Men awarded for health program

DOCTOR Gillian Gould and Mr David Kennedy have been jointly awarded the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners’ 2010 Standing Strong Together Award in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health for their Give Up The Smokes program.

They will receive a $2500 educational scholarship.

The Standing Strong Together award recognises achievement in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health by a Fellow or member of the RACGP and an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person who have worked in an effective partnership to produce substantial, positive outcomes in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.

In congratulating the Coffs Coast team, the Chair of the RAGP’s National Faculty of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, Dr Brad Murphy said that Dr Gould and Mr Kennedy had shown passion and determination in their efforts to ‘close the gap’ between health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Give Up the Smokes has been developed with the help of Galambila Aboriginal Health Service, the University of New South Wales’s Rural Clinical School and the Mid North Coast Division of General Practice to help people who identify as Aboriginal to quit smoking.

“The 2007-08 pilot study demonstrated that smokers who attended the course improved their knowledge of the harm smoking does, and made attempts to quit smoking with an estimated quit rate of 30 per cent,” Dr Murphy said.

“It has now grown into a training program that aims to train and support other Aboriginal medical services to run their own ‘Give Up The Smokes’ program.”

Dr Gould said smoking was one of the major health problems for Aboriginal people, with 59.5 per cent of Aboriginal people on the Mid North Coast being smokers. David Kennedy said smoking, borrowing and lending smokes was part of Aboriginal relationships and social activities so it represented a constant temptation

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