Aboriginal Health Forum

Showcasing innovation and research

Diabetes WA holds an Aboriginal Health Forum each year during reconcilliation week.

The forum brings together health professionals and showcases innovative programs and initiatives, the latest diabetes research and will features key note speakers from across WA and Australia.

2016 Diabetes WA Aboriginal Health Forum

26 May 2016

Flyer – 2016 DWA Aboriginal Health Forum

Program – DWA Aboriginal Health Forum Program

Register – https://dwa-ahf.eventbrite.com.au

2015 Diabetes WA Aboriginal Health Forum

28 May 2015

The 2015 forum began with a warm welcome to country from Marie Taylor. Professor Tim Davis was the first keynote speaker, who presented lessons from the Fremantle Diabetes Study. Prof Davis discussed how data collected has proved valuable in identifying disparities in diabetes care and outcomes between Aboriginal and non-indigenous patients. He advocated for prevention funding by emphasizing the cost effectiveness of more people on the ground and highlighted the need for investment in Aboriginal Medical Services to ensure continuity of care, which is vital.

Lousie Maple-Brown’s presentation outlined strategies to address the challenges of youth-onset Type 2 diabetes among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Louise explained that Indigenous youth with diabetes are more likely to be female, are frequently (but not always) obese, and experience complications of diabetes at a relatively young age. Louise’s presentation was solutions focused, recommending opportunities to address the intergenerational nature of type 2 diabetes among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities include improving maternal health pre-conception and between pregnancies, particularly among young women with Type 2 diabetes themselves, optimising antenatal care, supporting breastfeeding and other early nutritional interventions.

Derek Nannup took the audience through a networking activity encouraging everyone to connect on a deeper level, before heading to lunch.

After our audience returned re-energised from lunchtime Noongar Sports activities, they attended their assigned breakout sessions and learned about the work of local organisations and agencies in Western Australia.

Lesley Nelson then presented on behalf of Dr Chris Lawrence on the the association between psychological distress and dietary patterns among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participants in the New South Wales 45 and Up Study. Lesley highlighted that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians are twice more likely than other Australians to experience very high levels of psychological distress, poorer diets and a heavy burden of chronic disease.

With the day coming to an end Stephen ‘Baamba’ Albert shared the inspirational story of his experience with diabetes and work to educate others. The day ended on a high with some beautiful music from Uncle Baamba.


2014 Diabetes WA Aboriginal Health Forum

28 May 2014

The 2014 forum began with a unique welcome to country from Ingrid Cumming and Shaun Nannup.

Professor Alex Brown was the first keynote speaker, who spoke on the alarming statics around diabetes and Aboriginal people and highlighted the link between depression and diabetes, suggesting that effective diabetes treatment needs to also address psychosocial issues. Professor Brown also emphasized the need to continue to focus on and advocate for prevention of diabetes.

Dr Peter Azzopardi then presented on prevention, screening and management of diabetes in young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, recommending targeted screening of Aboriginal young people over 10 years who have at least one additional risk factor for type 2 diabetes.

Marie Kirkwood then shared her work on the Northern Territory Diabetes in Pregnancy Project (PANDORA Study), again encouraging early screening of pregnant women. A panel session then provided the audience an opportunity for questions and discussion.

After our audience returned re-energised from lunchtime Nyoongar Sports activities, they attended their assigned breakout sessions and learned about the work of Diabetes WA and several other partner organisations. The topics covered in the breakout sessions included:

  • Piloting DESMOND in Aboriginal Communities – Diabetes WA
  • Getting Wise on Portion Size Program – Diabetes WA
  • Community Drinking Water Initiative – Diabetes WA & Public Health Advocacy Institute WA
  • Engaging with Rural & Remote Communities – Foodbank WA
  • Diabetes Programs – Unity of First People Australia

Mark Slattery then presented on the newly drafted Diabetes Standards of Care and the impact of these standards for Aboriginal Communities in WA.

The day ended on a positive note with an emotive personal story from Vince and Lesley Ugle, whom shared their experiences of changing their lifestyle to manage Vince’s diabetes.


2013 Diabetes WA Aboriginal Health Forum

30 May 2013

The forum attracted over 60 health professionals from organisations across the metropolitan area, including from government organisations, local community groups, health centres and other not for profit agencies. In addition to this, five regional sites linked into the forum via video conference. Regional sites included Narrogin, Northam, South Hedland, Derby and Kununurra. A total of 21 regional health professionals accessed the event via videoconference.

The forum opened with a Welcome to Country by Dr Noel Nannup. Following this three keynote presentations were delivered.

The first keynote presentation was delivered by Dr Christine Jeffries-Stokes, entitled “The Western Desert Kidney Health Project”. The presentation by Dr Stokes provided participants with information on how this project is working to combat diabetes through whole community involvement, working with children using art and videos and also by recognising the complex relationships that contribute to the issue of diabetes.

Dr Michael Adams then presented on engaging Aboriginal men in diabetes programs/services. Dr Michael Adams discussed the ‘Got Suga’ program developed in Queensland and the way this program engages men in diabetes education through role play, story telling and humour. This presentation was also well received with one participant commenting that “Mens Health must be on the health agenda always”.

Finally, the keynote presentations closed with Cynthia Porter presenting the results of her research on Gestational diabetes in Aboriginal women. This forum provided Cynthia with an opportunity to present on her research for the first time in WA, which is where the research was conducted. Cynthia discussed the fact that Gestational diabetes is an internationally neglected health issue and the need to address women’s health during pre-conception and pregnancy, as this impacts on the child’s adult health.

Attendees were then given the opportunity to engage the key note speakers in a panel discussion.

The afternoon breakout session at the forum showcased three key programs run by Diabetes WA: Feltman, FootSmart and DESMOND. These sessions were delivered by Diabetes WA staff and provided attendees with an opportunity to learn more about the programs offered, and provide them with an understand of how other organisations and services can access/link-in with these.



Please be advised that this website may
contain names and images of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people now deceased.