Faculty of Health

Tasmanian Aboriginal community the focus of latest dementia education funding

The Circular Head Aboriginal community will receive support to improve its dementia knowledge through the University of Tasmania’s Bachelor of Dementia Care, thanks to a recent grant of close to $835,000.

The funding will enable 10 members of the Circular Head Aboriginal community to study in the Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre’s online Dementia Care Program and complete a TAFE Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing, Home and Community) in their own community.

Most importantly, students will gain the knowledge to support their community in the area of dementia care and education.

The Department of Health, Dementia and Aged Care Services grant was secured by the University’s Wicking Centre (Dr Lyn Goldberg & Andrea Price) and Centre for Rural Health (Drs Terry Cox, Ha Hoang & Merylin Cross) in partnership with Dianne Baldock, the Chief Executive Officer of the Circular Head Aboriginal Corporation (CHAC).

Wicking Centre Senior Lecturer Dr Lyn Goldberg said the project was developed in partnership with CHAC to begin to address concerns expressed by the Circular Head Aboriginal community about the need for greater dementia education amongst its members.

“The Wicking Centre and the Centre for Rural Health are just so proud to be working with this Tasmanian Aboriginal Community in the area of dementia education,”   Dr Goldberg said.

“And the Circular Head Aboriginal Community has been so incredibly welcoming.”

The two-year project, which also has the potential  to improve pathways into higher education for community members,  follows a just-concluded University of Tasmania study by Drs Goldberg, Cox, and Hoang, working with and  guided by CHAC, to gauge the level of dementia knowledge in the Circular Head Aboriginal community.

Circular Head Aboriginal Corporation CEO Di Baldock said she hoped the project would also be the next step in further healthcare developments in the community and provide a model for use in other communities.

“We see this project as an important step in developing an Aboriginal Community Health worker program in Circular Head, that hopefully will be available state-wide - as Aboriginal people in Tasmania don’t currently have access to such a program” she said.

“In the past Aboriginal people wanting to train up as Aboriginal Health Workers have had to travel to Victoria to access the training, which then becomes a burden financially and difficult for travel.

“We hope the project will also provide a model for collaborative work with other Australian Aboriginal communities.”

As part of the funding each student will receive a stipend of $25,000 a year, for two years, to support living expenses and purchase a laptop.

Students will begin their studies in Semester 1, 2018.

Image caption from left: Dr Lyn Goldberg, Di Baldock and Dr Terry Cox (absent: Drs Andrea Price, Ha Hoang and Merilyn Cross)