We know that there are big differences in
health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people compared to non-Indigenous
Australians and we know that in rural and remote areas, that gap is even wider in terms
of life expectancy, there are differences. So what we trying to do here at the College
of Medicine is better prepare our doctors to work within that setting. We do our bit to make sure that our content
delivers on that and content that is integrated into the program so that students when completing
are competent and have an understanding in working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander people. Med students attend a community meeting and
work with the group to talk about a health issue but also importantly, look at how they
engage with individual members of community and how they engage that committee and the
community into projects that they are doing. We were able to understand the problems that
the community members go through and the community leaders. We understood a lot about what we could do
about it, so it was all about understanding the problems and coming together with a solution
which all the members would agree with. It was interesting how basic things like the
fact that I play a lot of football and doing things like fishing can lead into getting
people to come back and be a part of your health service. One of the key lessons that we actually learnt
and saw today was the fact that doctors in rural areas are not there only to fix a problem
but by knowing the community members, the community people were able to build a rapport
and understand the issues to a very personal level. People are more comfortable talking to us
and are able to engage more.