Background and Context:
Indigenous Australians have a higher rate of cancer diagnosis and 50% more likely to die from cancer than non-Indigenous Australians. Aboriginal and Torres-Strait Islander Health-Workers provide culturally appropriate support and information for people with cancer, their families and communities. The need to conduct a national forum for researchers and Health-Workers to identify barriers and facilitators for successful program implementation and incorporation of appropriate engagement models has been identified as a priority area of need.
To increase the capacity of the Aboriginal and Torres-Strait Islander health-workforce to provide information and support to people with cancer, their families and community.
Cancer Australia has developed a culturally appropriate model to engaging key stakeholders in Indigenous communities. The model comprises five key components: evidence translation; community engagement; collaboration and capacity building; message repetition; and sustainability.
Utilising the engagement model Cancer Australia convened a National Aboriginal and Torres-Strait Islander Cancer Forum to: increase the capacity of the health workforce to provide evidence-based breast and lung cancer information, facilitate collaboration across networks, share learnings and identify priorities for improving cancer outcomes in this population group.
Outcomes/What was learned:
The need for a national approach to increase capacity of Indigenous Health-Workers was demonstrated through strong support from key stakeholders and high level of participation at the forum. Opportunities for sharing knowledge and learnings, and networking was also provided. Evaluation assessed its impact in providing evidence-based information to improve support for Indigenous people with cancer, and to identify key strategies and priorities for improving cancer outcomes in this population group.