Allison Hempenstall

Allison Hempenstall

Rose Service Learning Fellow

Allison is a primary care physician, researcher and medical educator who is committed to improving health outcomes with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Australia. She is a fellow with the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine and has been working across the Torres Strait for the past three years. In 2020, Allison was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to undertake her Masters of Public Health specialising in global health with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Allison’s project aims to determine community public health priorities and develop an implementation plan for a public health unit in the region.

Dr. Hempenstall is a recipient of the 2021 James H. Ware Award for Public Health Practice.

Detailed Project Description: The Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Services (TCHHS) mission is to improve the health and wellbeing of people in the Torres Strait, Northern Peninsula Area and Cape York areas by partnering with communities through courage, accountability, respect and engagement. TCHHS experiences a unique range of tropical communicable disease not seen elsewhere in Australia, conflated by high rates of non-communicable diseases. The health service is one of Australia’s largest providers of health services to First Nations peoples, 63.7% identifying as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander. To date, there is no dedicated public health unit within this health service for the region, however the health service hopes to establish one in the near future. It is vital that First Nations communities are central in establishing the health priorities for this public health unit. The aim of this qualitative assessment was to explore key TCHHS stakeholder’s public health priorities for the region, to shape the implementation of the future TCHHS public health unit.