Aboriginal Victorians experience poorer health and lower life expectancy than the general community, including significantly higher cancer incidence and mortality rates1.
The 2018 Victorian Aboriginal cancer cultural safety grant program aimed to support access to culturally safe and respectful health services in preparation for the launch of the nationally endorsed Optimal Care Pathway for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with cancer.
In May 2018, the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services Cancer unit piloted Aboriginal cultural safety grants of up to $25,000 for community engagement, workforce development and resources at 12 metropolitan and regional health services.
An expression of interest was undertaken, with requirements for a summary report upon completion. Local Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations or community leaders approved health service applications. The Department’s Aboriginal unit provided project advice and jointly evaluated project proposals.
Using self determination principles, many projects altered from the original project proposal and duration.
Ten projects are completed including;
Aboriginal artists and trades people have been employed and significant ‘in-kind’ resources have also been provided by the community.
Workforce shortages have delayed initiatives across two health services in regional Victoria.
Cultural safety grants garnered significant momentum and were successful in supporting cultural safety for Aboriginal people with cancer and their families.