AMA President, Dr Michael Gannon, has encouraged Indigenous medical students to apply for the 2017 AMA Indigenous Peoples’ Medical Scholarship.
Applications for the scholarship, which provides the successful applicant with $10,000 each year for the duration of their course, close on 31 January 2017.
“As the AMA noted in its Position Statement on Equal Opportunity in the Medical Workforce, the medical workforce should reflect the diversity of it patients,” Dr Gannon said.
“There is evidence that Indigenous people have improved health outcomes when they are treated by Indigenous doctors and health professionals.
“Yet in 2012, there were just 221 medical practitioners employed in Australia who identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander – representing 0.3 per cent of the workforce.
“In 2015, a total of 265 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medical students were enrolled across all year levels at the 15 medical colleges across Australia, and four of the 15 colleges have never had an Indigenous trainee.
“The AMA Scholarship has assisted many Indigenous men and women, who may not have otherwise had the financial resources to study medicine, to graduate to work in Indigenous and mainstream health services. Some have spent time providing care in their own communities.
“These wonderful doctors are now the pride of the medical profession and their communities, and role models for Indigenous Australians.
“The AMA strongly encourages Indigenous students to apply for the scholarship.”
To be eligible, applicants must be currently enrolled at an Australian medical school, and be in at least their first year of medicine. Applicants must be people of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander background.