AITHM James Cook University


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Hailing from across Northern Australia, almost 30 health workers, partners and researchers gathered in Cairns last week to launch a new primary health care project, known simply as LEAP. Funded by the National Health and Medical Project Council (NHMRC), the three-year project aims to improve the health of Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders through strengthening quality improvement in Indigenous primary health care. 

Professor Sarah Larkins from James Cook University explains, “Despite the unwieldy title, ‘Leveraging Effective Ambulatory Practices (LEAP)’, this project simply aims to partner with and support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services trying new approaches to improve quality of care.”

During the Cairns workshop, a Learning Community was established with members comprising eight regional and remote health services across Northern Australia, peak bodies for community controlled health organisations, Primary Health Networks, and other partners including James Cook University and University of Sydney.  

“In this meeting we agreed that mutual respect, a belief in two-way learning, and culture will be central to the way we work to improve health services”, said Dr Veronica Matthews, Co-Lead and member of the Quandamooka community. “This was evident in the way we co-designed data collection tools, and planned actions for improved health services.”

The eight services will work with researchers in the two and a half years to determine and trial priority action areas.

For more information, please contact LEAP Co-Leads, Dr Veronica Matthews or Professor Sarah Larkins

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