Queensland Health Minister, Cameron Dick said the statewide training program would guide health professionals in giving culturally-appropriate lifestyle advice to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients.
"It will enable them to deliver appropriate smoking cessation, nutrition and physical activity brief interventions to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients."
The $2.24 million initiative will be rolled out over three years by the Menzies School of Health Research, which developed the program with the Townsville Aboriginal and Islander Health Service and Inala Indigenous Health Service.
Menzies School of Health Research Director Professor, Alan Cass said the program aimed to reduce the rate of smoking and disease among Indigenous Queenslanders.
Chief Executive Officer of the Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council, Neil Willmett welcomes the Health minister's announcement.
“Smoking is a really big problem, not only in Queensland but across the country for Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people,” he said.
“We work as close as we can to Queensland health to improve the well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and reducing the rate of smoking is crucial.”
Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council is the peak body that oversees 28 Aboriginal and Islander community controlled services operating in Queensland and Mr Willmett is one of the few Aboriginal executives in the state. With nearly one million patients stepping through the door for medical services, Mr Wilmett says their main focus is on the health and well-being of Indigenous Australians.
“Smoking is such a big issue and several people, be it political or professional, have tried to address it. While we’ve made some progress there’s still a lot of work to be done.”