Our Latest ISISTAQUIT Newsletter Highlights Our Continued Community Engagement


iSISTAQUIT News – November 2023

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Issue November 2023
iSISTAQUIT acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work and live, and recognise their continuing connection to land, water and community. We also pay respects to Elders past, present and emerging.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that newsletters may contain images or names of deceased persons in photographs, films, recordings or printed materials.
Contents of this edition:
  1. Uncle Micklo gifts name
  2. NACCHO Conference
  3. Scholarships
  4. Dr Marilyn Clarke at RANZCOG
  5. Rebecca Hyland wins Award
  6. Global Alliance for Chronic Disease
  7. WONCA
  8. APSAD
  9. Southern Cross University Healthies Awards Dinner

1. Uncle Micklo gifts Aboriginal Name – Ngurrajili 

We are very privileged to have received an Aboriginal name, Ngurrajili , for this growth phase of our project, in which we will be broadening our reach Australia-wide. This name in Gumbaynggirr language means increase, share and continual giving. It exemplifies the spirit of iSISTAQUIT to share knowledge and practical support with health services, health professionals and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, so that one day we will achieve a collective vision of all babies being born smoke-free and having a good start in life.

Uncle Micklo, who gifted the naming, said he visions iSISTAQUIT Ngurrajili as ceremony, in dance, a celebration of giving, sharing and creation. Uncle Micklo is a qualified Early Childhood teacher with a Masters in Indigenous Languages Education. He teaches Gumbaynggirr Language in the community. Since 2014 Uncle Micklo is Head Aboriginal Language and Culture Trainer for the The Gumbaynggirr Language and Culture Nest, managed by the NSW Department of Education, and is currently Senior Education Officer for Aboriginal Languages.

2. Alison Hart and Dr Moana Tane attend NACCHO Members Conference

Alison Hart is a proud Gumbaynggirr woman, a mother of her son, and descendant of the local Coffs Harbour area. Alison is Research Assistant with iSISTAQUIT. She has more than 25 years’ experience in consulting and engaging with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, services and communities. Alison is passionate about culture and creating safe culturally inclusive environments and systems for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Hon Mark Butler is Minister for Health and Aged Care and Deputy of the House (House of Representatives). 
Dr Moana Tane is an Indigenous Maori woman (Ngati Korokoro, Ngati Wharara, Ngati Hine and Te Roroa) from Aotearoa New Zealand, and is Senior Research Fellow on the Birthing on Country research project, Faculty of Health, Southern Cross University. 

Allison Hart and Dr Moana Tane attended the 2023 National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) Members Conference, Hyatt Regency Hotel, Perth WA conference, to promote the iSISTAQUIT project, and to seek interested parties in WA, for ACCHO services to either host an iSISTAQUIT (iSQ) scale up site, or for individual leaders to join a new iSQ Advisory Group for WA.

A highlight of the conference was the interest shown by attendees in the iSQ resources and project, with many people having photos taken at the iSQ booth and very quick dispersal of all of our merchandise and information! Another highlight was meeting the Minister for Health, Hon. Mark Butler, who was a guest speaker, and who stayed at the karaoke competition later, at the conference dinner that evening.

3. Southern Cross University Scholarships for Birthing on Country / iSISTAQUIT

Applications are now open for Indigenous Honours scholarships and midwifery bursaries. First Nations midwifery students and graduates are being encouraged to apply for a range of Southern Cross University scholarships and bursaries totaling $60,000.
The scholarships and bursaries include:  The scholarships will support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Bachelor of Midwifery graduates to complete an Honours program through the Bachelor of Health and Human Sciences (Honours) at the Gold Coast or Coffs Harbour campus. Students will explore Birthing on Country or midwifery education and confidence in providing smoking cessation information for Indigenous women in rural and remote settings. 

The bursary will support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Bachelor of Midwifery students to attend clinical placement in an Aboriginal Health Service, additional to having travel and accommodation costs covered. 

The scholarship and bursary are funded by a $3.5 million Birthing on Country/iSISTAQUIT grant provided to Southern Cross University by the Department of Health and Aged Care with the aim to improve Indigenous midwifery services. 

Recipients will have the opportunity to be involved in Southern Cross University’s Birthing on Country project through iSISTAQUIT, a program supporting pregnant Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women who are wanting to quit smoking. 

Course Coordinator for the Bachelor of Midwifery at SCU, Lisa Charmer said there is high demand for Indigenous midwives. 

“There are significant barriers facing First Nations women and babies in Australia, from higher mortality rates to having to travel long distances to receive maternity care,” Ms Charmer said.

