ijerph-logo

Journal Browser

Journal Browser

Special Issue "Indigenous Health Wellbeing"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Global Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Sandra Thompson
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Western Australian Centre for Rural Health, University of Western Australia, PO Box 109, Geraldton 6531, WA, Australia
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Bronwyn Fredericks
E-Mail
Guest Editor
The University of Queensland, St Lucia QLD 4072, Brisbane, Australia
Assoc. Prof. Monica Moran
E-Mail
Guest Editor
Western Australian Centre for Rural, University of Western Australia
Assoc. Prof. Rohan Rasiah
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Western Australian Centre for Rural, University of Western Australia, PO Box 62, Karratha 6714, WA, Australia
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are organising a Special Issue on Indigenous Health and Wellbeing in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, a peer-reviewed journal that publishes articles and communications in the interdisciplinary area of environmental health sciences and public health. For detailed information on the journal, we refer you to https://www.mdpi.com/journal/ijerph. 

Improving Indigenous health and wellbeing is an important objective for all who aspire to reducing health inequities. Indigenous people around the world share many common difficult and distressing experiences that have adversely affected their lives, including the experience of colonisation, discrimination and socioeconomic disadvantage. These things impact adversely upon both people's physical and mental health. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (2008) sanctioned cultural integrity and the rights of Indigenous peoples to practice and revitalise cultural traditions and customs. We now understand that health and wellbeing are broad concepts that incorporate not just our physical bodies but also social, emotional, cultural and spiritual aspects of health and wellbeing. There is much to learn from the experience of Indigenous cultures and comparative analyses.

This Special issue will explore the many dimensions of health and wellbeing that impact upon Indigenous health and wellbeing from a political, economic, justice, epidemiological, social or rights-based perspective. Wellbeing incorporates concepts such as personal relationships, feelings of safety, standard of living, sense of achievement and purpose, feeling part of the community and future security. We hope that this special issue will explore tools that can be used to measure health and wellbeing and evidence regarding effective approaches to achieving Indigenous health and wellbeing at individual, community and policy level from around the world. It is important to highlight the interventions and changes that have enabled Indigenous identity and inclusion, and how a treaty, education, reconciliation, power and self-determination influence the health and wellbeing of communities.

There are many approaches across the word about how we can best achieve Indigenous health and wellbeing across the life course, the importance of traditional language, storytelling, connection to country, the arts, sport and participation in traditional cultural activities as well as ways of delivering appropriate therapies. This Special Issues hopes to discuss ways of building the capacity of the broader health and social workforce and influence policy makers to understand best approaches to Indigenous health and wellbeing. 

This Special Issue is open to any subject area related to Indigenous health and wellbeing. The listed keywords suggest just a few of the many possibilities.

Prof. Sandra Thompson
Assoc. Prof. Monica Moran
Assoc. Prof. Rohan Rasiah
Prof. Bronwyn Fredericks
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Indigenous, Aboriginal, First Nations
  • Cultural identity
  • Cultural safety and Cultural competency
  • Kinship, Family and Peer Relationships
  • Participation and social inclusion
  • Empowerment
  • Social justice
  • Human and civil rights
  • Behaviours and Risks
  • Social inclusion and sense of community
  • Quality of life
  • Social participation
  • Holistic approaches
  • Spirituality
  • Mental health
  • Resilience
  • Social determinants
  • Trauma, grief and loss
  • Health literacy
  • Health behaviour and health seeking
  • Health knowledge, attitudes, practice
  • Community participation
  • Self-efficacy

Published Papers (10 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Jump to: Review

