A new national campaign has been to attract more indigenous people into the health workforce.
Milly Cahill has 28 kids. But she isn't their mother. She is a child health nurse in Broome. This is how she introduces herself in a new national advertising campaign aimed at attracting more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to work in Indigenous Health.
The $4.3 million campaign features 'health heroes' - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people currently working in health from around Australia - with targeted television, radio, print and online advertising and a new health heroes website.
It will be supported by 20 secondary school visits in Queensland, NSW, Victoria and South Australia, and expanding in 2012 and 2013 across Australia.
Launching the campaign last month, Minister for Indigenous Health, Warren Snowdon, said research demonstrated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were more likely to seek primary health care when it was being provided by their own people.
"We need more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander GPs, paramedics, medical receptionists, nurses, sports physiotherapists, dental assistants, and dietitians to better respond to the particular needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians," Snowden said in a statement.
"Australian labour force surveys indicate that in 2008 there were only 153 Indigenous medical professionals and 1598 registered and enrolled nurses - that's only 0.2 and 0.6 per cent respectively of our entire health workforce and it's not good enough.
"This campaign will target Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander secondary school students to encourage them to pursue a job in the health sector and make them more aware of the opportunities in health, including the range of jobs, training options, career pathways and financial and other types of support available," he said.
A school career advisor kit, including posters, brochures and a DVD will be sent to around 1300 schools with a significant number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander secondary students.
"We want Aboriginal and Torres Islander kids to know they can get a job in health. Not everyone can, or wants to, be a doctor - we need people working at every level - and in all areas across the nation," Snowdon said.
To work in indigenous health, you have to be passionate about it, you have to be patient at times, and you have to be caring, Cahill says in her advertisement.
"We need more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health professionals because we're the ones who know the community and we know how our community works, and we know the issues that everyone faces out there," she says.
As well as Cahill four other 'health heroes' from across Australia have been chosen as role models to headline the campaign, including a trainee physiotherapist, dental assistant, doctor and paramedic trainee.
Go to www.healthheroes.health.gov.auDo you have an idea for a story?
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