Tackling Smoking and Healthy Lifestyle’ Workforce Program

In 2010, Minister for Indigenous Health, Warren Snowdon, launched a new workforce to help reduce smoking and help improve nutrition and physical activity in Indigenous communities across the country. The new workforce has been rolled out in NSW, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, the Northern Territory and the ACT. The Tackling Smoking and Healthy Lifestyle Workforce will grow as it’s rolled out nationally over three years, increasing from 82 positions in 20 regions to 340 positions in 57 regions.

The workforce is part of a $100.6 million Australian Government commitment over four years to Tackling Smoking through a National Partnership Agreement on Closing the Gap in Indigenous Health Outcomes. The new Tackling Smoking Workforce has been created to put hundreds of health workers in areas where they are most needed – as a major step forward in tackling Indigenous smoking. It is led and mentored by the National Co-ordinator Dr. Tom Calma, and operate in regional teams, which feature a tobacco coordinator and  two tobacco action workers, and two healthy lifestyle workers.

The regional teams will be to raise awareness about the health impacts of tobacco smoking and chronic disease in Indigenous communities. They will actively promote positive lifestyle changes and it will help people to get timely access to health services. Wherever they are, the teams will facilitate culturally appropriate community education, health promotions, and social marketing activities to promote quitting. They’ll also encourage smoke-free environments and provide people with information about healthier lifestyles. In addition, each region will receive $100,000 a year to develop localized campaign activities and health promotion events for their local area.

The initiative is being funded through the Australian Government’s Indigenous Chronic Disease Package. It is an important part of the Government’s commitment to Closing the Gap in Indigenous Health Outcomes.

The Anyinginyi teams were appointed in April this year. The Tackling Smoking Team consists of two Tobacco Action Workers, Dion Williams and Karla Pinkerton and a Regional Tobacco Coordinator, Clare Anderson who are based within the Public Health Unit.

The Healthy Lifestyle Workers are Kym Bracken and Tanya Jones who are supervised by Adam Drake from Sport & Recreation quitting.

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