We are preparing a special issue of Australian Journal of Primary Health on the following topic:
- Health promotion in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
Guest editors: Kerry Arabena PhD (Onemda, University of Melbourne), Kevin Rowley PhD (Onemda, University of Melbourne) and Sarah MacLean PhD (Onemda, University of Melbourne)
Australian Journal of Primary Health plans to publish a special issue in 2014 aimed at providing evidence on effective approaches to health promotion in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Health promotion describes programs or policies designed to reduce avoidable health inequalities. The WHO defines health promotion as being about people and communities taking control of the determinants of their health, which are shaped by the distribution of money, power and resources at global, national and local levels (WHO 2013). Health promotion includes a range of approaches that address social determinants of health, such as poverty, housing access, educational access, cultural identity, racism and sexism, as well as health behaviours such as smoking, alcohol use, healthy eating and exercise, and access to health services.
Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders tend to think of health in holistic terms as the ‘social, emotional and cultural well-being of the whole community’ (National Aboriginal Health Strategy 1989) rather than focusing on disease in individuals. Since colonisation, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have experienced poorer health on a range of outcomes including higher rates of preventable chronic disease than mainstream Australians. Addressing the social determinants of health is therefore a critical part of closing the health gap in Australia.
The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013–2023 (Commonwealth of Australia 2013) is grounded in principles of health equality as a human right, community control and engagement, and partnership and accountability, all of which are consistent with a health promotion approach. It will coordinate key investments in health promotion across Australia for the next decade. The Health Plan emphasises principles that promote cultural engagement, respectful partnerships and innovations addressing current and emerging issues.
Authors are encouraged to submit abstracts relevant to health promotion for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, particularly those that emphasise implementation of elements of the Health Plan, or generate measurable outcomes in community contexts. Key questions could include the following:
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander models of health promotion
- How does health promotion operate differently in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities?
- What does Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health promotion seek to achieve?
- How can health promotion programs be designed to address health inequalities and increase community or individual control over the determinants of health?
- What health promotion practices are effective for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples?
- Do some approaches work well in particular Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities but not in others?
- What are the practical challenges of implementing and sustaining health promotion initiatives in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities?
Health services, governance and health promotion
- What competencies/skills/training is required for effective inclusion and support of health promotion; what challenges exist?
- How can health promotion be prioritised within services that are overwhelmed by the need to respond to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s acute care needs?
- What is good practice in the implementation and management of health promotion activities?
Evaluation of health promotion
- What do evaluations demonstrate in terms of health promotion’s cost-effectiveness, cultural appropriateness, quality, health outcomes, empowerment processes and outcomes, and equity?
- What are the barriers to effective implementation of health promotion activities?
- What further research into health promotion is required?
Interested authors should submit a 200 word Abstract by email to Dr Kerry Arabena by 15 January 2014. At the end of the abstract, authors should include two additional paragraphs stating ‘What is known about the topic?’ (30 words max.) and ‘What does this paper add?’ (30 words max.). Authors invited to submit full papers should do so through our online journal management system ScholarOne Manuscripts by 28 February 2014.