The Children as Health Ambassadors study

TeEACH researchers have partnered with the Malpa Foundation in a project that seeks to address health inequities for children in Aboriginal communities. A program called the ‘Young Doctors for Life’ program has been developed for primary school-aged children. This program is run by Malpa in partnership with local Indigenous leaders, and mentors children in becoming health ambassadors within their own communities, which means providing them with information and supporting them to play a role in promoting healthy practices (e.g. good nutrition, hygiene, visiting medical services) in their own communities. The program gives focus to building the knowledge and leadership skills of their ‘young doctors’ (providing beneficial experiences). Children are seen as active agents of positive change not only on an individual level, but at a whole of community level. Outcomes from the project will be available in 2021.

MALPAImage:  Courtesy of MALPA.

PhD Candidate Philip Good has based his PhD  on this project under the supervision of Associate Professor Rebekah Grace, Dr Cathy Kaplun and Dr Janet Conti.

The current research includes:

  • Exploring the impact of an Aboriginal child centered, community-embedded & co-designed approach to the health literacy of Aboriginal children.
  • Looking at a particular model implemented in a NSW regional area.

Next stages of the research will include:

  • Completing a series of interviews of the groups, teachers, and their Aboriginal Education Officer
  • A complete analysis of 24 children's experiences of the Young Doctors For Life program
  • A complete analysis of the parents/carers and teachers perceptions of the children's involvement in the program