* Cultural Warning

People of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent should be aware that the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service website may contain images and names of people who are deceased or images of places that could cause sorrow.



The VAHS Young People's Project: A Study of The Health and Wellbeing of Koori Youth in Melbourne

In 1998 and 2001, the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service (VAHS) got young people aged 12-30 years to talk about different health issues, fill in a survey and get their health checked out.

The VAHS manager Reg Thorpe and researcher Joanne Luke and with the support of Onemda researchers Paul Stewart, Ian Anderson and Dr Kevin Rowley are using this information to produce a report on the health of Young Koories in Melbourne.

A final report will document, physical health, dental health, emotional health, sexual and reproductive health, social factors, behavioural factors, and health service use for young Koories in Melbourne.

This analysis will help the VAHS in its delivery of youth services and programs.

Partner Organisations

University of Melbourne, Onemda VicHealth Koori Health Unit, Co-operative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health

The VAHS Youth Justice Project

The Victorian Department of Justice has funded the VAHS to participate in a research project which investigates Koori youth and the juvenile justice system.

The VAHS researcher Rebekah Stennett with the assistance of the VAHS Youth Justice Steering Committee (Helen Kennedy, Anthony Brown, Reg Thorpe, Paul Stewart (Onemda), Kelle Castellano and Joanne Luke) will be talking with community members including youth workers, justice workers, elders and youth about initiatives and programs which will reduce the negative contact of young people with the justice system.

This project will help the Department of Justice and the Koori community develop and build upon current programs which aim to reduce contact with the juvenile justice system.

Partner Organisations

Department of Justice - State Government Victoria, University of Melbourne, Onemda VicHealth Koori Health Unit

Revitalising Health for All Project: Comprehensive Primary Health Care at VAHS

The VAHS has been selected as one of three health services in Australia (the others being Congress in Alice Springs, NT and Urapunga Health Service in Utopia, NT) to be involved in an international project (Teasdale Corti) looking at comprehensive primary health care delivery.

The VAHS Researcher Joanne Luke and VACCHO and Monash University researcher Dr Bronwyn Fredericks will be talking to community members as well as past and present staff and board members about comprehensive primary health care.

This research will focus on why the VAHS was set up, how the VAHS services and programs have developed, and the future direction for the VAHS.

Partner Organisations

Monash University, VACCHO, Co-operative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health

Use of Health Record Diary

The Health Record Diary (HRD) is a patient-held booklet that contains summary health information including health history, current medications, current care plan, contact details of relevant health care providers, and a calendar for health related appointments.

This study will evaluate the HRD with respect to; impact on organisation of care and keeping appointments, effectiveness of sharing information between providers, impact of selected clinical indicators, and impact on perceptions of 'control' of care.

The HRD is offered to people who have chronic conditions and/or complex care managed by the VAHS medical team. The use of the HRD is being evaluated by survey administered by an Aboriginal health worker at 0, 6 and 12 months. Participation in the evaluation study is voluntary. Major domains of the survey include; demographics, barriers to keeping clinical appointments, communication with health care providers outside of the health service, satisfaction with care, health monitoring in previous 12 months and items assessing locus of health control. Clinical data is also collected.

Partner Organisations

Healthy For Life: Australian Government Dept. of Health and Aging

Understanding the Impact of Racism on Indigenous Child and Youth Health

The Health Record Diary (HRD) is a patient-held booklet that contains summary health information including health history, current medications, current care plan, contact details of relevant health care providers, and a calendar for health related appointments.

Partner Organisations

Melbourne School of Population Health: University of Melbourne, McCaughey Centre & Onemda VicHealth Koori Health Unit, Menzies School of Health

Improving Diabetes Care in Mainstream General Practice and Community Health Services for Urban indigenous Australians

Dr Phyllis Lau as a chief investigator, and Marlene Burchill as the project officer, on this project will be consulting with the VAHS staff on what makes the VAHS and other Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services in Victoria culturally appropriate for Koori people.

This consultation will be considered in the design and development of a Cultural Respect Implementation Toolkit for mainstream general practices and community health services to deliver culturally appropriate diabetes and chronic disease care for Koori people.

Partner Organisations

Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, The University of Melbourne

Addressing HIV risks related to injecting drug use in Victorian Aboriginal Communities

The aim of the project is to improve the health of Aboriginal Victorians, particularly those who inject drugs.

This project aims to find out how to better address health promotion messages and education in relation to Blood Borne Viruses (BBVs)/ Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) including Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) for this hard to reach group.

The VAHS participation will contribute to the identification of strategies to reduce the risk of contraction of BBVs and improve access for IDUs to prevention and treatment programs.

Partner Organisations

Anex, Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation

Australian Collaboration for Chlamydia Enhanced Seminal Surveillance (ACCESS) Project

The VAHS is one of seven Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services selected to be involved in this project.

VAHS medical staff Sandra Gregson and Andrew Baker will be working with chief investigators A Prof Margaret Hellard (Burnet Institute) and Prof Basil Donovan (National Centre in HIV Epidemiology & Clinical Research) who are seeking to establish a comprehensive surveillance system that will help to evaluate the impact of interventions designed to control genital Chlamydia trachomatis infection in Australia.

Partner Organisations

The Burnet Institute, National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cannabis Interventions

The VAHS is one of four community-controlled health services across Australia involved in this project. Dr Julia Butt, from the Indigenous research team at the National Drug Research Institute at Curtain University WA, has been working in collaboration with the VAHS medical unit and the VAHS family counseling service to develop and pilot the "could it be the yarndi?" help and information program for clients who use yarndi (cannabis). The project aims to raise awareness of the effects of yarndi on health and wellbeing and help the medical service assist people who use yarndi.

Partner Organisations

Curtin University: National Drug Research Institute, National Cannabis Prevention & Information Centre

"Aboriginal community-control: Colonialism, white politics and indigenous autonomy"

Student PHD Thesis: Michael Hemmingway

This research project will document and explore the social and political history of the Victorian Aboriginal community controlled health sector, with the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service at the centre of this research. It aims at exploring the development of VAHS and the community-controlled sector in relation to their relationship with government agencies.

Michael has been recording the oral histories of some of the elders and community members who have played an important role at the VAHS, and is looking forward to more discussions with those who have been involved with the Service over the years.

Partner Organisations

University of Melbourne

"Understanding Trauma and Resilience in an Urban Koori Population: Implications for the Assessment and Treatment of Trauma in Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services"

Student PHD Thesis: Graham Gee

Graham Gee a worker at the VAHS Family Counselling is investigating what factors are associated with resilience to trauma in urban Koori communities.

This project will identify levels of trauma in Melbourne community members and investigate how this trauma effects the lives of individuals who use the VAHS family counselling service. The individual, family and community protective factors for healthy functioning and well-being, will also be investigated.

Graham will use these findings to develop a culturally appropriate evaluation tool for use in counselling and for programs in the family counselling service at the VAHS

Partner Organisations

University of Melbourne