Background: Indigenous health workforce development is expected to help address Indigenous health inequities. However, many countries struggle with how best to achieve this outcome. Vision 20:20, an equity targeted health workforce initiative at the University of Auckland, offers potential solutions.
Methods: This work includes qualitative and quantitative investigation of (a) ‘best practice’ for recruitment of Indigenous students into health-related tertiary programmes; (b) an Indigenous student admissions process on first year academic outcomes; (c) a bridging/foundation programme on Indigenous student academic success; and, (d) factors that influenced Indigenous student success when studying in degree-level health programmes.
Summary of results: Six broad principles of recruitment were identified from the literature. A positive association between our Indigenous admissions process and first year academic outcomes was found. Similarly, academic outcomes achieved within the bridging/foundation programme were associated with improved first year academic outcomes. Comprehensive Indigenous student support and culturally inclusive teaching and learning were important for student success.
Discussion: University based institutional change was central to improving outcomes for Indigenous students preparing to enter the health workforce. Twelve effective practices for tertiary institutions were identified in the areas of recruitment, (1) target academic requirements for study, (2) offer comprehensive interventions, (3) reflect Indigenous realities, (4) link to equity admissions processes, admission, (5) identify ‘best starting point’ for success, (6) assess applicants holistically, (7) include alternative points of entry, bridging/foundation education, (8) provide a ‘learning community’, (9) constructively align the curriculum, and retention, (10) provide comprehensive student support, (11) culturally inclusive teaching and learning, (12) develop cultural safety of non-Indigenous students.
Conclusion: The findings from this research have the potential to inform other universities internationally wishing to increase equity and support social justice for Indigenous peoples.