Volume 1, Issue 1 (2020)


Welcome to the inaugural edition of the revamped Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin. The HealthBulletin has been published in one form or another since the Foundation Director of the HealthInfoNet, Professor Neil Thomson, cobbled together the first volume over 38 years ago. (In our mind’s eye, we see him toiling over a Roneo Mimeograph machine cranking the handle in the dead of night to produce the first stapled edition all those years ago.)

In all that time, it is fair to say that while we are very proud of the quality, scope and reach of the many original papers we have published, the production of the HealthBulletin has been a bit of a cottage industry. Manuscripts have been manually processed using mostly the sweat and determination of a core group of dedicated staff at the HealthInfoNet including, of course, Professor Thomson. In recent years, Jane Burns, our Research Team Leader (and current Editor) who has been with the HealthInfoNet for almost 20 years, has been the driving force: receiving, editing, identifying then badgering reviewers and working closely with authors to deliver the final manuscript that was published on our site.

The core business of the HealthInfoNet is to provide information that is timely, accessible and relevant to the everyday work and practice of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector workforce. Since its inception, the HealthBulletin has been a small but vital part of that mission. More recently, it has become clear that if we wanted to take the HealthBulletin to the next level, we needed a more systematic way to handle the manuscripts. Most authors are familiar with automated journal systems and Edith Cowan University hosts an automated system all of its own – so soon we connected the dots. The transition to the automated system is an important step in enhancing the accessibility and visibility of the journal to authors and readers worldwide. However, our overarching goal has not changed: to ensure the results of high-quality research into aspects of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health reach the audiences that need them in a form they can use.

In this first edition of the revitalised journal, we are publishing five articles that exemplify these aspirations. An exploration of interventions for healing intergeneration trauma to develop successful healing programs for Aboriginal Australians: A literature review by Simpson et al., provides a perspective on intergenerational trauma based on a systematic review and appraisal of the international evidence. In Opinions and perceptions of Indigenous mental health applications from service providers and youth samples: a pilot study, Silva-Myles and Blunden report on a pilot study about the use of mental health applications (apps) and provide some recommendations for how the use of apps may be optimised with Indigenous young people in mind. In a similar vein, Cashman et al. argue that the design elements of surveillance for vaccine safety should focus on fostering high levels of participation by Aboriginal people in their article The Aboriginal gap in online active vaccine safety surveillance. Knight et al. report on a scenario study that examines a hypothetical interaction between an Aboriginal patient and a doctor in Medical decision-making using knowledge of patient identification as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander: what do medical students think?, and the authors provide intriguing insight into the thinking of medical students in their evaluations of the interactions. The final article in this edition, Keeping it real: Virtual connection with SToP trial community navigators, McRae and her colleagues provide important insights into the use of technology to engage with community navigators in the complex times of the COVID-19 pandemic. They demonstrate that while face-to-face meetings will always be important, online options can support the development and maintenance of genuine and engaged relationships.

Together, these papers make a fine contribution to the literature and we are very pleased to present them in the inaugural edition of the revamped HealthBulletin. Despite a different year to what we were all expecting, we are grateful for this exciting opportunity to continue to engage researchers around the world on all aspects of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.

We hope you find these articles and the subsequent editions of the HealthBulletin timely, accessible and relevant. We look forward to working with you to continue to inform research and improve the everyday work and practice of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector workforce.

Neil Drew, Tamara Swann, Katie Cundale, Darren Deves and Jane Burns
Editors, HealthBulletin


The Aboriginal gap in online active vaccine safety surveillance
Patrick Cashman, Sally-Anne Munnoch, Katrina Clark, Natalie Allan, Stephen Clarke, Kristine Macartney, and David Durrheim


Keeping it real: Virtual connection with SToP trial community navigators
Tracy McRae, John Jacky, Janine McNamara, Slade Sibosado, Janella Isaac, Joshua Augustine, Rosanna Smith, Jessica Bunning Dr, and Asha C. Bowen Dr