Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health

The Rural Health Education Foundation recognises:

  • The dire situation of the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia, with life expectancies more than ten years below those of non-Indigenous Australians.
  • The fact that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are proportionately over-represented in rural and remote Australia compared to non-Indigenous Australians (see Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander demographics section below).
  • That the health of Indigenous Australians declines as their “remote-ness” increases, so that health outcomes consistently decline from “metropolitan” to “inner regional/rural” to “outer regional/rural” to “remote” to “very remote”.
  • That rural and remote health professionals have an ongoing need for updated knowledge with relation to Indigenous health issues.

In producing its professional development and educational programs, the Rural Health Education Foundation strives to include, to the extent appropriate to the topic and available information:

  • Examination of the incidence of the topic in relation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in comparison to other Australians.
  • Analysis as to whether management and treatment options and questions are different from the non-Indigenous population.

Strategic Framework for Indigenous Programming 2008-2012

The Foundation launched its Strategic Framework for Indigenous Programming 2008-2012 on February 10, 2009.  In his “Forward” to the document, the Foundation’s then Chairman, Dr Brian Bowring, notes that: “This document provides a rationale and an outline of the programming relevant to meeting Indigenous Australians’ health care that the Foundation would like to cover over the next five years.  It also reiterates the Foundation’s desire and willingness to work in partnership with all those who share our commitment.”

To download a summary of the Strategic Framework for Indigenous Programming 2008-2012, please click here ( PDF 526kb).

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health programs

For an up-to-date listing of the Foundation’s programs which focus primarily or substantially on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, go to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Health subject groups page.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander demographics

For details on Indigenous demographics, please refer to the following online resource from Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet: The Context of Indigenous Health by Thomson N, MacRae A, Burns J, Catto M, Debuyst O, Krom I, Potter C, Ride K, Stumpers S & Urquhart B, December 2009, accessed from http://www.healthinfonet.ecu.edu.au/health-facts/overviews.

Indigenous filming protocols

The Rural Health Education Foundation frequently undertakes filmed case studies in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.  The Foundation has adopted a comprehensive protocol dealing with filming in Indigenous communities.  The following is a summary of this protocol.

The Rural Health Education Foundation broadly endorses and follows the Indigenous filming protocols which have been prepared by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the Special Broadcasting Service and Screen Australia (previously Australian Film Commission).

  • The Greater Perspective: Protocol and Guidelines for the Production of Film and Television on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities, by Lester Bostock, for the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS, 1997, 52 pages).  This was the first comprehensive protocol to which most other protocols (ABC, Screen Australia) refer.
  • Cultural Protocols for Indigenous Reporting in the Media, prepared by “Message Stick”, for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC, no date, 35 pages).
  • Pathways and Protocols:  A film-maker’s guide to working with Indigenous people, culture and concepts (990kb, PDF), prepared for Screen Australia by Terri Janke, April 2009.

Whenever Rural Health Education Foundation staff/contractors (including education officers, film and television crews, researchers, and others) travel into Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander country or enter their communities, certain procedures will be followed.  This is to avoid any misunderstandings or conflicts with any Indigenous communities with whom they are dealing.

Production crews, producers, researchers and others will take all reasonable steps to protect the physical, psychological and social welfare of the Indigenous people they are dealing with, and to honour their dignity and privacy.

The aim or purpose of any consultation, investigation, research or interview will be communicated to the people/community concerned as clearly as possible, to avoid the possibility of any misunderstanding.  The rights, interests and sensitivities of the Indigenous people must always be safeguarded.

Note to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander users – this website contains images of people and links to programs which include people who may have died.