Aboriginal health

This is a brain dump of everything I’ve observed or heard in my secondment so far:


  • Aboriginal people are reluctant to use mainstream health services. This might be because of:
    • Negative historical incidences (e.g. their mothers or grandmothers not being allowed to give birth in the local hospital)
    • Potentially a preconception that they will receive a culturally inappropriate service or that there is no reason for them to engage in mainstream services
    • They are “used” to feeling sub-optimal health-wise, and so might not know what “healthy” feels like
  • Aboriginal people will often engage with a service only at crisis point, and once the crisis has been resolved, they may ‘disappear’

Aboriginal service providers

  • Aboriginal Medical Services (AMS) run out of the co-operatives, offering health, mental health and dental services. The size and quality of the co-operatives vary
  • VAHS
  • VACCHO – but some ACCOs don’t have a good relationship

Mainstream service providers

  • Local health services (e.g. Melbourne Health equivalent)
  • PHNs – relationships vary, but unsure how much they work with Aboriginal fundings
  • headspace – seems to have programs targeted


  • Almost all health outcomes are poorer for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities – particular issues are obesity, diabetes, kidney disease, cardiovascular disease