SMHS Aboriginal Health Strategy

The South Metropolitan Health Service is committed to improving health outcomes for Aboriginal people accessing our services. 

We deliver high-quality, culturally appropriate services to the 8,100 Aboriginal people living within our catchment area and to all Aboriginal people from across our state who access services at Fremantle, Fiona Stanley and Rockingham hospitals.

Our Aboriginal Health Strategy team is based at Fiona Stanley Hospital and works closely with the Aboriginal community, our Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal staff and other stakeholders to ensure we deliver high-quality and culturally appropriate services.

We achieve our goals by focussing on three key areas:

  • Community and consumer engagement – we aim to achieve better health outcomes by engaging with our Aboriginal community and consumers in the design and delivery of services to Aboriginal people.
  • Cultural security – we aim to incorporate the cultural rights, values, beliefs and expectations of Aboriginal people in the design and delivery of services to Aboriginal people.
  • Aboriginal workforce – we work closely with our Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal staff, and external training providers to improve the recruitment and retention of Aboriginal people into our workforce.

Email us for enquiries regarding our Aboriginal initiatives and programs.

Championing Aboriginal Health

A man and two women stand together. One women wears a scarf featuring Aboriginal artwork. The other man and woman wear a small badge on their lapels.

In a first for a WA health service provider, SMHS launched the Aboriginal Health Champions (AHC) program in July 2018 to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal patients.

Developed by Aboriginal consumers and passionate SMHS staff across multiple disciplines, the program focuses on increasing the cultural competency of non-Aboriginal staff.

The AHCs walk side-by-side with the Aboriginal workforce to identify and implement culturally safe practices for Aboriginal consumers, their families/carers and support people, making ‘Aboriginal health everybody’s business’.

Feedback from the Aboriginal community indicates an appreciation that staff are being given the opportunity to interact with consumers to learn about the issues impacting on their health care experience. Aboriginal consumers felt ‘they are being heard’, which is helping build positive relationship with staff and increasing their own levels of empowerment.

In its first year 98 SMHS staff from across all disciplines – medical, nursing, allied health, executive and administration – have been nominated, trained and inducted into the program. These champions receive ongoing education, training and peer support from the SMHS Aboriginal Health Strategy team and Aboriginal community members.