Oral Presentation Lowitja Institute International Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Conference 2016

Sectoral system capacity development in health promotion: Evaluation of an Aboriginal nutrition program (#108)

Bill Genat 1 , Jennifer Browne 2 , Sharon Thorpe 3
  1. Melbourne School of Population Health, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
  2. Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
  3. Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia

This paper describes the evaluation of a health promotion capacity building program undertaken by the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO), built around the statewide Aboriginal community based and led Victorian Aboriginal Nutrition and Physical Activity Strategy (VANPAS). The evaluation studied the activities of the VACCHO nutrition team in facilitating uptake of the VANPAS across five domains of health promotion capacity development: workforce, resources, organisations, partnerships and leadership. Data were sourced from archival program documents and 62 semi-structured interviews with the team and participant stakeholders. The evaluation revealed how the VACCHO nutrition team garnered a wide-range of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal professional, organisational and community participants with a diverse range of capabilities in the uptake and implementation of the VANPAS. Use of the VANPAS to cohere organisational input—and an ongoing dialogue built upon action-reflection— progressively strengthened nutrition capacity across the five domains investigated. Aboriginal leadership of a credible, published, high-profile Aboriginal community based and evidence-based statewide program strategy, together with a commitment to dialogue through action-reflection, provided a solid foundation for both Aboriginal community and key stakeholder engagement. Together, these factors enabled the capacity development of a coherent sectoral system with the necessary capacity to enhance the nutrition of Aboriginal Victorians. In an historical context of mistrust and unmet expectations, Aboriginal community based leadership in combination with methods and processes that provide confidence to both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal health organisations and professionals are fundamental to effective Aboriginal health policies and programs.