Poster Presentation Australian Diabetes Society and the Australian Diabetes Educators Association Annual Scientific Meeting 2016

The Aboriginal Health Practitioner Diabetes Mentoring Pilot Study (#292)

Coralie E Cross 1 , Elleni Thorbjornsen 1 , Leanne Kuchel 1
  1. Healthy Living NT, Fannie Bay, NORTHERN TERRITORY, Australia

The high level of chronic disease present in remote Indigenous populations is indisputable. The successful delivery of health messages to these communities can not be achieved through a siloed approach and a culturally sensitive client centred approach is paramount.


The Aboriginal Health Practitioner (AHP) works as part of a multi-disciplinary primary health care team. A large proportion of AHPs are employed in very remote clinics, where there is limited access to health care professionals (HCP) such as doctors and Credentialled Diabetes Educators (CDEs).  The unique role and respect for AHPs in their community enables provision of effective delivery of key health messages. (AIHW, 2015)


The AHP Mentoring Pilot Study dually aims to upskill AHPs based in remote clinics and strengthen cultural competence of CDEs. The objective of this partnership is for the AHP and CDE from Healthy Living NT (HLNT) to build a strong relationship where knowledge is shared.


The project aims are twofold:

  • Improving health outcomes by changing existing communication frameworks from didactic to a collaborative mentoring
  • To achieve a more culturally receptive model of delivering health information to remote Indigenous clients in the Northern Territory (NT)

In January 2016 HLNT engaged with two AHPs with an existing service relationship from two remote communities to form a mentoring partnership between CDEs and AHPs for a six month period. The CDE’s live in the community for two periods of one week duration buddying with the AHP at work. Contact continues via email and phone outside these times.

The pilot project has adopted a ‘participatory coaching partnership’, which will also form the basis of project evaluation. Evaluation data includes recorded storytelling; reflective journals and questionnaire responses form participating AHPs, CDEs and clinic managers. Initial analysis demonstrates that the project is on track to achieve its aims.