Article
Occupants’ Health and Their Living Conditions of Remote Indigenous Communities in New Zealand
by and
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(22), 8340; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17228340 - 11 Nov 2020
Viewed by 556
Abstract
The New Zealand Ministry of Health reported that respiratory disease affects 700,000 people, annually costs New Zealand NZ$7.05 billion, and is the third-highest cause of death. The hospitalisation rate for asthma of Māori communities is 2.0 higher than that of other ethnic groups, [...] Read more.
The New Zealand Ministry of Health reported that respiratory disease affects 700,000 people, annually costs New Zealand NZ$7.05 billion, and is the third-highest cause of death. The hospitalisation rate for asthma of Māori communities is 2.0 higher than that of other ethnic groups, and hospitalisation rates for deprived homes are 2.3 times higher than those of the least deprived homes. Based on physical data and evidence, which were drawn from a mixed methodology that includes field studies of the indoor microclimate, dust-mite allergens, mould growth, and occupants’ Respiratory Health Survey of a number of sample houses of Māori communities in Minginui, Te Whaiti, Murupara, and Rotorua of New Zealand, the study identifies unhealthy indoor thermal conditions, thresholds or ranges of indoor micro-climate related to different levels of dust-mite allergen and mould growth, the most common type of indoor mould, and correlations between dust-mite and mould and correlations. The study not only identified that the poor health of occupants is closely related to their inadequate living conditions, but also identifies the threshold of indoor micro-climates to maintain indoor allergens at the acceptable level, which can be used as a guideline to maintain or improve indoor health conditions for future housing development or retrofitted old housing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indigenous Health Wellbeing)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Maitjara Wangkanyi: Insights from an Ethnographic Study of Food Practices of Households in Remote Australian Aboriginal Communities
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(21), 8109; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17218109 - 03 Nov 2020
Viewed by 776
Abstract
Many historical, environmental, socioeconomic, political, commercial, and geographic factors underscore the food insecurity and poor diet-related health experienced by Aboriginal people in Australia. Yet, there has been little exploration of Aboriginal food practices or perspectives on food choice recently. This study, with 13 [...] Read more.
Many historical, environmental, socioeconomic, political, commercial, and geographic factors underscore the food insecurity and poor diet-related health experienced by Aboriginal people in Australia. Yet, there has been little exploration of Aboriginal food practices or perspectives on food choice recently. This study, with 13 households in remote communities on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands, fills this gap using ethnographic and Indigenist methods. Results highlight Anangu resourcefulness, securing food despite poverty and adversity, and provide unique insights into factors influencing the three major types and range of dietary patterns identified. These factors include household economic cycles and budgeting challenges; overcrowding and family structures, mobility and ‘organization’; available food storage, preparation and cooking infrastructure; and familiarity and convenience. Structural and systemic reform, respecting Aboriginal leadership, is required to improve food security. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indigenous Health Wellbeing)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Older Aboriginal Australians’ Health Concerns and Preferences for Healthy Ageing Programs
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(20), 7390; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17207390 - 10 Oct 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1684
Abstract
While there is strong evidence of the need for healthy ageing programs for older Aboriginal Australians, few are available. It is important to understand older Aboriginal Australians’ perspectives on healthy ageing in order to co-design culturally-appropriate programs, including views on technology use in [...] Read more.
While there is strong evidence of the need for healthy ageing programs for older Aboriginal Australians, few are available. It is important to understand older Aboriginal Australians’ perspectives on healthy ageing in order to co-design culturally-appropriate programs, including views on technology use in this context. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 34 Aboriginal Australians aged 50 years and older from regional and urban communities to explore participants’ health concerns, preferences for healthy ageing programs, and receptiveness to technology. Qualitative data were analyzed using a grounded theory approach. This study found that older Aboriginal Australians are concerned about chronic health conditions, social and emotional well-being, and difficulties accessing health services. A range of barriers and enablers to participation in current health programs were identified. From the perspective of older Aboriginal people, a successful healthy ageing program model includes physical and cognitive activities, social interaction, and health education. The program model also provides culturally safe care and transport for access as well as family, community, cultural identity, and empowerment regarding ageing well as central tenets. Technology could also be a viable approach for program delivery. These findings can be applied in the implementation and evaluation of culturally-appropriate, healthy ageing programs with older Aboriginal people. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indigenous Health Wellbeing)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Predictors of Overweight and Obesity and Its Consequences among Senoi Orang Asli (Indigenous People) Women in Perak, Malaysia
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(7), 2354; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17072354 - 31 Mar 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1063
Abstract
In spite of the high prevalence of overweight and obesity among the Orang Asli (OA) of Malaysia being an increasing concern due to the associated adverse health implications, information regarding this issue is scarce. This cross-sectional study is aimed to investigate the predictors [...] Read more.
