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Decolonising practices: can journalism learn from health care to improve Indigenous health outcomes?

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Efforts to decolonise health care practice and research also hold lessons for journalists and the media industry

The ongoing effects of colonisation are widely acknowledged as contributing to intergenerational trauma, disadvantage and poor health among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.13 Colonisation disrupted peoples’ connection to country, to culture, to communities and to families through policies that sought to control, stigmatise and intervene in people’s lives. Historically, doctors and other health professionals have been involved in colonising practices that have been detrimental to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and peoples.4 Health and medical research also has a longstanding record of perpetuating rather than mitigating the impacts of colonisation, for example, by portraying Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as “passive, powerless victims”.5

Indigenous researchers, health professionals and organisations have been at the forefront of efforts to decolonise health care practice and research in order to tackle harmful attitudes and practices that continue to contribute to poor health and lack of access to culturally respectful and appropriate care.1