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Closing the Gap in Aboriginal health disparities: is there a place for Elders in the neoliberal agenda?

Cox, T ORCID: 0000-0002-8430-8322, Hoang, H ORCID: 0000-0001-5116-9947, Mond, J ORCID: 0000-0002-0410-091X and Cross, M ORCID: 0000-0001-5526-4650 2021 , 'Closing the Gap in Aboriginal health disparities: is there a place for Elders in the neoliberal agenda?' , Australian Health Review , A-E , doi: 10.1071/AH21098.

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Abstract

Objective: In light of concerns surrounding neoliberal government approaches to addressing Aboriginal disadvantage, this project examined how Elders consider the Closing the Gap programs for improving community health outcomes.Methods: A participatory action research project was undertaken in collaboration with eight Elders from a remoteAboriginal community in Australia’s island state of Tasmania. The findings emerged from thematic analysis of individualinterviews and yarning circles.Results: The Closing the Gap programs were seen by Elders as having instrumental value for addressing Aboriginalcommunity disadvantage. However, the programs also represented a source of ongoing dependency that threatened toundermine the community’s autonomy, self-determination and cultural foundations. The findings emerged to representElders attempting to reconcile this tension by embedding the programs with cultural values or promoting culture separatelyfrom the programs. Ultimately, the Elders saw culture as the core business of community well-being and effective programdelivery.Conclusion: The findings are reflective of tensions that arise when neoliberal policies are imposed on Aboriginalways of knowing, being and doing. The Elders premised cultural well-being as the key determinant of Aboriginalcommunity health.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Cox, T and Hoang, H and Mond, J and Cross, M
Keywords: Aboriginal Elders, community health, cultural well-being, participatory action research
Journal or Publication Title: Australian Health Review
Publisher: The Association
ISSN: 0156-5788
DOI / ID Number: 10.1071/AH21098
Copyright Information:

Journal compilation Copyright AHHA 2021

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