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Heart Health 'For Our People, by Our People'



Heart Health 'For our People, by Our People' is a successful cardiac rehabilitation program at an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community controlled health organisation in Perth, Western Australia (WA). This culturally appropriate program was jointly established by Derbarl Yerrigan Health Service (DYHS), the National Heart Foundation, Royal Perth Hospital (Cardiology Department) and the broader Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. It is conducted onsite at DYHS in a culturally secure environment. Participants who enrol in the program attend weekly and engage in exercise and educational sessions covering:

Specialist staff that deliver the program include: a chronic disease nurse, cardiac rehabilitation nurse, exercise physiologist, physiotherapist, general practitioners, nurses and health workers. Guest speakers are invited to speak to the group on relevant issues and every month a full-day workshop is held.

The program has been evaluated through a formal research process. Participants’ perceptions of the program and the impact on risk factors were evaluated following eight weeks of attendance. In 28 participants (20 female) who completed eight weeks of sessions, body mass index, waist girth and blood pressure decreased and six minute walk distance increased. Yarning helped identify and address a range of chronic health issues including medication compliance, risk factor review and chest pain management. The evaluation concluded that the program led to improved cardiovascular risk factor and health management. It also found that an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community controlled health organisation is an ideal location for managing cardiovascular health and provides a setting conducive to addressing a broad range of chronic conditions.

Abstract adapted from Derbal Yerrigan Health Service Inc.


Derbarl Yerrigan Health Service Inc
156 Wittenoom Street
East Perth WA 6004
Ph: (08) 9421 3888
Fax: (08) 9421 3884

Related publications

Dimer L, Dowling T, Jones J, Cheetham C, Thomas T, Smith J, McManus A, Maiorana AJ (2013)

Build it and they will come: outcomes from a successful cardiac rehabilitation program at an Aboriginal Medical Service.

Australian Health Review; 37(1): 79-82


Last updated: 23 March 2018
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