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JCU sparks boost in Health Checks
The Innisfail Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community are looking forward to a healthy future thanks to the hard work of Mamu Health Service Limited and James Cook University (JCU).
Community Outreach Worker and Cultural Mentor Brett Ambrum said they’ve noticed an increase in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Checks over the last year.
“The number of people coming in for health checks is up there to equal more than half of the Indigenous population in our service area. We’re looking at more than 1300 health checks.”
Mr Ambrum said health checks aren’t just for people who are sick, they are about general health and early detection.
“One of the stories that came out last month was that a child’s health check actually revealed that the child had a blood anomaly. They were able to detect it early and act on it.”
Mr Ambrum said as a mentor he introduces new JCU registrars to the community. This has contributed to the spike in health checks.
“They’re familiar with the doctor outside the clinic, instead of just when they come to the office,” he said.
“They’re seeing them out and about, being part of our groups, being part of our general community.”
“By getting them in there and the fellas feeling so at ease with them, they’re able to tell other fellas, especially their sons and nephew… go and see the doctor he’s a great bloke.”
Professor Jacinta Elston, Associate Dean Engagement and Strategy with JCU said the Cultural Mentors are an integral part of the program.
“They directly support registrars in developing a relationship with the local community and help them understand local cultural issues and practices,” she said.
“JCU is committed to developing a general practice workforce that is able to work effectively with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people towards improving their health outcomes.”
GMT is a unit within James Cook University contracted by the Australian Government Department of Health to deliver the Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) program in North Western Queensland.
Mamu Health Services provide Health Checks through their Deadly Choices program.
The program promotes healthy lifestyle choices and prevents chronic diseases amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.