The achievements of doctors, scholars, executives and policy makers in Indigenous health will be celebrated at a University of Queensland symposium.
The Indigenous Health Workforce Symposium hosted by UQ’s Poche Centre for Indigenous Health will bring together alumni from the UQ Indigenous Health Program (IHP) that was offered between 1994 and 2005.
Dr Chelsea Bond, who was part of the largest cohort of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to graduate from UQ, said the symposium was an opportunity for alumni and staff to reflect upon the legacy and impact of the program.
“In just over a decade, more than 70 students graduated from the program, under the leadership of Emeritus Professor Cindy Shannon,” Dr Bond said.
“A significant number of graduates are now making a difference in the health field in their own way, in their own communities.
“Some used the course as a stepping stone to specialised roles as nurses, nurse academics, doctors, researchers and social workers, to name a few.
“Most have taken the learnings from this program for the betterment of their own communities, both within and outside of the health system.”
Funded by The Lowitja Institute, the benefits of the program are currently being examined by a team of health researchers led by Dr Bond, as part of a 20 year retrospective cohort study of career trajectories of former graduates.
“The participants, in reflecting upon the program, will help inform a deeper understanding of the enablers to Indigenous health workforce leadership across the health system as well as the transformative nature of their presence within it,” Dr Bond said.
“In the current context of Closing the Gap targets, this symposium offers an opportunity to celebrate the achievements and gains within the health system, which are led by Indigenous peoples themselves.
“Indigenous peoples have the solutions and the commitment to improving Indigenous health outcomes, and what is necessary is a supportive educational environment and a commitment to producing a critical mass of Indigenous leaders across the health system.”