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Short course helps to build capacity in Aboriginal health

Media release

C217/08

4 August 2008

Twenty Aboriginal health workers from all over the State converged at Curtin University of Technology recently to increase their skills in health promotion and their ability to deliver successful health promotion intervention.

The four day Aboriginal Health Promotion Short Course was conducted by the Department of Health Promotion at Curtin and aimed to provide professional development to Aboriginal health workers across Western Australia with participants coming from as far as Broome in the north to Kalgoorlie in the east.

The course provided the opportunity to learn more about the importance of health promotion, ways to identify community needs, and approaches to implementing appropriate health promotion programs.  It was aimed at Aboriginal people already working in the health sector and those particularly who want to undertake health promotion work.

Course coordinator and Lecturer in the Department of Health Promotion at Curtin, Jude Comfort said that the hands-on nature of the course allowed students to gain valuable skills from the four days that they could apply immediately to their everyday work.

“The course was initially intended for five students who, through collaboration with the Aboriginal Health Council of WA, are undertaking two year supported health promotion positions with Aboriginal health agencies and as part of this they are enrolled in the Graduate Certificate in Health Promotion at Curtin,” she said.

“Later we decided to open the short course to any Aboriginal person who is currently working in the public health area.

“We were overwhelmed with the interest shown in the course.

“The course allows Aboriginal people to learn skills that can be immediately taken back to their communities to build capacity in this area rather than money just being poured into band-aid programs.

“Another positive outcome was the obvious networking and support structures that are built through such a course.”

Five of the participants in the short course are currently completing a Graduate Certificate in Health Promotion at Curtin through funding received from the Aboriginal Health Council of WA.  These students are the first block intake of Aboriginal people in the School of Public Health at Curtin and are part of an effort to increase numbers of Aboriginal people undertaking this type of course.  After completion of the course it is hoped that the students will continue to work in the health promotion area and inspire others to complete tertiary qualifications in health promotion.

At the completion of the course employers of the participants were invited to a sundowner hosted by the Centre for Aboriginal Studies where students were presented a certificate of attendance.

Note to Editor/COS: A photo of the participants is available on request.

Modified: 4 August 2008