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Centre for Remote Health

Speech Pathology student Monica Hatswell with Occupational Therapist Kylie Adams heading off to Lake Nash during Monica’s placement in Central AustraliaFlinders University Speech Pathology student Monica Hatswell has just completed her fourth-year placement with Desert Therapy in Alice Springs.

During her placement at Desert Therapy Monica saw clients both in the clinical setting, at the clients’ supported accommodation and out at Indigenous community camps. “Being able to experience remote health and work in close contact with Indigenous speech, language and disability have allowed me to understand the components of social determinants of health”, says Monica.

Since Desert Therapy is a private practice funded by the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), Monica was also able to get an insight into the workings of government funding which helped her to recognise the intricacies of providing health in the disability sector.

Once Monica finished her placement, she was offered a job immediately as a Therapy Assistant and stayed on for an extra month, obtaining more hands-on Speech Pathology work, and experience in a transdisciplinary setting.

“Attending placement in Alice Springs with Desert Therapy has been the most amazing placement experience thus far”, Monica said.

Find out more about Nursing and Allied Health placements in Central Australia supported by the Centre for Remote Health.

Centre for Remote Health Project Team: Barbara Richards, Kathleen Martin, Margaret Carey, Tim Carey and Ross CarterThe outstanding reputation of Flinders’ Centre for Remote Health (CRH) for cross-cultural awareness training has taken another leap forward with Newmont Goldcorp Tanami Operations, selecting the centre as a preferred training provider. Newmont Goldcorp is the world’s largest gold producer with a stated purpose to ‘create value and improve lives through sustainable and responsible mining’.

An award-winning professional development course was developed by the CRH several years ago to provide an introduction to the culture of Central Australian Aboriginal people.

Newmont Goldcorp, which has operations and projects across four continents, selected the CRH through a competitive process for its Tanami Operations mine located 540 kilometres northwest of Alice Springs, on Aboriginal freehold land in the remote Tanami Desert. The traditional landowners for the region are the Warlpiri (Yapa) peoples.

Minister for Industry and Skills The Hon David Pisoni MP presents the SA/NT Pharmacist of the Year Award to Dr Danny TsaiCongratulations to Centre for Remote Health and Flinders NT’s Dr Danny Tsai, who received the SA/NT Pharmacist of the Year Award at the Annual Celebration of Excellence in Pharmacy, hosted by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia.

Dr Tsai was commended for his significant contribution to the safe and effective use of medicines in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and for improving clinical pharmacy services in Central Australia. He was presented with the award by Minister for Industry and Skills, David Pisoni MP, on Friday 1 March 2019.

Dr Tsai is the inaugural Antimicrobial Stewardship Pharmacist at the Alice Springs Hospital and also his current research interests include investigating the demographics and bacteriology of severe community acquired pneumonia in Central Australia.

He was also recognised for his work supporting student placements, as a mentor for early career pharmacists, and for his contributions to ongoing education for health professionals working in remote areas.

Late last year Danny also became the first Central Australian based pharmacist to be awarded a fellowship by the Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia.

pills 384846 340A workshop to assist clinicians in the provision of medications to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, was facilitated by Centre for Remote Health, Flinders NT and James Cook University staff as a pre-conference event at the 24 – 27 March 2019 National Rural Health Conference in Hobart.

Prescribing, dispensing and supporting medicines use with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples has been developed by Kathleen Martin and Tobias Speare from the Centre for Remote Health and Flinders NT, together with Sophia Couzos from James Cook University.

The workshop, designed to ensure the appropriate, safe and effective use of medicines, crucial to the effective management of many health conditions, covered access to medicines, communication considerations and adherence to therapies. It incorporated interactive activities and provided clinicians with strategies and resources to enhance quality use of medicines in collaboration with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Flinders NT Professional staff from across the Northern Territory met in Alice SpringsFlinders NT professional staff recently met at the Centre for Remote Health in Alice Springs for a three-day annual forum.

This was a great networking and professional development opportunity for staff across the five Flinders NT sites; Alice Springs, Tennant Creek, Nhulunbuy, Katherine and Darwin.

