Centre for Remote Health

Belinda WashingtonAboriginal women working and studying with Flinders University in the Northern Territory are transforming health services for communities across northern and central Australia. 

A new publication released to celebrate NAIDOC Week 2018 provides examples of the impact that Aboriginal women are having across Flinders’ seven NT sites. Using the NAIDOC theme Because of Her – We Can, Flinders NT staff and graduates talk about their remarkable journeys and efforts to improve health services for all Territorians, with a particular focus on Aboriginal people.


Centre for Remote Health Pharmacy Academic Tobias Speare with his son SebastianCongratulations to Centre for Remote Health (CRH) Pharmacy Academic and course coordinator, Tobias Speare on winning a 2018 National Medicinewise Award for developing Pharmacotherapeutics for Remote Area Nurses, an online short course in safe medicines management and patient care for the remote nursing workforce.

The award-winning course delivered by CRH has already seen over 700 participants. According to health workforce evaluation, the course is well received and improves knowledge, confidence, awareness and competence particularly in relation to patient-centred care, clinical reasoning associated with management of medications and the use of appropriate resources to support practice.

The National Prescribing Service Medicinewise Awards recognise best-practice innovations in improving quality use of medicines across seven categories, including initiatives for consumers, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, health professionals and e-health.

Find out more about Pharmacotherapeutics for Remote Area Nurses course

Danny Tsai, Rural Pharmacy Liaison Officer with the Centre for Remote HealthThe Centre for Remote Health welcomes Danny Tsai who commenced his position as Rural Pharmacy Liaison Officer in February this year.

Danny predominantly manages pharmacy student placements in Alice Springs and Tennant Creek, and also organises education sessions for pharmacy students, local interns and registered pharmacists. Currently also an antimicrobial stewardship pharmacist at the Alice Springs Hospital, Danny has worked in Alice Springs as a clinical pharmacist for over 9 years.

His passion is in intensive care medicine, infectious diseases and Indigenous health. Danny’s PhD projects, which he completed in 2017, focused on improving antibiotic dosing in critically ill Indigenous patients with severe sepsis, and subsequently presented in numerous international and national conferences/seminars and published a number of papers in international journals.

He loves reading and is a proud father of a cheeky 16-month old boy and expecting his first baby daughter in August this year.
For enquiries contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Margaret Scobie, Theresa Drover and Patricia Webb from the Akeyulerre Healing Centre after conducting the smoking ceremony at the Centre for Remote HealthOn 22nd May 2018 the Akeyulerre Healing Centre conducted a traditional smoking ceremony at the Centre for Remote Health (CRH) in Alice Springs.

The ceremony was held in recognition of Aboriginal sacred sites situated on the CRH grounds. This was in keeping with traditions of local Arrernte people who use smoking ceremonies for cleansing, healing, removing bad spirits and passing on knowledge between generations.

Local eremophila leaves were burned in metal buckets after which the healers walked through the CRH building, cleansing each office by spreading the smoke from the buckets. CRH staff were then invited to walk through the smoke, allowing its distribution for healing and cleansing purposes.

Alderman Justine Glover representing The Right Worshipful the Lord Mayor of Darwin, Kon Vatskalis on behalf of CRANAplus, Monica Ostigh, CQI Facilitator, Top End Health Services accepting the award on behalf of Emmeline Fletcher, and Tanja Hirvonen, Mental Health Academic Centre for Remote HealthCongratulations to Emmeline Fletcher, 2018 winner of the Excellence in Remote Primary Health Care Nursing/Midwifery award sponsored by Centre for Remote Health (CRH) and CRANAplus.

This award forms part of the Northern Territory Government, Nursing and Midwifery Excellence Awards which recognise outstanding nurses and midwives who go above and beyond to make a difference to the health and wellbeing of Territorians.

Emmeline, who has worked in remote health since 2012, is currently a remote area nurse at Borroloola Health Clinic where she holds the child health portfolio. She is a role model for remote area nurses across the Northern Territory, with excellent clinical skills and an innate ability to communicate with clients and their families. She is proactive in seeking out opportunities to engage with isolated members of the community and has a strong patient centred approach.

