Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander oral health inequalities in focus

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander oral health inequalities in focus

25 November 2019
Dental instruments on white background

The Australian Dental Council (ADC) welcomes the latest Australian Medical Association (AMA) report card on Indigenous health.

Entitled, No More Decay: addressing the oral health needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, the report card outlines five action areas for governments to improve the oral health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People in Australia; fluoridated water supplies, oral health promotion, an effective dental workforce, better coordination and reduced institutional racism, and data. 

The ADC, is committed to leveraging its role to address the health inequalities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. The two areas from the report we are looking to address in our own work are the provision of an effective dental workforce and improved coordination and reduced institutional racism. 

In June 2019 the ADC, along with the Dental Council (New Zealand) (DC(NZ)) commenced work to review the ADC/DC(NZ) accreditation standards for dental practitioner programs (the Standards).

The ADC and DC(NZ) have identified a selection of key focus areas as part of this review. The most notable of these is the strengthening of the Standards to ensure programs produce graduates who are culturally safe to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. Consultation on the proposed changes to the Standards is scheduled to take place in early-2020. You can read more about this work here.

In addition to the review of the Standards, the ADC continues to work with other accreditation authorities to investigate how the sector can use its position to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. 

In October 2019, the ADC, in conjunction with the Health Practitioners Accreditation Collaborative Forum, released the final report of The role of accreditation in improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health outcomes project (the Project). The Project aimed to understand the role accreditation plays in improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health outcomes and establish a baseline dataset across accredited health practitioner programs in the National Regulation and Accreditation Scheme (the Scheme).

The Project found the majority of education providers agreed that the accreditation standard for their discipline requires education providers to assure the cultural safety of graduates. Furthermore, the majority of respondents considered accreditation to have some influence on curriculum design in the area of cultural safety.

The final report can be viewed here.

For the ADC, the findings from the Project will inform our work, including strengthening cultural safety within the Accreditation Standards and professional competencies.

The ADC aims to use its position to strive towards better health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and are committed to keeping you up to date on our work in this space. The ADC CEO, Narelle Mills, is actively participating as a member of the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Strategy Group for the Scheme.

No More Decay: addressing the oral health needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians is available to download here.

 

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