Aboriginal health service South Coastal Babbingur Mia is excited to announce the appointment of Dr Talila Milroy to its team.
The Yindjibarndi and Palyku woman is passionate about Indigenous social justice, healthcare education and research.
Dr Milroy is the first Aboriginal GP to work at South Coastal Babbingur Mia and very likely the first to work in the Rockingham/Kwinana district.
Her appointment is a significant win for South Coastal Babbingur Mia and its clients, with health just one of the many areas where our First Australians face disadvantage.
Three per cent of the Australian population, or just over 760,000 people, identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander – and Dr Milroy is one of only about 600 Indigenous doctors in Australia, with more medicos needed to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Tragically, three in 10 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who need to go to a health provider do not, because of a lack of culturally appropriate health services, according to an Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report.
When asked why culturally safe care was so important, Dr Milroy said: “Cultural safety is important in seeing our clients in a holistic way that meets their goals and needs.
“It ensures that we as health professionals nurture and celebrate culture, family, emotions and spirit as much as we care about physical and mental health. It means that we provide the best and most comprehensive care and ultimately achieve better outcomes for the clients and the community.”
Dr Gill Walker is the CEO of South Coastal Health and Community Services, which runs the Babbingur Mia Aboriginal health program. Dr Walker said that with culturally safe care so extremely important for First Nations clients, Dr Milroy’s appointment was a landmark event for the organisation.
Dr Milroy, who was the only Indigenous medical graduate in her class of 2015, completed her medical medical training at the University of Sydney, with her intern and resident years spent at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. With a Bachelor degree in Medicine and Surgery from the University of Sydney, Dr Milroy also has a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Psychology. Dr Milroy was awarded her Fellowship qualification with the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners early this year.
The mother of three spent her undergraduate years working in the Faculty of Economics and Business at Sydney University, The Garvan Institute and Moreton Consulting – and is now also a Lecturer at UWA’s Centre for Aboriginal Medical and Dental Health.
Dr Milroy will initially start with a fortnightly residency, until patient numbers grow.
Some key facts on indigenous health in WA
According to The Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet’s Overview of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health status in Western Australia, key facts for WA include:
- In 2016, around 14% of babies born to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers were of low birthweight (LBW), compared with 6.5% of babies of non-Indigenous mothers.
- In 2015-2017, after age-adjustment, the death rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in WA was 12 per 1,000; this was 2.1 times the rate for non-Indigenous people.
- For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people born 2015-2017 in WA, life expectancy was estimated to be 66.9 years for males and 71.8 years for females, around 13.4 – 12.0 years less than the estimates for non-Indigenous males (80.3 years) and females (83.8 years).
- In 2017, the leading causes of death among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were coronary heart disease, diabetes, intentional self-harm and lung and related cancers.
- In 2011, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in WA compared with those living in NSW, Qld and the NT, experienced the second highest rate of total burden of disease (BOD) (498 per 1,000), highest non-fatal BOD (193 per 1,000) and second highest rate of fatal BOD (305 per 1,000).
- In 2011, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experienced total BOD at 2.8 times the rate of non-Indigenous people, for fatal BOD, 3.6 times higher and non-fatal BOD 2.0 times higher.