Topic:  Birthing in Our Community: a partnership approach to ‘closing the gap’ in health outcomes and building resilience for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers and babies in an Australian setting – Sue Kildea, University of Queensland

Resources: You can download Sue’s slides and you can read our Blog.

Session Summary: Since 2006, the Closing the Gap campaign has seen successive Australian governments commit to work towards health and life expectancy equality for Indigenous Australians. The life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians is amongst the worst in the world and there is growing evidence that the chronic diseases (diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease), so prevalent in adulthood, have their genesis in utero and early life. Australia’s National Maternity Services Plan identified three priority areas: 1) developing and expanding culturally competent maternity care; 2) developing and supporting an Aboriginal workforce; and 3) developing dedicated programs for ‘Birthing on Country’; which refers to best practice and culturally responsive models of care. A partnership between two Indigenous organisations and a tertiary hospital have developed a program to address all these areas: The Birthing in Our Community Program. It is an intensive model of targeted early antenatal engagement, home visiting, co-ordination of services and cultural capacity building with Indigenous cultural guidance and oversight through a Steering Committee. We aim to work with families to strengthen their resilience; to improve maternal and infant health outcomes; to develop education and employment pathways and to develop a model that can be rolled out.

Biography: Professor Sue Kildea holds a clinical chair in midwifery and is a joint appointment between the Mater Health Services and the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. She has a background in nursing and midwifery and has worked in many settings internationally. Sue is a strong collaborative researcher and many of her research projects aim to make a difference to the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families. Together with a Senior Elder from Maningrida in Arnhem Land she was a joint recipient of the UTS Human Rights Award for contribution to advancing reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians (2004).

Who might be most interested: Academics, practitioners, researchers, students, parents, community workers.

This session took place on Friday 8 April 2016.

The Resilience Forum is for ANYBODY (with a pulse!) involved with or interested in resilience research!

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