International health advocate finds good news at Congress

Professor Sir Michael Marmot visited Congress this week to witness the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service’s work in reducing the impact of disadvantage and the effects this has on health outcomes for Aboriginal people. 

Sir Marmot, Director of the University College London’s Institute of Health Equity and a leading researcher on health inequality issues, is a powerful international advocate for the social determinants of health.

Principal Investigator of the Whitehall Studies of British civil servants, Sir Marmot has investigated the reasons for the striking inverse social gradient in morbidity and mortality.

Sir Marmot visited Congress specifically to learn how Aboriginal Community Controlled health services improve the lives of Aboriginal people. “What I have seen in Alice Springs are examples of good news stories – committed people, adequately resourced, who are engaged with the Indigenous community, doing good things,” he said.

“Importantly, through our use of data we have been able to clearly demonstrate to Sir Marmot how effective Congress is as a leading Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service” Congress CEO, Donna Ah Chee, said. “The way we collect and use data is building an evidence base about what works, and he commented on the importance of this approach. He was also clear that one of the key ways that health services implement a social determinants approach is by providing Aboriginal employment and in this regard, he was very impressed with the current 50% Aboriginal employment rate and strategic target of 60%. He was impressed that there are so many good things happening in Aboriginal health as compared with the doom and gloom he had previously heard about.”

“This has been a fantastic opportunity to show case the great work of Congress to an internationally renowned advocate for social determinants of health” Ms Ah Chee said. “We are very pleased that Sir Marmot will be taking what he has learnt here to the rest of the world.”

Media contact: Kate Buckland 0408 741 691

Picture: Sir Marmot hears about Congress’ Early Childhood Learning Centre