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Date posted: 20 April 2012
The nation's first Aboriginal psychiatrist, Professor Helen Milroy, has recently returned from a study tour of Israel looking at programs designed to tackle intergenerational trauma and disadvantage.
Professor Milroy said Israel had a refreshing approach that sought to give the poorest children the very best services and facilities.
By contrast, the most disadvantaged children in Australia often fell through the cracks.
'A lot of the programs in Israel also had philanthropic funding as their base so it wasn't all government funded,' Professor Milroy said.
'The Israel approach is very much a can-do attitude.
'If a service is not available then they look at how to make it available.
'There is also recognition that for traumatised kids and families engagement took a long time and programs needed to be long term.'
She said changing the system in Australia did not have to mean more money, just that available funds were better spent and directed at those who needed them most.
Professor Milroy, who is the director of the Centre for Aboriginal Medical and Dental Health at the University of Western Australia (WA) and also works for WA's new Specialist Aboriginal Mental Health Service, made her comments at a meeting of academics, health professionals and members of the Jewish community in Perth this week.
The meeting was organised by the Women's International Zionist Organisation, which helped set up her study tour with the help of a NAB Bank Yachad scholarship.
Source: The West Australian