Expanding Roles of Aboriginal Health Workers in the Primary Care Setting: Seeking recognition

Abstract

The work of Aboriginal health workers (AHWs) in the primary care setting is discussed, emphasising that partnership with non-Indigenous health providers such as nurses and general practitioners brings complementary skills together to improve the health care available to Aboriginal clients, and to decrease the cultural and communication barriers to delivering such health care.

The diverse skills and responsibilities of AHWs, which include clinical, health promotion, education and leadership roles, are illustrated. The current focus on increasing AHW educational opportunities, and the need to recognise AHWs as core health professionals and equal members of the health care team is presented. The increasing recognition of the role of AHWs in providing cultural mentorship for non-Indigenous colleagues is discussed.

Authors

Penny Abbott
General Practitioner, Aboriginal Medical Service Western Sydney, Sydney NSW

Elaine Gordon
Senior Aboriginal Health Worker, Aboriginal Medical Service Western Sydney, Sydney NSW

Joyce Davison
Senior Aboriginal Health Worker, Chronic Care Team, Aboriginal Medical Service Western Sydney, Mt Druitt, NSW

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Keywords

Aboriginal health worker, general practice, primary care, cultural mentorship, partnership with non-Indigenous health workers

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