The ETTA project is expected to be completed by December 2024, and Associate Professor Canuto says presenting the research findings back to the Watto Purrunna staff will enable the health service to keep improving its service delivery and increase the numbers of its successful interactions with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males.
The findings will also allow Watto Purrunna to roll out similar engagement activities throughout the Northern Adelaide Health Network, and hopefully be adapted by other Aboriginal Medical Services and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations throughout Australia. “However, there must be a commitment from governments to follow through,” says Associate Professor Canuto. “If a roll-out of services is not adequately and sustainably resourced, there’s little that these services will be able to develop, implement and evaluate that can improve the numbers of men engaging with health services.”
Associate Professor Canuto is also working with the Nauiyu Community in the Northern Territory and at Waiben in Zenadth Kes (Torres Strait Islands), co-designing social and emotional wellbeing programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males – thereby developing a framework for other health services to follow in other communities.
This MRFF project ends mid-year 2026, when its assets will be available to all Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations and Aboriginal Medical Services, and able to be modified to each community’s own specific needs.
This work depends on carefully constructing ongoing relationships, which takes time – and progress has been hampered through disruptions caused by COVID-19, especially Associate Professor Canuto's work with health services in very remote locations. “It just reminds us that what we are trying to achieve is a very difficult process, but it is absolutely essential.”