Purpose: Discuss the role ‘quality Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health curriculum’ plays in improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.
Overview: Activities undertaken by the National Rural Health Student Network (NRHSN) aim to:
A key priority for the NRHSN is to promote the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, including access to quality, culturally responsive and safe health care. In order to meet this intent, Indigenous health needs to have a significant presence in the core curriculum of all health disciplines.
In 2004, the Medical Deans of Australia and New Zealand (MDANZ) released the Indigenous Health Curriculum Framework to provide medical schools with a set of guidelines to develop their Indigenous Health Curriculum . This framework highlighted the diversity of Indigenous communities and the importance of a holistic approach.
In nursing, midwifery and allied health degrees, there are no stand-alone documents equivalent to the MDANZ framework and there are varied efforts for the inclusion of Indigenous health education across disciplines and universities.
Overall, there is inconsistency between health courses in Australia for inclusion of an Indigenous health component in university curriculums.
Recommendations: The NRHSN believes that a quality Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health curriculum should ensure that:
Conclusion: The NRHSN strongly supports ongoing work to develop and include a quality Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health curriculum for all health students in Australian tertiary education institutions.