WTF! What would a Cambridge Don know about blackfellas?

His statements are mostly "motherhood" ones so why do we need them? Actually spending time among the blackfellas and getting to know their perspective is what is needed rather than a lot of do-gooderism by blow-in whites

UNDERSTANDING the culture of indigenous patients will help doctors close the gap in life expectancy between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians, an international health professional says.

Doctors also need to foster trust, which is being eroded by "officialdom" and socioeconomic issues, Professor David Simmons from Cambridge University told a meeting on indigenous health and chronic disease.

Speaking at the Royal Australasian College of Physicians 2011 Congress, Prof Simmons said as well as examining the extensive statistics on health problems in indigenous communities, doctors need to look at how they are engaging with indigenous patients. "Officialdom at various levels from political to stakeholder engagement, along with a range of socioeconomic issues, has made trust fraught," he said.

Prof Simmons said a number of initiatives aimed at improving the health of diabetic Aborigines, Torres Strait Islanders and Maoris had been very successful, and should be used in other areas. "Ensuring the health of the indigenous patient or community is important.

"As is understanding that cross-cultural issues, such as differing priorities and beliefs, will inevitably arise. "Building trust in indigenous health is imperative to the overall success of closing the gap and addressing disparities. "There will always be competing perspectives and agendas from within and outside the indigenous community, and beyond the individual patient."

The congress will also hear from Australia's leading addiction specialist Kate Conigrave on the issues that lead to drug and alcohol addiction. "Many communities have acted with great strength to tackle substance misuse but they need sustained support and access to treatment," Associate Professor Conigrave said in a statement. She said advances in medication could double the chance of success, and called for improved access to modern treatment in Aboriginal communities.

The 2011 congress, over three days, will address a range of areas including alcohol consumption during pregnancy, the challenges of paediatric care in remote communities, and indigenous dementia.


(Since those who do not know Aborigines are unliklely to be aware of it, I mention that Aborigines most commonly refer to themselves as "blackfellas". "Aborigine" is a pure Latin word: ab origine -- JR)

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