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#IHMayDay15 Longread: Trending by breakfast, talking Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, healing, justice, media & MORE

#IHMayDay15 took over Twitter on May 29 with a day of action and listening on the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

It ran for more than 15 hours, was trending in Queensland by 8am and nationally through the day, featured 15 moderators and generated nearly 50 million Twitter impressions by 10pm.

The scope of the day was simple, as this Croakey preview outlined:

 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are encouraged to share their views and knowledge about some of the wide-ranging issues affecting health, and non-Indigenous people are encouraged to participate by retweeting and listening.

#IHMayDay15 was lead-moderated by James Cook University Nursing, Midwifery and Research academic Dr Lynore Geia@LynoreGeia – a Bwgcolman woman woman from Palm Island; and by Summer May Finlay@OnTopicAus – a Yorta Yorta woman, a public health practitioner and PhD candidate based in Canberra (more details are here).

It was given great support not only from the session moderators (see full program and bio details) but by Matthew Cooke from NACCHO who was in the chair at @IndigenousX and Pele Bennet (@Pele_78), a Waggadaggam woman of the Torres Strait Islands, director of Queensland’s oldest community-controlled health organisation (ATSICHS) tweeting at @WePublicHealth.

We promised to mention in this Croakey wrap any politicians who engaged: was great to see interest from WA Federal Labor MP Melissa Parke, SA Greens Senator Penny Wright, Federal Shadow Health Minister Catherine King, NSW Federal Labor MP Stephen Jones, WA Senator Sue Lines, and Queensland Ministers Cameron Dick (Health) and Leeanne Enoch (who delivered the 2015 Mabo Lecture on the day – see more below)

Support came from near and far:

Unlike the inaugural #IHMayDay14, the conversation wasn’t interrupted by the disturbing recommendations of the Federal Government’s Commission of Audit. But through the day changes were announced to the Tackling Indigenous Smoking and there was growing concern about the fate of the Custody Notification Service in New South Wales. Later that night tweeps’ timelines filled with anger and anxiety over the reaction to AFL star Adam Goode’s ‘war cry’ dance.

If you want to catch up on #IHMayDay15 at length, you can read the full transcript or see below for selected highlights from each session (Text versions of tweets are indented; some have been slightly edited to aid understanding) and some of the responses. It’s a long read but hope you find it as compelling as so many of us did on the day. Wish it could include all the conversations.

You can watch a video interview too recorded by @croakeyblog’s Melissa Sweet of Dr Lynore Geia’s reflections a week later (after they had both restored muscle strength to necks and shoulders after 15 hours in the JCU #IHMayDay15 ‘control room’.

***

#IHMAYDAY15 SESSION SUMMARIES

Dr Lynore Geia: Introduction and reflection: looking backwards, looking forwards…

Lynore launched the day at 7am by paying her deep respect and acknowledgment to the traditional owners, the Bindal and Walgurukaba people, on whose land she works from James Cook University in Townsville. She talked about how #IHMayDay had come about, what health means for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, of the need for health workers to listen, and particular issues facing young and older Indigenous people.

From little tweets out in the sphere, #IHMayDay15 grew. It’s so important to keep our voices strong in things that matter to us and health is one. Health is such a complex issue but from our eyes it’s not so complicated. Respect for who we are and genuine care opens a door.

Health is about what matters to us as well as what western medicine identifies as well. Health is our land, family & community. Health is physical and psychosocial and cultural is the whole person – not the body parts.

At times our health issues don’t meet the priorities of the biomedical model – it requires bit of listening & finding out more. An important message for health students out there: listening is respect, listen to the story and ask questions to help you understand. Sometimes what we are worrying for does not match what you are worrying for when an Indigenous person is sitting in front of you. We need to continue the conversations together – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people – about how we do health together.

Health is also working with our youth in our communities, much needed, they have a tougher road than my generation had. One big issue we are working with youth on is validating their voice in the community – building youth councils with them.

Having talked on the importance of our youth, our eldership is so important too – to be there to walk alongside and guide. (Through to) other end of life health issues, we are experiencing more need for dementia care for our mob as well.

Ali Drummond: Nursing’s contribution to Indigenous health.

Ali is a Lecturer at the School of Nursing, Queensland University of Technology. He shared some of his story and contemporary Torres Strait Islander health issues, particularly about the role of family in health, diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the launch of a new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Researchers Alliance. He also shared this wallet card guide that supports QUT staff.

He introduced himself, explaining his mob are the Wuthathi & Yadaigana (Cape York) & the Dauareb le (Torres Strait Islands): “A mix, like many in north QLD.” He is named for his grandfather, whose stories were captured in Life B’long Ali Drummond: A life in the Torres Straits. “I carry that name, so have to live up to it!”

 Miss my family! Critical to my social and emotional wellbeing. You feel isolated and vulnerable living far away from them. Likewise, family needs you to fulfil your role, in order for the family to be strong. When discussing patient-centred care, contemporary health workers may need to consider family-centred care.

He talked about the significance of native title, and paid tribute to elders and leaders for their continuous campaigning that finally has delivered Wuthathi native title recognition in north-east Cape York:.

Was the result of partnership: traditional owners + other environmental groups. #Reconciliation is a long game http://sustainable.unimelb.edu.au/native-title-win.

Country (land, fresh/salt water, plants, animals and sky) critical to wellbeing. Native title is a step towards wellbeing.

Ali also talked about how Torres Strait Islanders are a minority in the Indigenous population: made up by  18 island communities, and 5 traditional island clusters, they are facing some new challenges.

While some issues are similar to Aboriginal people, not the same experience. Often just grouped together though.

New challenges emerge for Torres Strait Islands. Rising seas threaten Island communities. Obvious ripple effect on wellbeing. Significant public health concerns at the border in the last few years: TB, cholera and vector-borne diseases. As a Torres Strait Islander healthworker I cared for many Papua New Guinea nationals in the Torres Strait Islands. Many families on either side of the border.

Cost of living on Torres Strait Islands is expensive. Even worse in outer islands. How does one afford a healthy/balanced diet? Not all deficits in the Torres Strait Islands. Strength: family, community, culture, land & sea. Stuff of strong foundations.

Ali has been working w