Aboriginal Allied Health Assistants

This section provides information about the Aboriginal Allied Health Assistant program in the WA Country Health Service.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in rural and remote Western Australian communities have long been denied access to a range of allied health services due to issues such as sub-optimal models of service delivery; differing cultural values and beliefs; access impeded by limited transport and timely communication, and high turnover of staff (Beattie, 2006).

Building onto the success of the Western Australian Allied Health Assistant model, this project recognises an opportunity to implement a culturally appropriate therapy support model that has the potential to be delivered according to a set of key principles embedded in the elements of cultural respect. The important 'differences' to the existing model identified to enhance cultural safety included developing a framework that:

  • Recognises the importance of local community engagement
  • Ensures the recognition of community brokerage and 'two way learning' between the Allied Health Professional and the Allied Health Assistant
  • Builds appropriate education and skill development tools that target Indigenous therapy provision and cultural awareness
  • Establishes a community responsive and coordinated application of culturally respectful allied health therapy services.

The WA Country Health Service in partnership with the Office of Aboriginal Health, Disability Services Commission and the Combined Universities Centre for Rural Health have undertaken a range of initiatives and projects to develop an Aboriginal Allied Health Assistant (AAHA) service model with the aim of improving the delivery of allied health and therapy services to Aboriginal people living in rural and remote communities.

Project Reports

Resources and Tools

See Allied Health Assistants page for further resources.