Partnering for change in Aboriginal child health

30 Nov 1999

With your support, Sydney Children’s Hospitals Foundation (SCHF) has been able to fund vital positions and programs of the Aboriginal Health team to make a difference in the lives of Aboriginal children, young people, and their families.

Diagram - how your help supports Aborginal children, young people and families

Aboriginal Public Health Trainees improving the healthcare of their mob.

Natasha Larter, Seaneen Wallace and Larissa Karpish are paving the way for Aboriginal people and their children through a unique health training program that uses both their lived experience and academic knowledge. 

Natasha Larter – Aboriginal Public Health Trainee

Natasha Larter – Aboriginal Public Health Trainee 

SCHF and NSW Health co-fund the Aboriginal Public Health Trainees Initiative (APHTI), which delivers high-quality healthcare programs for Aboriginal children and young people and develops future Aboriginal Health leaders. The three-year training program comprises part-time study towards a Master of Public Health degree and is combined with a series of work placements within NSW Health’s population health services. 

In addition to the Aboriginal Health Strategic Plan, Natasha, Seaneen and Larissa have been involved in a diverse range of activities including analysing the Aboriginal Health Live data dashboard to track Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network’s (SCHN) performance against critical health indicators, facilitating school-based screening programs, undertaking research, and publishing national vaccination coverage reports. Seaneen and Larissa have also helped develop culturally appropriate resources for Aboriginal children and their families, as well as establishing an Aboriginal COVID-19 vaccine clinic.

The trainees are also involved in key Aboriginal Health research projects. During her final year as a trainee, Natasha has been compiling findings from a decade of research on the health status of urban Aboriginal children and their access to specialist outreach services and a local clinic, which they co-developed with the community. In FY21, Natasha presented preliminary findings at a major Indigenous health conference demonstrating reductions in maternal smoking, premature births, and low birth weight rates, as well as earlier access to developmental and learning services, which all result in improved health and wellbeing. 

First ‘graduate’ Natasha has secured a permanent role within SCHN as the first ever Aboriginal Health Project Manager (Outcomes & Equity) to ensure the constant delivery of high-quality, equitable services to Aboriginal children. 

“There is something really powerful and rewarding knowing that you’re contributing to changing health outcomes for our own people. You have the ability to combine your own lived experience and learnt academic knowledge to assist in working in community context”, says Natasha.

SCHF has committed to continue co-funding three Aboriginal Public Health Trainees at any one time to support the appointment of a new trainee each year. 

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Aboriginal Public Health

photo taken before COVID-19

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