Come yarn with me: New Fellowship a win for Aboriginal healthcare

31/05/2022 | 3 mins

A patient-centred approach to healthcare that marries Aboriginal cultural communication preferences with biomedical understandings of health and disease has received a boost after being awarded an Implementation Science Fellowship and a share of $2.3 million in funding.

Senior Lecturer Dr Ivan Lin from the WA Centre for Rural Health at The University of Western Australia  was the recipient of one of four fellowships, funded through the McGowan Government's Future Health Research and Innovation Fund, for the Clinical Yarning research program.

"We hope that health care practitioners who are trained in Clinical Yarning embrace it and find that it improves their practice and their enjoyment of working in the field."

Dr Ivan Lin

The fellowships will be conducted in partnership with WA Country Health Service (WACHS) and are designed to explore different ways of delivering quality healthcare.

“Clinical Yarning is a framework for health care clinicians, such as nurses, doctors and allied health professionals, and is focussed on building a trusting and more friendly relationship between patients and clinicians,” Dr Lin said.

“It’s designed to address long identified issues reported by Aboriginal people when accessing health services, by improving health providers communication with these communities.

“This new grant gives us the opportunity through partnership with WACHS to look at what it will take to implement the program in the Midwest region and the effect that will have on the quality of health care.  

“We hope that health care practitioners who are trained in Clinical Yarning embrace it and find that it improves their practice and their enjoyment of working in the field.” 

Dr Lin said many collaborators have been involved in developing the framework  including Professor Dawn Bessarab, Research Associate Charmaine Green and Research Assistant Wanda Flanagan from UWA, and Professor Peter O’Sullivan and Dr Jonathan Bullen from Curtin University. 

“We’ve also been fortunate enough to work with partners from the Queensland Institute of Medical Research and Queensland Health and the WA Primary Health Alliance,” he said. “Partnering with WACHS in this grant will take this innovative framework out to regional and rural WA, starting in the Midwest region, where we can really see what can be achieved.” 

Ivan and Rani

Image: Dr Ivan Lin and Ms Rani Randall.

WACHS Regional Aboriginal Health Consultant Rani Randall, who will lead the project for WACHS in the Midwest region, described it as “a culturally appropriate, patient friendly project”.

“It aligns directly with our priority health areas for Aboriginal communities and also works to build cultural competency of our non-Aboriginal workforce – both cornerstones of our long-term vision to improve health outcomes in Aboriginal people,” Ms Randall said.

“It also addresses the WACHS Cultural Governance Framework and WA Department of Health Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing Framework in building the cultural competency of the non-Aboriginal workforce. 

Read about more about Clinical Yarning here.


Media references

Liz McGrath, UWA Media Advisor, 0433 795 509

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