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Curtin project boosts awareness of Indigenous health issues

Media release

C085/11

A new radio show launched on Perth’s only Aboriginal radio station is boosting awareness in the Indigenous community about important health issues across Western Australia.

The Wangininy health show, established in October 2010 on Noongar Radio, is just one of the outcomes of the Aboriginal Health Communications Project (AHCP) initiated by Curtin University health researchers.

The AHCP, funded by a $308,000 Healthway grant, was established to research issues surrounding the representation of Indigenous health in the Western Australian news media. It aimed to evaluate how media could be more effectively utilised by the Indigenous health sector to generate positive and accurate media coverage.

Noongar Radio presentersa

Stacy Maxtead, Producer, Wangininy health show and AHCP participant Jeff Michael, Acting Program Director/morning show presenter Noongar Radio.

Consultation and collaboration with the Aboriginal health sector and Indigenous and non-Indigenous media professionals has resulted in the development of a media skills training program. This program aims to enhance key Indigenous health professionals’ use and engagement with the news media, and assist them in developing collaborative partnerships with journalists.

Project Manager, Verity Leach, from the Aboriginal Health and Education Research Unit (AHERU), part of the Curtin Health Innovation and Research Institute (CHIRI), said the initiative was successful and the team is thrilled about the creation of the radio show.

“We made some inroads with mainstream media and the fact that participants established a dedicated health show on Noongar Radio was an unexpected but terrific outcome,” Ms Leach said.

“Noongar Radio is popular in the Indigenous community and broadcasts to people who will directly benefit from any health advice provided in the program.

“The health program is creating awareness about different health topics such as breast and cervical cancer, diabetes and heart health,” she said.

Other positive outcomes from the AHCP include an increased number of media contacts in the Indigenous health sector, positive engagement between AHCP participants and journalists, and a number of Indigenous articles published in newspapers.

The project was led by Professor Sandra Thompson, AHERU – CHIRI, Combined Universities Centre for Rural Health; Associate Professor Alexandra McManus, Centre of Excellence for Science, Seafood and Health – CHIRI, and Adjunct Professor Ross James, School of Public Health. Ms Leach project managed the initiative.

Notes to editors:

• The Wangininy health radio show is aired on the first and third Thursday of the month at 10am.

• There are a number of hosts including: Stacy Maxtead – West Beechboro PS, Dena Gower, South Metropolitan Public Health Unit, Janinne Gliddon – Cervical Cancer Prevention Program and Leanne Pilkington – Breast Screen Western Australia.

• Indigenous health participants have included representatives from Breast Screen, Family Planning WA, the National Heart Foundation, South Metro Public Health Unit, WA Aboriginal Medical Services, WA Cervical Cancer Prevention Program, and the AHERU, CHIRI at Curtin University.

• Reports also suggest that news stories generated as a result of the workshops have impacted positively on the self-esteem of the subjects of the story and participating journalists have an increased awareness of, and interest in Indigenous health issues.

Contact:

Teresa Belcher, Public Relations, Curtin University
Tel: 08 9266 9085; Email: teresa.belcher@curtin.edu.au

Kristy Jones, Public Relations, Curtin University
Tel: 08 9266 9085, Mobile: 0402 517 300, Email: k.jones@curtin.edu.au

Andrea Jones, Marketing and Communications Manager, Faculty of Health Sciences
Tel: 08 9266 1909, Email: andrea.jones@curtin.edu.au