In spite of the high prevalence of overweight and obesity among the Orang Asli (OA) of Malaysia being an increasing concern due to the associated adverse health implications, information regarding this issue is scarce. This cross-sectional study is aimed to investigate the predictors of overweight and obesity and its association with blood pressure and quality of life among Senoi OA women. A total of 19 villages at Batang Padang, Perak, were selected out of a total of 56 villages using a simple random sampling, in which 355 Senoi OA women were participated in the study. Face-to-face interviews were conducted to obtain information on sociodemographic characteristics, dietary intake, physical activity, and quality of life. Weight, height and blood pressure were also measured. The prevalence of overweight and obesity were 32.4% and 26.2%, respectively. In terms of multiple linear regression, monthly household income, total energy intake, and metabolic equivalents (METs) for domestic activities were found to have significantly contributed to body mass index (BMI). Furthermore, BMI contributed significantly towards levels of blood pressure and quality of life after controlling for monthly household income, total energy intake, and METs for domestic activities. In conclusion, there should be urgent attention to poverty and overweight/obesity among the OA women. The findings would aid in alerting policy makers and health professionals as underweight is no longer a sole nutritional problem among OA but it appears to be coexisting with overweight and obesity. Strategies for improving their socioeconomic status, promoting a balanced and moderate diet, and encouraging involvement of OA women in physical activities should be implemented to prevent overweight and obesity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indigenous Health Wellbeing)
Article
Enhancing Social and Emotional Wellbeing of Aboriginal Boarding Students: Evaluation of a Social and Emotional Learning Pilot Program
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(3), 771; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17030771 - 26 Jan 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1596
Abstract
Boarding schools can provide quality secondary education for Aboriginal students from remote Aboriginal Australian communities. However, transition into boarding school is commonly challenging for Aboriginal students as they need to negotiate unfamiliar cultural, social and learning environments whilst being separated from family and [...] Read more.
Boarding schools can provide quality secondary education for Aboriginal students from remote Aboriginal Australian communities. However, transition into boarding school is commonly challenging for Aboriginal students as they need to negotiate unfamiliar cultural, social and learning environments whilst being separated from family and community support. Accordingly, it is critical for boarding schools to provide programs that enhance the social and emotional skills needed to meet the challenges. This study evaluated a 10-session social and emotional learning (SEL) program for Aboriginal boarders and identified contextual factors influencing its effectiveness. The study combined a pre-post quantitative evaluation using diverse social and emotional wellbeing measures with 28 students between 13–15 years (10 female, 11 male, 7 unidentified) and qualitative post focus groups with 10 students and episodic interviews with four staff delivering the program. Students’ social and emotional skills significantly improved. The qualitative findings revealed improvements in students seeking and giving help, working in groups, managing conflict, being assertive and discussing cultural issues. The focus groups and interviews also identified program elements that worked best and that need improvement. Secure relationships with staff delivering the program and participation in single sex groups stood out as critical enablers. The findings lend evidence to the critical importance of collaborative design, provision and evaluation of SEL programs with Aboriginal peoples. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indigenous Health Wellbeing)
Article
Impacts of Environmental Changes on Well-Being in Indigenous Communities in Eastern Canada
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(2), 637; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17020637 - 19 Jan 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1500
Abstract
Climate change and natural resource exploitation can affect Indigenous people’s well-being by reducing access to ecosystem services, in turn impeding transmission of traditional knowledge and causing mental health problems. We used a questionnaire based on the Environmental Distress Scale (EDS) and the Connor–Davidson [...] Read more.
Climate change and natural resource exploitation can affect Indigenous people’s well-being by reducing access to ecosystem services, in turn impeding transmission of traditional knowledge and causing mental health problems. We used a questionnaire based on the Environmental Distress Scale (EDS) and the Connor–Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC-10) to examine the impacts of environmental changes on 251 members of four Indigenous communities in the eastern Canadian boreal forest. We also considered the potential mitigating effects of sociodemographic characteristics (i.e., age, gender, parenthood, and time spent on the land) and protective factors (i.e., health, quality of life, resilience, life on the land, life in the community, and support from family and friends). Using linear regression, model selection, and multi-model inference, we show that the felt impacts of environmental changes increased with age but were lower for participants with higher quality of life. The effect of resilience was opposite to expectations: more resilient participants felt more impacts. This could be because less resilient individuals ceased to go on the land when environmental changes exceeded a given threshold; thus, only the most resilient participants could testify to the impacts of acute changes. Further research will be needed to test this hypothesis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indigenous Health Wellbeing)
Article
Link to the Land and Mino-Pimatisiwin (Comprehensive Health) of Indigenous People Living in Urban Areas in Eastern Canada
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(23), 4782; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16234782 - 28 Nov 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1235
Abstract
