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
- 1. Australian Human Rights Commission. Close the Gap: Indigenous health equality summit. Statement of intent. Canberra, 20 Mar 2008 http://www.hreoc.gov.au/Social_Justice/health/statement_intent.html (accessed Jan 2009).
- 2. Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workforce National Strategic Framework. Canberra: Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council, 2002. http://www.ahmrc.org.au/Downloads/Workforce%20Development/wrkstrgy1.pdf (accessed Apr 2009).
- 3. Rudd K, Prime Minister of Australia. Joint media release with the Minister for Health and Ageing and the Minister for Indigenous Affairs. Rudd government tackles Indigenous smoking rates and health workforce in next down payments on closing the gap. 20 Mar 2008. http://www.pm.gov.au/media/Release/2008/media_release_0143.cfm (accessed Apr 2009).
- 4. Australian Bureau of Statistics and Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. The health and welfare of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Canberra: ABS and AIHW, 2008. (ABS Cat. No. 4704.0; AIHW Cat. No. IHW14.) http://www.ausstats.abs.gov.au/ausstats/subscriber.nsf/0/51B575E133A75C6DCA2574390014EDFE/$File/47040_2008.pdf (accessed Apr 2009) .
- 5. Anderson IPS. The knowledge economy and Aboriginal health development. Dean’s Lecture, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, 13 May 2008. Melbourne: Onemda VicHealth Koori Health Unit, University of Melbourne, 2008. http://www.onemda.unimelb.edu.au/docs/deanslecturefinal.pdf (accessed Apr 2009).
- 6. Lawson KA, Armstrong RM, Van der Weyden MB. Training Indigenous doctors for Australia: shooting for goal. Med J Aust 2007; 186: 547-550. <MJA full text>
- 7. Phillips G, on behalf of the Project Steering Committee, Committee of Deans of Australian Medical Schools. CDAMS Indigenous health curriculum framework. Melbourne: VicHealth Koori Health Research and Community Development Unit on behalf of CDAMS, Aug 2004. http://www.limenetwork.net.au/files/lime/cdamsframeworkreport.pdf (accessed Apr 2009, link updated May 2009).
- 8. Minniecon D, Kong K. Healthy futures: defining best practice in the recruitment and retention of Indigenous medical students. Canberra: Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association, 2005. http://aida.encode.net.au/res/File/pdf/AIDA_Healthy_Futures_Report.pdf (accessed Apr 2009, link no longer available).
- 9. Australian Medical Council. Assessment and accreditation of medical schools: standards and procedures. Canberra: AMC, 2006.
- 10. Mackean T, Mokak R, Carmichael A, et al. Reform in Australian medical schools: a collaborative approach to realising Indigenous health potential. Med J Aust 2007; 186: 544-546. <MJA full text>
- 11. Medical Deans Australia and New Zealand. The LIME Network. Leaders in Indigenous medical education. Critical Reflection Tool (CRT). http://www.limenetwork.net.au/content/critical-reflection-tool-crt (accessed Apr 2009, link updated May 2009).
- 12. Medical Deans Australia and New Zealand. The LIME Network. Leaders in Indigenous medical education. LIME Network Project. http://www.limenetwork.net.au/ (accessed Apr 2009, link updated May 2009).
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