Indigenous Health

UCRH indigenous health

“The poor underlying state of Aboriginal health are measures of their social disadvantage within Australian society. Aboriginal people are poorer, experience greater unemployment, have lower educational attainment, live in poorer housing and have lower access to facilities taken for granted in most of Australia. Aboriginals are more likely to live in rural locations where service provision is often reduced. . . “ – National Aboriginal Health Strategy, 1989

“In the past the main focus has been on addressing the health needs of people living in remote areas, confining the problem to availability of health services. Whilst this continues to be of fundamental importance, we know that proximity to services does not necessarily equate with greater access as additional barriers to utilising available services exist. These include health service provider attitudes and practice, communication issues, poor cultural understanding and racism. The availability of health services including mainstream health services that are culturally equipped to provide services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is one of a number of factors that contribute to improved health.” – National Strategic Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, Prepared by the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Council for the Australian Health Ministers’ Conference, 2003


The UCRH is strongly committed to the betterment of Aboriginal health. A number of the clinicians of our faculty are committed to servicing the Aboriginal community, and a rich culture of mutual support has developed with the Aboriginal health service providers in endeavouring to ensure that the best approach is provided in improving health. It is unacceptable that such disadvantage prevails.

The education program facilitates an understanding of the issues that underpin health, and the capacity that we each have in supporting improvement. This is tackled in several ways:

  • students are facilitated in spending time in clinical placement in Aboriginal settings, particularly in the Aboriginal –led community services;
  • the social equity discussions, of which all students are encouraged to participate in, give emphasis to Aboriginal themes;
  • a cultural walk, led by Arakwal ambassadors, provides an insight into the spiritual and mythological dimensions of land and peoples;
  • long stay students are provided with an orientation and welcome to the Bundjalung nation, and encouraged to explore their own attitudes and responsibilities that would enable their roles as future health professionals and community leaders to address the inequity, and to respect the cultural norms and etiquette;
  • tutorial settings and case studies will frequently identify the clinical circumstances of Aboriginal patients.

It is our hope that each student hosted by UCRH will leave with a better understanding of their role in improving the health of Aboriginal peoples. Further, our institutional obligation and the depths of our partnerships with the Aboriginal community, build from respect, and will deliver an improved well-being such that the fullness of life may be enjoyed by all the community in equal measure.



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