L-R: Prof John Wakerman, Prof Tim Carey, Prof Jonathan Craig, Prof Sir Michael Marmot, Prof Fran Baum, Ms Kathleen Martin, and Dr Toby Freeman gather at the Centre for Remote Health building in Alice Springs before Prof Marmot's presentation of the recent Health Equity: Taking Action seminarThe Centre for Remote Health (CRH) proudly welcomed Professor of Epidemiology at University College London, Chair of the Flinders University Southgate Institute’s International Advisory Board and social inequality health expert Professor Sir Michael Marmot, during his visit to Alice Springs on 4th May.

During his seminar, Health Equity: Taking Action, held at the Centre for Remote Health, Sir Michael presented global data on health inequities and the social gradient, and provided numerous examples of actions that can contribute to reducing health inequities ranging from early childhood development, social security payments and the value to be gained from preventing tax avoidance by trans-national corporations.

The seminar was attended by over 140 health professionals and interested citizens, and many others from around the country viewed the session via live streaming.

This image includes the most widely spoken Aboriginal languages in the Northern TerritoryThe Centre for Remote Health in Alice Springs was recently awarded $150,000 to develop a training package and resources for use by Aboriginal Interpreters in the disability field.

The NT Office of Disability has recognised the need for a greater understanding of language and concepts relating to disability so that interpreters can more effectively work within the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) planning processes.

The package will designed for general use within the disability field.

The project will be managed by Centre for Remote Health Allied Health Lecturer, Heather Jensen, together with Project Officer, Rodney Angelo.

Tanja HirvonenDr Kahu McClintock and Tanja Hirvonen at the International Association for Suicide Prevention Conference in New Zealand, Mental Health Academic for Centre for Remote Health attended the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) 2018 Asia Pacific Regional Conference held in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand in early May. Tanja is pictured with Dr Kahu McClintock from Aotearoa (New Zealand) who led the Evaluation of the Waka Hourua Māori Community Suicide Prevention Initiatives. Kahu also has the honour to represent Aotearoa on the Expert Advisory Panel for the Centre for Best Practice for Suicide Prevention (CBPSPA) in Australia.

Tanja participated in a plenary around Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention which covered the development of the Centre for Best Practice for Suicide Prevention in Australia. Tanja also discussed the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation (ATSISPEP) report and its recommendations and findings as well as Flinders University initiatives around the importance of professional self-care particularly for our student doctors.

The overall conference theme, ‘Turning the tide together – Tai Pari, Tai timu ngatahi ai’ focused on Suicide Prevention around the globe including programs, behaviours, community-based initiatives, postvention and risk with many poster presentations and special lectures.

Healing the past by nurturing the futureThe first workshop for the “Healing the past by nurturing the future” project, held in Adelaide in March, was attended by Centre for Remote Health Mental Health Academic, Tanja Hirvonen.

The lead researchers are Drs Cath Chamberlain and Graham Gee. Yvonne Clark is a Chief Investigator and employed part time on the project alongside the other researchers and Tanja Hirvonen is also part of the project team.

In addition to many years’ experience working for Aboriginal communities, the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal team have extensive expertise in psychology, psychiatry, perinatal care, parenting, Aboriginal health and all types of research. Aboriginal Community Controlled Medical Services in the Northern Territory, South Australia and Victoria have been invited to be involved in this project. Community-based key stakeholders from all jurisdictions, identified through service mapping, will be invited to participate in the co-design workshops.

Tanja Hirvonen with self-care workshop attendeesIn Adelaide during April, Tanja Hirvonen, Mental Health Academic for Centre for Remote Health, presented a one-hour interactive session about the importance of self-care to eleven Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander General Practitioner (GP) trainees and GPs.
Tanja was invited by the Indigenous General Practice Registrars Network (IGPRN) whose aim is to assist all Indigenous GP registrars through to Fellowship by providing support throughout their training and assessment.
The workshop covered the many benefits of working in a caring role including the ability to give back to others, and also challenges that may arise when working in such responsible roles. Also addressed were the additional cultural load and cultural responsibilities that may be experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioners, the fact that vicarious trauma, burnout and emotional exhaustion are real concerns and how to practise self-care to ensure that practitioners bring the best of themselves to the workplace.

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