5th annual Ngar-wu Wanyarra Conference held in Shepparton

Indigenous researchers, community members and health workers came together on Wednesday 16 October to promote better health for Aboriginal Australians.

The 5th annual Ngar-wu Wanyarra (listen and act in Yorta Yorta) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Conference was hosted by the University’s Department of Rural Health (DRH) at Riverlinks Eastbank in Shepparton, with over 200 registered attendees.

Place of Knowledge, 2014 by Chris Thorne (acrylic on canvas) community / language group - unknown. Image: Chris Thorne

Beginning with a Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony, the day included talks by key Aboriginal health sector professionals, researchers, community workers and policy makers from six universities and many Aboriginal organisations across Australia.

The significance of providing culturally safe services during clinical interactions, digital mental health, strengthening Aboriginal health records and using storytelling to balance Indigenous and Western healing are some of the diverse topics that were covered during the conference.

Keynote presentations by the Lowitja Institute Chair Patricia Anderson AO and UNSW Sydney Scientia Fellow Dr Kalinda Griffiths were highlights of the conference, followed by an evening performance from acclaimed singer Archie Roach.

Keynote presenters, conference supporters and DRH staff: (L to R) Merrin Tonks, Regional Lead - Murray Primary Health Network; Angela McLeod, Manager - DRH; Pat Anderson AO; Cr Kim O’Keeffe, Mayor - Greater Shepparton City Council; Dr Kalinda Griffiths; Leah Lindrea-Morrison, Aboriginal Partnerships & Community Engagement Officer - DRH; and Prof Lisa Bourke, Director - DRH

Director of the University Department of Rural Health Lisa Bourke said that this conference is a celebration of the hard work and successful programs in Aboriginal health and wellbeing.

“The conference demonstrates that Aboriginal health in Aboriginal hands achieves great things,” Professor Bourke said.

“Ngar-wu Wanyarra aims to inform, empower and inspire those working in Aboriginal health and Aboriginal communities, particularly in rural and remote areas of Australia.”

The main sponsors of the conference were the Murray Primary Health Network and the Greater Shepparton City Council.

Read more about the conference at this link.

You can also listen to an episode of Eavesdrop on Experts featuring conference presenter Gwenda Freeman, Associate Lecturer in Aboriginal Health, Department of Rural Health, here.