Having a yarn about smoking : using action research to develop a 'no smoking' policy within an Aboriginal health organisation

Fletcher, Gillian, Fredericks, Bronwyn L., Adams, Karen, Finlay, Summer , Andy, Simone, Briggs, Lyn, & Hall, Robert (2011) Having a yarn about smoking : using action research to develop a 'no smoking' policy within an Aboriginal health organisation. Health Policy.

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Objectives: This article reports on a culturally appropriate process of development of a smoke-free workplace policy within the peak Aboriginal Controlled Community Health Organisation in Victoria, Australia. Smoking is acknowledged as being responsible for at least 20% of all deaths in Aboriginal communities in Australia, and many Aboriginal health workers smoke.

Methods: The smoke-free workplace policy was developed using the iterative, discursive and experience-based methodology of Participatory Action Research, combined with the culturally embedded concept of ‘having a yarn’.

Results: Staff members initially identified smoking as a topic to be avoided within workplace discussions. This was due, in part, to grief (everyone had suffered a smoking related bereavement). Further, there was anxiety that discussing smoking would result in culturally difficult conflict. The use of yarning opened up a safe space for discussion and debate,enabling development of a policy that was accepted across the organisation.

Conclusions: Within Aboriginal organisations, it is not sufficient to focus on the outcomes of policy development. Rather, due attention must be paid to the process employed in development of policy, particularly when that policy is directly related to an emotionally and communally weighted topic such as smoking.

Impact and interest:

3 citations in Scopus
2 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 45731
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: Elsevier First Online Publication
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Aboriginal, Indigenous, Koori, Victoria, Australia, Smoking, Tobacco, Policy, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, ACCHO, Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, VACCHO, action research, participatoryaction research, PAR, yarn, yarning
DOI: 10.1016/j.healthpol.2011.06.014
ISSN: 0168-8510
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health (111701)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Research Centres > Indigenous Studies Research Network
Deposited On: 06 Sep 2011 23:14
Last Modified: 06 Sep 2011 23:14

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