Besides reflecting on the year gone by, and planning for the year ahead, staff expanded their knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal culture with informative and interactive training delivered by Centre for Remote Health academics Kathleen Martin and Barbara Richards.

The forum also provided an understanding of the results of a DISC profile assessment tool used in strengthening teams and communication, which was conducted by BizNorth.

These important occasions help to increase collaboration and strengthen staff relationships and connections across our sites.

Thanks to all who contributed to its success.

Professor John Wakerman, Associate Dean, Flinders NTFlinders NT including the Centre for Remote Health extends a sincere thank you to Professor John Wakerman, who will complete his duties with Flinders University on 29 March 2019.

John has an extensive and influential career in rural and remote health, and has worked for Flinders University since 1999, when he was appointed as inaugural Director of the Centre for Remote Health in Alice Springs.

As Associate Dean, Flinders NT, Professor Wakerman’s purview includes the NT Medical Program, Centre for Remote Health and Poche Centre for Indigenous Health. He has served on many local, jurisdictional and national committees and boards, including as Chair of the Central Australian Rural Practitioners Association (CARPA), Deputy Chair of the Central Australian Health Service Board, a member of the NHMRC Health Care Committee, the Advisory Board of the Health and Hospitals Fund, and of the Australian Therapeutic Goods Advisory Council. He is a past Chair of the National Rural Health Alliance. He is currently a member of the NT General Practice Education Board and the Health Care Homes Evaluation Working Group.

Participants at the first Central Australian Pharmacist Education (CAPE) session taking part in interactive exercises on swallowing, thickened fluids and choking hazardsThe inaugural education session of the Central Australian Pharmacist Education (CAPE) program held in February at the Centre for Remote Health (CRH) in Alice Springs received an overwhelming response, with local community and hospital pharmacists, pharmacy interns, technicians and students taking part. Tennant Creek pharmacists also joined the session via video conference.

The interactive session Swallowing, thickened fluids and choking hazards!, was presented by Ms Nanthini Kanthan and the Alice Springs Hospital Speech Pathology team. Participants were able to make up and taste various thickening products, learn about strategies to prevent choking in patients suffering from dysphagia, and take part in an interactive quiz. The session was well received and provided participants with an opportunity to network as well as earn some Group 2 CPD points.

Professor John Wakerman Associate Dean Flinders NT presenting Dr Meg Simmons with the Flinders NT Outstanding Regional Supervisor Award for Allied Health in Central AustraliaFive years ago dental student Conor Harnischfeger undertook a twenty-week placement at the Flynn Drive Dental Clinic in Alice Springs under the mentorship of Meg and Bruce Simmons. Invited to return to the clinic as a new graduate he’s now the clinic’s Senior Dentist Manager, and is keen to give back and provide other students with the same positive experience that he received.

“The supervision I received during my placement was switched-on and caring and Meg and Bruce really took the time to help me develop clinically so that I felt very confident when I graduated”, says Conor.

Meg Simmons who until her recent retirement was the Senior Dentist at the clinic, received the Flinders NT Outstanding Regional Supervisor Award for Allied Health in Central Australia where she was recognised for being an exceptional clinical educator and mentor over many years. Students also commented on how she contributed to their development clinically, professionally, culturally, and personally.

Irene SchmutzCongratulations to Irene Schmutz, 2018 winner of the Gayle Woodford Memorial Scholarship, jointly sponsored by CRANAplus and the Centre for Remote Health. The scholarship covers all course fees for the Graduate Certificate in Remote Health Practice, offered through Flinders University.

Irene started her nursing degree at 30 in Switzerland, where she worked predominantly in mental health. For the past 5 years she has lived and worked mainly in regional and remote Western Australia in areas with a high Indigenous population, together with her family including three children.

After starting off at the Single Nurse Post in a small Aboriginal Community in the Karlamilyi National Park in the Western Desert, she moved to a nearby regional town to work in the Hospital and to volunteer as an Ambulance Officer.

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