Mino-pimatisiwin is a comprehensive health philosophy shared by several Indigenous peoples in North America. As the link to the land is a key element of mino-pimatisiwin, our aim was to determine if Indigenous people living in urban areas can reach mino-pimatisiwin. [...] Read more.
Mino-pimatisiwin is a comprehensive health philosophy shared by several Indigenous peoples in North America. As the link to the land is a key element of mino-pimatisiwin, our aim was to determine if Indigenous people living in urban areas can reach mino-pimatisiwin. We show that Indigenous people living in urban areas develop particular ways to maintain their link to the land, notably by embracing broader views of “land” (including urban areas) and “community” (including members of different Indigenous peoples). Access to the bush and relations with family and friends are necessary to fully experience mino-pimatisiwin. Culturally safe places are needed in urban areas, where knowledge and practices can be shared, contributing to identity safeguarding. There is a three-way equilibrium between bush, community, and city; and mobility between these places is key to maintaining the balance at the heart of mino-pimatisiwin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indigenous Health Wellbeing)
Article
Addressing Profound Disadvantages to Improve Indigenous Health and Reduce Hospitalisation: A Collaborative Community Program in Remote Northern Territory
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(22), 4306; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16224306 - 06 Nov 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1762
Abstract
Background: Aboriginal people in rural and remote areas of the Northern Territory of Australia have suffered longstanding issues of homelessness and profound health and social inequities. The town and region of Katherine are particularly impacted by such inequities and have the highest rates [...] Read more.
Background: Aboriginal people in rural and remote areas of the Northern Territory of Australia have suffered longstanding issues of homelessness and profound health and social inequities. The town and region of Katherine are particularly impacted by such inequities and have the highest rates of homelessness in Australia, composed almost entirely of Aboriginal people who represent 51% of the total population of 24,000 people. The region is serviced by a 60-bed hospital, and a small cohort of frequent attenders (FAs) represent 11% of the Emergency Department (ED) case load. The vast majority of FAs are Aboriginal and have very high burdens of social inequity and homelessness. FAs are a challenge to efficient and effective use of resources for most hospitals around the world, and investment in programs to address underlying social and chronic health issues contributing to frequent attendance have been demonstrated to be effective. Methods: These are the interim findings of a prospective cohort study using five sources of linked health and related data to evaluate a community-based case management pilot in a culturally competent framework to support frequent attenders to the Katherine Hospital ED. FAs were defined as people with six or more presentations in 12 preceding months. The intervention composed of a community-based case management program with a multi-agency service delivery addressing underlying vulnerabilities contributing to ED presentations. Results: Among this predominantly Aboriginal cohort (91%), there were high rates of homelessness (64%), food insecurity (60%) and alcohol misuse (64%), limited access to transport, and complex comorbidities (average of 2.8 chronic conditions per client). Following intervention, there was a statistically significant reduction in ED presentations (IRR 0.77, 95% CI 0.69–0.85), increased engagement with primary health care (IRR 1.90, 95% CI 1.78–2.03), and ambulance utilisation (IRR 1.21, 95% CI 1.07–1.38). Reductions in hospital admissions (IRR 0.93, 95% CI 0.77–1.10) and aeromedical retrievals (IRR 0.67, 95% CI 0.35–1.20) were not statistically significant. Conclusions: This study demonstrates the short-term impacts of community-led case management extending beyond the hospital setting, to address causes of recurrent ED presentations among people with complex social and medical backgrounds. Improving engagement with primary care is a particularly important outcome given the national impetus to reduce preventable hospital admissions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indigenous Health Wellbeing)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
‘Having a Quiet Word’: Yarning with Aboriginal Women in the Pilbara Region of Western Australia about Mental Health and Mental Health Screening during the Perinatal Period
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(21), 4253; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16214253 - 01 Nov 2019
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2298
Abstract
Despite high rates of perinatal depression and anxiety, little is known about how Aboriginal women in Australia experience these disorders and the acceptability of current clinical screening tools. In a 2014 study, the Kimberley Mum’s Mood Scale (KMMS) was validated as an acceptable [...] Read more.
Despite high rates of perinatal depression and anxiety, little is known about how Aboriginal women in Australia experience these disorders and the acceptability of current clinical screening tools. In a 2014 study, the Kimberley Mum’s Mood Scale (KMMS) was validated as an acceptable perinatal depression and anxiety screening tool for Aboriginal women in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. In the current study, we explored if it was appropriate to trial and validate the KMMS with Aboriginal women in the Pilbara. Yarning as a methodology was used to guide interviews with 15 Aboriginal women in the Pilbara who had received maternal and child health care within the last three years. Data were analysed thematically, the results revealing that this cohort of participants shared similar experiences of stress and hardship during the perinatal period. Participants valued the KMMS for its narrative-based approach to screening that explored the individual’s risk and protective factors. While support for the KMMS was apparent, particular qualities of the administering health care professional were viewed as critical to the tool being well received and culturally safe. Building on these findings, we will work with our partner health services in the Pilbara to validate the KMMS with Pilbara Aboriginal women. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indigenous Health Wellbeing)

