Working together to improve Aboriginal cancer outcomes
The upcoming Innovation in Cancer Treatment and Care conference will showcase the work of a team of health workers based in the Murrumbidgee, who are working to reduce cancer mortality among Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people.
Stewart James, Narrandera*
The 'Working Together' project team is determined to increase
the number of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people accessing
cancer services within Southern NSW.
"The team uses consultation, outreach, training and education
initiatives in the hope of improving access and use of cancer
services by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people," said
Victoria Jones, leader of the award winning Aboriginal Health and
Cancer Services - Working Together project.
The team works with the area's Aboriginal Health Manager and
local health care workers, taking a collaborative approach to
cancer services and care in their local community.
"It has also been vital to work with Aboriginal Elders, health
workers and community members at every stage of the project. Within
overarching principles of respect and commitment, we work with
every community differently according to local conditions and
guided by local people," says Victoria.
The result, she says, has been a mutual trust between Aboriginal
and non-Aboriginal communities that she hopes will inspire other
health professionals across NSW to take a more collaborative and
united approach to improving cancer outcomes in Aboriginal or
Torres Strait Islander communities.
"These relationships take time, patience, commitment and
humility. Getting the process right is critical in order to
work towards better health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander people."
Victoria and her team presented at the recent Innovation in
Cancer Treatment and Care NSW conference on Friday 7
View the video of their presentation on the Cancer Institute's
Top of page
*About the artwork
The kangaroo is recognised by Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal
people and is found throughout Australia. It is a national and
The colours of brown and white and all of the tones in between
are used throughout the painting to represent Aboriginal and
non-Aboriginal people. The circles with horseshoe shapes are
camps/meeting places. There is an Aboriginal camp/meeting place and
non-Aboriginal cancer services camp/meeting place, where people sit
There are Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal footprints that move in
and out of both camps/meeting places. This represents Aboriginal
people going to cancer services and cancer services going to
Aboriginal people and the line running diagonally signifies how
cancer can fracture people's lives and communities.
The dot circles in the corners represent the opening up and
sharing of Aboriginal culture.