Abstract: Background: Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of morbidity in Aboriginal Australians, however only around 5% of eligible Aboriginal people at tend cardiac rehabilitation (CR) heart health programs. Through community consultation and strong collaboration between Heart Foundation, Karratha Central Healthcare (formerly Pilbara Health Network) and key stakeholder organisations in the West Pilbara a need was determined to provide culturally specific heart health programs for local communities in the region. These communities are Roebourne, Karratha and Onlsow. Method: Consultation with local Aboriginal communities using snowball methodology, was followed by consulting with key community organisations/stakeholders. Oral interviews, were transcribed and fed back to all participating persons. Discussions included establishing community understanding and needs in relation to heart health logistics for program setup, recruitment of staff and aspects of implementation and sustainability. Yarning is an important part of Aboriginal culture, it was used throughout to discuss health messaging and support positive behaviour change through the diverse program activities and meetings. Results: Since program commenced in September 2015, many changes have occurred including success in breaking down working in silos and establishing a more collaborative and partnership approach with stakeholder service providers the program can work alongside. Each town is different in size and access to service providers. Significantly through our program ’s processes, participants have experienced empowerment over their own health. Outcomes include improved self -esteem, increase knowledge of the benefits of healthy eating, physical activity and mostly cardiovascular health knowledge. Cross cultural learning between staff and community people has been beneficial and the program continues to evolve.
Dimer, Lyn, Shilton, Trevor, Hayes, Anne, Hayes, Shirley, Heard, Monteza, Turangi, Gina, Hamilton, Sandy, 2017, Listen to the voice of the people: culturally specific consultation and innovation in establishing an Aboriginal health program in the west Pilbara, Conference Paper, viewed 21 November 2019, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=11792.