Overcoming barriers for young people accessing health services
Orange Aboriginal Medical Service and the School of Rural Health, Orange
explore why and how young Aboriginal people access health services
A new youth health and wellbeing strategy will be developed in Orange as a result of the Youth Access Project led by the School of Rural Health (SRH), the University of Sydney’s rural clinical school in Orange and the Orange Aboriginal Medical Service (OAMS), in partnership with the Western NSW Health Research Network which includes the University of Newcastle’s Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health, and Western Sydney University.
The Youth Access Project initial findings recently were released to the OAMS Board and will be presented at the 2018 Western NSW Health Research Network Conference in mid-August.
“The questions we have been asking are ‘What are the health and social wellbeing successes and challenges for Aboriginal young people of Orange? And how can we make it easier for young people to access primary healthcare services?’” said Public Health Trainee Alvin Lee who has been at SRH and OAMS since February 2018 working on the OAMS Youth Access Project as part of the NSW Public Health Training Program.
“The Youth Access Project research is an important piece of work as it helps inform OAMS and other services about strategies that need to be put in place, and will influence the development of a youth health and wellbeing strategy designed to ensure optimal health outcomes for the community.”
Jamie Newman, CEO, Orange Aboriginal Medical Service, said “This research is critical as we need to develop youth focused programs. We have Mums and Bubs as well as Chronic Care programs, but this report will allow us to apply for funding to develop a strategy and program around adolescent health needs and health prevention education – teaching good health and wellbeing messages”.
“We also hope to create a position for a Youth Health Engagement Coordinator at OAMS to help plan and deliver health messages and overcome the barriers to accessing appropriate health services. We know we need to get in early to shape healthy behaviours of young people to ensure the best outcomes for later stages in life.”
“The Youth Access Project was undertaken in two parts” said Dr Georgie Luscombe, Senior Lecturer in Medical Statistics at the University of Sydney’s School of Rural Health. “The first looked at data from OAMS and local NSW Health hospital data to gain a picture of the patterns of health service utilisation and health issues in the area. We then interviewed OAMS staff to learn more about the barriers and enablers and understand what they see as the health issues and solutions for young people. The next step is to go and ask young people.”
“What is exciting is that we can identify and develop tangible outcomes as a direct result of the Youth Access Project including a youth health and wellbeing strategy through OAMS, which will encourage youth engagement with the service and make a big difference in the community.”
The Western NSW Health Research Conference will be held over two days and two venues in Orange. On Thursday 16th August the Colloquium session will be held at the University of Sydney’s School of Rural Health and on Friday 17th August the Symposium session will be held at Charles Sturt University.
The School of Rural Health works in collaboration with a range of organisations to improve the health of rural communities. SRH has been a proud member of the Dubbo and Orange communities for over 15 years.