28 May 2021

Cultural Care Packs announced during National Reconciliation Week 2021


For Northern Territory General Practice Education (NTGPE) Project Liaison Officer Lavina Murray, National Reconciliation Week 2021 means more than just words. It’s about taking action.

Lavina, whose clan group is Warlmanpa/Wambaya through her mother, is helping future GPs with their cultural training with the development of a new NTGPE Cultural Care Pack.

The Cultural Care Pack specifically aims to provide additional support and assistance to new and junior GP Registrars about to undertake their Indigenous Health Training (IHT) placements across the NT.

Lavina said the innovative idea for the Cultural Care Pack came about after she conducted Cultural Teaching Visits in the Central Australian region.

“During my visits, I identified a real need to provide extra support to registrars at their GP training orientation – especially those from interstate or overseas – to allow them to better understand Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture,” she said.

“A lot of the doctors coming to the Territory for the first time haven’t had a lot of involvement working with Aboriginal people, and it can be a culture shock for some.

“The Culture Care Pack is designed to help alleviate any concerns they may have and support them where we can, helping their transition into Indigenous health training to be as smooth as possible.”

The Cultural Care Pack, which is expected to be launched this year, will include:

  • CARPA Manual 7th Edition – developed by the Central Australian Rural Practitioners Association (CARPA) in response to a critical need to support remote clinicians
  • Children’s activity pack – the inclusion of a children’s activity pack would be highly useful to entertain children while parents/carers are seeking medical assistance
  • Maps –
    • Aboriginal Language groups across the NT
    • Regional Maps – Northern, Central and Southern regions of the NT
    • NT Town map – for location of town camps
  • Otoscopes – to connect to smartphones, a great tool for educating patients around the importance of good hearing and healthy ears (e.g. hearing at school)
  • Promotion of CommDoc – a language tool developed for GP Registrars and other health professionals working in communities across the NT, to culturally enhance interactions with Aboriginal patients.
  • Promotion of NTGPE Cultural Education Team – business cards included in the pack.

Lavina said the idea for the Cultural Care Pack was driven by feedback provided to her by NTGPE GP registrars, supervisors and medical educators.

“For example, the children’s activity pack was a recommendation I made to one of the junior GPs after a consultation she had with a mother and two young children,” Lavina said.

“The registrar was not confident enough to take charge of the situation, so I suggested that she purchase colouring pencils and paper.

“With the maps, many GPs have mentioned to me that it would be useful if they knew where their patients came from, and the difficulty of getting to medical attention due to geographical locations.”

Lavina, a former criminal justice worker for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the NT, says that National Reconciliation Week has a significant meaning for her, both professionally and personally.

“For me, National Reconciliation Week is all about unity, and working towards equity in health and education,” she said.

“I want to make a difference on the ground.”