“Maternity services are needed within First Nations Communities. This is an issue Southern Cross University is aiming to address through the Birthing on Country project. I strongly encourage First Nations midwifery and Honours students to apply for the Birthing on Country Scholarship and Bursary.” 

Applications close on 1 February 2024. For eligibility criteria and to apply, visit scu.edu.au/scholarships.

Honours Scholarships: https://www.scu.edu.au/scholarships/indigenous-australian-student-scholarships/birthing-on-country-scholarship/

BMid Placement Bursaries: https://www.scu.edu.au/scholarships/indigenous-australian-student-scholarships/birthing-on-country-placement-bursary/

4. Dr Marilyn Clarke presents at RANZCOG Annual Scientific Meeting

Dr Marilyn Clarke attended the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) annual scientific meeting held on Whadjuk Noogar country (Perth) and presented on Birthing on Country in the First Nations Health session, and then participated in a panel discussion at the end of the session amongst other inspiring First Nations women. It is important to engage obstetricians in the conversation about culturally safe birthing and smoking cessation – they are key stakeholders in the maternity care of First Nations women.

5. Rebecca Hyland, 2023 Graduate Medalist – University of Sydney

Rebecca Hyland is Senior Project Manager for the iSISTAQUIT National Research Project, and is currently Co-Chair for the GACD Indigenous Populations Working Group. Rebecca is also about to embark on further studies in a Masters by Research. She graduated from the University of Sydney Graduate Diploma of Indigenous Health Promotion in 2022, and was recently awarded The Sister Alison Bush Medal for Contribution to Indigenous Community.

“I would like to think that I am a lifelong learner and I know I will always work with and continue learning and being guided from our people, communities and vast language groups, storytelling is a powerful vessel. My Culture keeps me strong – my connection to my homelands, and my people. It’s a calling you get when you know you need to go home ways or go out bush and connect in nature. It’s like our Ancestors calling – it could be for many different reasons, like telling you to rest or take a break, to hear an important message or to give strength. We must always take the time to stop and listen. “ ~ Rebecca Hyland

6. Attendance at Global Alliance for Chronic Disease (GACD)

Prof Gillian Gould and Dr’s Nicole Ryan and Moana Tane proudly presented at the Global Alliance for Chronic Disease (GACD) online satellite held during the evening of 1st November on the SISTAQUIT RCT and iSISTAQUIT Ngurrajili (Scale-Up) projects.

There were 45 global research projects across four breakout rooms presented. A representative from each project team was invited by the GACD to give a six-minute summary of their project progress from the previous 12 months, or an introduction to their project if they have started more recently.

We are fortunate and grateful to have two of our research projects supported by the GACD. As the SISTAQUIT RCT project is nearing completion an overview of the project frameworks and processes – what worked well and what not so well, impacts of measure and important factors for successful implementation were shared.

Complementary to the iSISTAQUIT Scale-Up – a relatively new project, key questions, important factors for design, anticipated challenges and processes to ensure an equitable and inclusive project were shared.  

7. Dr Marilyn Clarke and Dr Karen McFadyen attend WONCA Conference

Dr Marilyn Clarke and Dr Karen McFadyen attended the WONCA (World Organization of National Colleges, Academies and Academic Associations of General Practitioners/Family Physicians) Conference in Darling Harbour and presented on Sunday, October 29.

The presentation outlined the iSISTAQUIT training for health professionals and the support available for those completing the training. General Practitioners from several states – especially the Northern Territory – expressed interest in partnering with iSISTAQUIT. The presentation was a very positive experience with a very engaged audience.

8. APSAD Scientific Drug and Alcohol Conference 2023

The iSISTAQUIT team are preparing to attend the 2023 Conference in Adelaide on the 12th to 15th November. The team will be presenting at sessions on First Nations Australians Smoking Cessation. Look out for the team and say hello. Presenters include, Dr Gina La Hera Fuentes, Dr Tabassum Rahman, Dr Karen Mcfadyen, Allison Hart and Rebecca Hyland.

9. Southern Cross University Faculty of Health Staff Forum, and Healthies Awards Dinner

In late October 5 representatives from the Birthing on Country / iSISTAQUIT team attended the Southern Cross University Faculty of Health Staff Forum and Healthies Awards Dinner as well as other events for Teaching and Learning, Research and Professional Staff.

The event was attended by Gold Coast Campus staff Lisa Charmer, Kym Yuke and Shannon Everest as well as Karen McFadyen from Coffs Harbour and Nicole Ryan from Newcastle. 

10. Contact

For further information, please contact our team via email iSISTAQUIT@scu.edu.au or visit our website www.isistaquit.org.au.

If you do not want to receive these updates, please reply to iSISTAQUIT@scu.edu.au

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