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NBPU TIS: Update 18
19 August 2016

First Monthly Message from the National Coordinator, Tom Calma

Hi fellow smoke free advocates and health champions, this is my first Monthly Message (MM) and while this MM is a bit long, I plan that future Monthly Messages will be just a few short statements on key issues that impact on our work either directly or indirectly. They will be messages to celebrate achievements, to highlight challenges and to give direction, guidance and encouragement.  I will keep them short and I encourage you to come back to me for clarification or to challenge me if you feel you need to.  Happy reading and remember, readers are leaders.

  • Participation in the Tackling Indigenous Smoking (TIS) programme evaluation is important and necessary.  TIS regional grant recipients are required, as part of their Funding Agreements with the Department of Health to collaborate and work with Cultural & Indigenous Research Centre Australia (CIRCA), the TIS programme evaluator.  The evaluation of the TIS programme as a whole is vital to the future of the programme…it will inform the Minister…it will be used to garner support for the programme and show to those in Canberra what is happening on the ground, in communities, with organisations etc. It will also guide us on how the programme might be modified or reinforced in the future. 
  • Tackling smoking is everyone’s business #1.  It is not only TIS funded organisations who should be conducting smoking cessation.  It is the remit of all Aboriginal Medical Services(AMS)/Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHO) - Indigenous health organisations, as all are required to report on smoking indicators as part of the Key National Performance Indicators for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary health care (commonly referred to as the nKPIs).  In other words, it is the responsibility of all organisations involved in primary health care to be tackling smoking, providing smoking cessation support, and reporting on progress.  This may be a point TIS grant recipients should raise when identifying and suggesting partnerships with AMS/ACCHOs in your service region.
  • Tackling smoking is everyone’s business #2.  Tackling smoking is the business of everyone within an AMS, ACCHO, Indigenous organisation.  Smoking is still the leading contributory risk factor to the gap in health outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.  It is also the largest contributor to the burden of disease (living with illness and injury and dying prematurely).  The recently released Australian Burden of Disease Study by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare identified smoking as being the greatest risk factor contributing to the burden of disease for all Australians (9%), with smoking contributing to 36% of the respiratory burden and 22% of all cancer burden ( ).  Given the much higher rates of smoking amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, we can expect the burden to be much higher when the Indigenous statistics are released.  What this means is all staff from the Board and CEO down should be leading their communities and workplaces, families and social networks to be smoke free.
  • Smoke free workplace policies are not token gestures.  Smoke Free Policies need to be implemented and enforced in all grant recipient organisations and encouraged in all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and workplaces.  This is a key role that will go a long way to addressing smoking among our mob.
  • The importance of partnerships and collaboration with other organisations cannot be understated. All TIS grant recipients need to be reaching out to audiences and communities beyond their traditional client base.  You all nominated an area or region to work in when you secured TIS funding.  You need to try and reach as many people in your region as possible and this might take a couple of years but you need to be strategically planning these interactions.  This will require in many instances developing relationships with other organisations including those who have not received TIS funding.
  • Regional Workshops are the place to be.  The workshops have been a great success to date with interactive information sharing followed by stimulating discussions.  I encourage all recipients to participate in the regional workshops when your state or territory is hosting as they are a great opportunity to share your story and learn of the exciting and interesting work others are doing.

So that’s it for the first MM.  If you have any questions or want to yarn about the MM hop onto the portal and start a conversation.  Regards  TOM

Recent update

There has been a new resource added to the portal this week.

A new online learning module about lung cancer for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers from Cancer Australia. This has information around risk factors such as smoking/passive smoking. A Certificate is generated on completion of the module. The link to the module:

New App trial

NSW Health is funding The George Institute to trial the 'Can’t Even Quit' app. The trial will test the idea that a multi-faceted intervention using the Can’t Even Quit app, when combined with usual smoking cessation support services, will double smoking abstinence rates at 6 months.

This pilot study will be a randomised controlled trial involving approximately 200 Aboriginal smokers. Data will be collected at baseline, 4 weeks and 6 months by a project officer who is blinded to group allocation.

Plans for further testing, as well as the future availability and distribution of the app, are subject to the results of this trial.

For more information about the trial visit

New Staff at the National Best
Practice Unit (NBPU)

The NBPU Manager is very excited that new staff will be commencing soon with the Unit.  There will be three Project Officers in the Unit that will have caseloads of 2 or 3 States/Territories each.  This should mean Grant Recipients will have more personalised contact from the Unit plus there’ll be closer monitoring of planned activities as per Action Plans. 

It is most likely in our next Newsletter; we will be introducing the new staff to you.

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