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EHA : Annual Review and Yearbook 2008
Branch Presidents' Reports Indigenous Environmental Health SIG “Good environmental health conditions are an essential requirement for maintaining and improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities”. Environmental Health is concerned with creating and maintaining environments that promote good public health by addressing those aspects of human health determined by physical, chemical, biological and social factors in the environment. Whilst a long and healthy life is an achievable goal for most Australians, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities suffer higher than average levels of morbidity and mortality. There is evidence that these populations suffer disproportionate impact from both increased exposures to environmental hazards and decreased access to services. The environments in which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples live are recognised as having a strong impact on health. Addressing the environmental risks can play an important part in enhancing the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. The SIG believes EHA needs to develop a policy position in relation to Aboriginal Environmental Health. The Branch Indigenous Environmental Health Special Interest Group (SIG) has been working to highlight and address issues relevant to improving the environmental health conditions for Indigenous persons. Membership of the SIG There were around 59 members of the Indigenous EH SIG, across Western Australia and Northern Territory. The SIG has provided regular liaison between members and comment on proposals throughout the year. Sarah Curnow mAIEH Indigenous Environmental Health SIG Convener Western Australia/Northern Territory Branch (continued) EHA ANNUAL REPORT 2008 49