Moree hospital hosted a barbecue lunch on Friday to support the Close the Gap initiative.
Hunter New England Health aims to close the life expectancy gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people by providing good access to quality, culturally appropriate and safe health services.
The hospital hosts the event each year to raise awareness of the disparities in health between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.
Aboriginal people are expected to live an average of 16 to 17 years less than non-indigenous Australians, according to Australian Institute of Health and Welfare statistics.
Babies born to Aboriginal mothers die at twice the rate of other Australian babies, and Aboriginal people experience higher rates of preventable illness such as heart disease, kidney disease and diabetes.
Hunter New England Health Aboriginal Health education officer Paul Duncan helped organise the event and said the day recognised the holistic approach to tackling health issues with representatives from health, housing, education and employment agencies.
There were pledges available for attendees to sign, giving their support to closing the gap by 2030. The pledges were sent back to Oxfam, the organisation responsible for the initiative.
“It is important that communities have a healthy partnership between government and non-government organisations,” he said.
Local community groups and agencies set-up stalls to provide information for those at the lunch.
Many local businesses also donated food and goods for the lunch.
“We are trying to dispel the myth among the Aboriginal community that if you go into hospital you are not going to come out,” Mr Duncan said.
“We want to make people aware of the importance of following up their health with GPs and not to be afraid to attend health services.
“Hunter New England Health aims to prevent chronic illness rather than just treating it when it gets to that stage. We encourage people to make proper lifestyle choices in regards to drugs and alcohol, physical activity and nutrition,” he said.