2017 was the year of travel for the NHMRC FASD Prevention team, with multiple visits to the Western Desert communities Jigalong, Parnngurr and Punmu. Extensive research and consultation was undertaken with project partners including the three Aboriginal Controlled Health Services - Puntukurnu Aboriginal Medical Services (PAMS) in Newman, Wirraka Maya in Hedland and Mawarnkarra in Roebourne and stakeholders early in the year, with field trips to Newman, in the Western Desert, and Warralong and Yandeyarra in Hedland and Roebourne. Members of the team travelled to Parnngurr during the Western Desert Football Carnival, where Punmu took home the cup. It was an opportunity to re-establish relationships, share information about the project and to build on existing work being driven by community and stakeholders in each of the sites.
In Newman an exciting opportunity to work with Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa (KJ) was established. In early 2018 the team will be assisted by the KJ Rangers and Women’s Leadership programs to develop and translate a community FASD survey appropriately for use in Western Desert Martu Communities.
A highlight of 2017 was taking Nancy Poole and Lorraine Greaves to Hedland to deliver a workshop and community forum on gender and trauma-informed care and services.
The Making FASD History team were delighted to welcome new members to the team in 2017. Michelle Gray came on board as the Project Manager of Pilbara FASD Prevention in October 2017. Michelle previously worked at the Mental Health Commission where she was instrumental in the development and evaluation of the Strong Spirit Strong Future FASD Prevention campaign, and the creation of local drug and alcohol action plans with Pilbara communities. David Tucker also joined the NHMRC team in early 2017 as a PhD student to examine the predictors of prenatal alcohol consumption in Pilbara Aboriginal communities and the development of evidence based prevention interventions.
Community and stakeholder led forums throughout the year highlighted local commitment and focus on FASD prevention. Roz Walker and James Fitzpatrick presented to the Pilbara Aboriginal Health Planning Forum throughout the year. Roz and Michelle also presented at a ‘Pilbara 4 Purpose’ forum in November where Roz was an invited member of an expert Q&A panel and recommendations were presented to the Hon. Stephen Dawson (Minister for Environment).