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Indigenous medical workforce development: current status and future directions

Ian P S Anderson, Shaun C Ewen and Debra A Knoche
Med J Aust 2009; 190 (10): 580-581.

Both more Indigenous doctors — for the sociocultural capabilities they bring — and better sociocultural education of all medical students will be needed to “close the gap”

When Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and representatives of Australian health leadership signed a statement of intent to close the Indigenous health gap by 2030, they committed to putting in place by 2018 the primary health services and other health infrastructure necessary to achieve this goal.1 Although health service development has been key to the national policy agenda in Indigenous health since the National Aboriginal Health Strategy in 1989, a high level commitment to workforce development was not in place until the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council endorsed the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workforce National Strategic Framework in 2002.2 This priority was subsequently reinforced when the National Indigenous Health Equality Council was established in 2008 — with a significant focus on workforce strategy.3

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  • Ian P S Anderson1
  • Shaun C Ewen2
  • Debra A Knoche3

  • Centre for Health and Society and Onemda VicHealth Koori Health Unit, Melbourne School of Population Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC.

Correspondence: i.anderson@unimelb.edu.au

Acknowledgements: 

Funding for Medical Deans Australia and New Zealand Indigenous Health Project (2004–2007) was provided by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA). Core funding for the Onemda VicHealth Koori Health Unit is provided by the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation and the DoHA. Onemda receives funding support from the Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health.

Competing interests:

Ian Anderson is the chair of the National Indigenous Health Equality Council (NIHEC). The Onemda VicHealth Koori Health Unit hosts the Leaders in Indigenous Medical Education Network for Medical Deans Australia and New Zealand. The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of the NIHEC or Medical Deans Australia and New Zealand.

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