Making Connections: A Systems Approach to Tackling Indigenous Smoking

Desley Thompson, Penney Upton

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookConference contribution


The Tackling Indigenous Smoking (TIS) program has been funded by the Australian Government Department of Health (DoH) since 2010, as part of the ‘Closing the Gap' initiative. In 2015, a revised version of the program was launched, which committed to supporting regionally funded organisations to deliver evidence-based activities designed in consultation with local communities. In an innovative move, this support was to be delivered through an independent entity, the National Best Practice Unit for Tackling Indigenous Smoking (NBPU TIS).

Sourced through an open tender process, NBPU_TIS operates as a consortium led by Ninti One Ltd., a not-for-profit Indigenous business registered with Supply Nation. Consortium partners include the University of Canberra Centre for Research and Action in Public Health (CeRAPH) and Edith Cowan University’s HealthInfoNet. The Unit provides program funded organisations with a range of support including evidence-based resource sharing, information dissemination, advice and mentoring, workforce development, and training in monitoring and evaluation.

Funding an independent National Best Practice Unit represented a new step for DoH, one which has provided opportunities as well as challenges to those involved in the process. We describe how the program has been transformed since 2015, particularly for teams working in rural and remote communities, and the impact it has had on the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in rural and remote areas. We also consider in detail how the voice of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people has influenced policy-makers thinking in relation to the program.

We demonstrate that the success of the program is underpinned by collaboration within and between communities, organisations and services. We argue that this systems orientated approach to Population Health Promotion is the only way forward if we are to address the unacceptable health inequities experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in rural and remote communities. We explore how the insights gained from the work of NBPU TIS with the regionally funded organisations can influence future policy and action to enable better access and equity to relevant services and ensure that we continue to be ‘Better Together’.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication15th National Rural Health Conference Proceedings
EditorsLeanne Coleman
Place of PublicationAustralia
PublisherNational Rural Health Alliance
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event15th National Rural Health Conference: Better together - Grand Chancelor Hotel, Hobart, Australia
Duration: 24 Mar 201927 Mar 2019

Publication series

Name15th National Rural Health Conference Proceedings
PublisherNational Rural Health Alliance
ISSN (Print)1445-3363


Conference15th National Rural Health Conference


Dive into the research topics of 'Making Connections: A Systems Approach to Tackling Indigenous Smoking'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this