Research, advocacy and policy development
One of AMSANT’s key roles is to advocate strongly to governments, their agencies and key stakeholders (including the general public) for improved programs and resources for comprehensive Aboriginal primary health care, to help ‘close the gap’ on Aboriginal disadvantage.
The shortfalls in Aboriginal access to specialist services—mental health, ear and eye health, dental, maternal and children’s programs, alcohol and other drugs etc—are well documented but still largely unaddressed by government initiatives and funding programs.
Similarly, the ‘social determinants of health’, such as housing, nutrition, education, training, jobs, social inclusion etc—that determine a person’s ability to have control over their life circumstances and to be healthy—are often poorly addressed and funded. AMSANT seeks to advocate on these issues and, where appropriate, seek the integration of ‘social determinants’ services into the Aboriginal comprehensive health care model in the NT.
AMSANT argues strongly for such essential services in regular meetings with bureaucrats from the Commonwealth’s Department of Health (DoH) and Department of The Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C), and NT Department of Health (DoH) and NT Department of Children and Families (DCaF), and with Commonwealth and Territory MPs and Ministers.
AMSANT regularly produces policy documents and submissions and carries out independent research on key issues affecting Aboriginal health and wellbeing (see Resources).
A key partnership in our research, advocacy and policy development is through our membership of the Aboriginal Peak Organisations Northern Territory (APONT), which is made up of the Central Land Council, the Northern Land Council, the Central Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service (CAALAS), the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA) and AMSANT.
AMSANT is regularly featured in the media talking up strong on behalf of its members (and on behalf of the tens of thousands of clients they care for) about wide-ranging topics and current health issues (see Resources).
Many allied groups are impressed by AMSANT’s intellectual rigour and our promotion of Aboriginal comprehensive primary health care. Key partners such as the Lowitja Institute, Menzies School of Health, Baker IDI, Flinders University, Oxfam Australia, Fred Hollows Foundation and ANTaR often collaborate with us on research, policy and advocacy issues.
AMSANT is also a member of the Central Australia Academic Health Science Centre.
AMSANT and our member services also have a strong interest in research that is being planned and done in Aboriginal Primary Health settings in the Northern Territory. We have developed an Aboriginal Health Research Policy and health research pro-formas to assist researchers seeking AMSANT input or support for their projects.
If you are at the stage of looking for partnership, letters of support for ethics or funding and have a more developed proposal then please use the AMSANT Health Research Proposals Pro-forma.
AMSANT also encourages researchers looking for early engagement and input from AMSANT and/or our member services, to make contact as early as possible. We are keen to have input even at conceptual stages – so please use our Early Research Concept Pro-forma.