximum): 
This research priority supports/addresses the following Australian Government Priorities: Build healthy and resilient communities throughout Australia by developing treatments, solutions and preventative strategies to improve physical and mental well-being and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of Australia’s health care system. • Key Priority Area 1 - Participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the health workforce • Key Priority Area 2 - Workforce capacity of the community-controlled sector including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers • Key Priority Area 3 – Competent and empowered health workforce to meet the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples • Key Priority Area 4 – Leadership to inform strategy at the highest level Closing the Gap • Halve the gap in mortality rates for Indigenous children under five within a decade (by 2018). • Close the gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians within a generation (by 2031). Queensland Department of Health Strategic Plan 2014-2018 which commits ‘to support health service providers to close the health gap for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders.’ My health, Queensland’s future: Advancing health 2026: Direction 1 – Promoting wellbeing, headline measures of success By 2026 we will: • Reduce childhood obesity by 10 per cent. • Increase life expectancy for Indigenous males by 4.8 years and females by 5.1 years
3. How would a TCR in this area contribute to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and improve health outcomes for the individual and/or community? (200 word maximum): 
Evidence suggests that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people prefer to access health services that includes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff and that this workforce is critical to closing the gap in health outcomes for Indigenous people. Ongoing workforce issues, including the lack of professional support mechanisms, limit health outcomes due to restricted contribution to strategic planning and leadership. This has a significant impact within the paediatric context with the potential to produce long term negative health outcomes for child health, child development and growth associated with an increased burden of ill-health. Strengthening and empowering the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander paediatric health workforce will lead to improved health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, families and their communities and have a direct effect associated with closing the gap of inequality. The Queensland Universal Child Health Framework – Implementation Guide for the Queensland Child and Youth Clinical Network – Child Health Sub network states: “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are among the most vulnerable group of children in Australia. COAG set ‘Closing the Gap’ targets which include “halving the gap in mortality rates of Indigenous children under five by 2018”. This target is directly related to the provision of safe and accessible and culturally appropriate healthcare to pregnant women and their children.”
4. How will the TCR reduce the burden of disease on the health system and Australian economy? (200 word maximum): 
To effectively reduce the economic and social burden of the poor health experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, investing in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander paediatric health workforce must be a priority (A Blueprint for Action: Pathways into the health workforce for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, 2008). The burden of disease and injury in Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (2014) states that: “The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population in Queensland is young with 57.7 per cent of the population aged younger than 25 years.” The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander paediatric health workforce provide care at critical points across the life span—0-8 years for a strong and healthy start to life, 8-18 years to avert the uptake of risky health behaviours. Improving health outcomes at these points will result in reduced burden of disease later in life and contribute to closing the gap.
5. Are there any reports or findings that support your nomination for the suggested topic? (200 word maximum): 
“We all know that if healthcare services are not delivered appropriately, our people won’t use them” (Dr Puggy Hunter, March 1999 – First Chairperson NACCHO) • The frustration of Indigenous Australians with the deficient overall strategic view is evidenced by recent calls from Indigenous health and human rights leaders for a national commitment to achieving health equality within 25 years. (MJA Article – Robert M Parker 2009). Progress towards achieving this requires investing in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders and employees to address the issues and barriers. • The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workforce Strategic Framework (2011–2015) • The draft 2016 Queensland Health Indigenous Workforce Strategy • Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workforce Strategic Framework: - Key Priority 4: Provide leadership and planning in workforce development. - Key Priority 6: Build a Queensland Health workforce which closes the gap in health outcomes by providing culturally safe and competent health services. • Queensland Child and Youth Clinical Network Aboriginal and Torres Islander Child and Youth Health Worker reports 2012, 2014 and 2016 • Queensland Government Making Tracks 2015 – 2018 Priority: A healthy start to life: improving the health literacy and reproductive health of young women through culturally effective women’s health services, antenatal and infant care, parenting support and child health services.

Page reviewed: 30 August, 2018