This presentation will showcase a range of smoking cessation initiatives implemented across the Mid North Coast Local Health District (MNCLHD) since 2013 which aim to reduce smoking rates amongst pregnant Aboriginal women, or women having an Aboriginal baby. One Aboriginal woman’s story, as a new MNCLHD Aboriginal Health Education Officer, will be mapped against these smoking cessation initiatives, to tell her story of how capacity can be built to sustain the next generation. This is Simone Smith’s story.
As part of the MNCLHD’s Tobacco Cessation Strategy, including the Ministry of Health funded program, Quit for New Life (QFNL), Health Promotion is implementing initiatives such as the capacity building of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal heath workers who deliver smoking cessation care to pregnant Aboriginal women and women having an Aboriginal baby, and the development of a smoking cessation maternity care plan.
These initiatives will be presented in the context of Simone Smith’s journey into the health workforce as a young, intelligent and inspiring Aboriginal Health Education Officer (AHEO), working with MNCLHD. Simone was employed by Health Promotion on a short term contract initially to assist with the implementation of QFNL, and as such was provided with opportunities to attend smoking cessation courses to build confidence and knowledge in delivering smoking cessation care to pregnant Aboriginal women. From there, Simone became a train the trainer for a NSW Kids and Families developed course, ‘Yarning about Quitting’ and facilitated a workshop for key Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal staff who provide smoking cessation support to pregnant Aboriginal women and women having Aboriginal babies. Simone is now a permanently employed AHEO with MNCLHD Drug and Alcohol and continues to provide smoking cessation care to pregnant women.
Simone’s story is an example of what can result from providing opportunities for staff to build capacity, learn for the future and to sustain future generations. Her story supports the need for decision makers to invest in capacity building opportunities in the area of health promotion and smoking cessation that reduces smoking rates, improves health outcomes, and upskills workers along the way.