In response to the "Closing the Gap" campaign, a collaboration was established between the University Department of Rural Health (Tamworth) and the Mothers and Babies Research Centre (Newcastle) in 2007 that aimed to improve outcomes for Aboriginal mothers and their infants. Through community consultation surrounding a program of scientific research, community members shared the need for a supportive place for pregnancy issues to be discussed for expectant Aboriginal mothers. It was suggested that in addition to working with mothers in a research program, that we, the scientists, need to be putting something back into the community. This story is about the beginnings of the Gomeroi gaaynggal program. When first discussed, staff at Aboriginal health services talked about how Aboriginal mums are often younger and easily intimidated by health services generally. Community members talked extensively of the need for a place and a function where mums could go to meet with other expectant mums to talk about their pregnancy. A group of health staff suggested we run a program that used the local love of the arts to create a non-threatening environment for Aboriginal mothers. As a scientist, this idea seemed quite frightening. However, everywhere it was discussed, the eyes of local people lit up. It seemed that the scientist was about to learn a whole new way of doing business.
Aboriginal & Islander Health Worker Journal Vol. 33, Issue 6, p. 3-5