Review

Jump to: Research

Review
Health and Wellness Impacts of Traditional Physical Activity Experiences on Indigenous Youth: A Systematic Review
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(21), 8275; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17218275 - 09 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1234
Abstract
Traditional physical activities have numerous physiological and psychosocial benefits for Indigenous youth around the world. Little is known about the positive health and wellness impacts of traditional physical activity experiences on Indigenous youths. The aim of this systematic review is to explore the [...] Read more.
Traditional physical activities have numerous physiological and psychosocial benefits for Indigenous youth around the world. Little is known about the positive health and wellness impacts of traditional physical activity experiences on Indigenous youths. The aim of this systematic review is to explore the holistic health and wellness impacts of traditional physical activities on Indigenous youth from certain North American and Oceania geographic areas. A systematic search of four electronic databases (PubMed, ERIC, Scopus and Web of Science) was conducted to identify peer-reviewed publications of qualitative research exploring the diverse health experiences of traditional physical activities for Indigenous youth in Canada, the United States of America, New Zealand and Australia. A qualitative synthesis of studies between 2006 and 2018 were included, and findings were synthesized using an integrated Indigenous-ecological model, which broadly captures health and wellness impacts under intrapersonal, interpersonal, organizational, community and policy level outcomes using medicine wheel teachings. In total, nine studies were identified via this search. Overall, the literature described numerous emotional, mental and spiritual benefits of traditional physical activity, and youth experiences were affected by familial and communal relationships, and systemic factors. Among Indigenous youth, this research shows the importance of including traditional physical activity in future programs and partnerships with community expertise. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indigenous Health Wellbeing)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop