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Be the difference in Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander health

The Indigenous health pathway

There are many opportunities for you to become a deadly doctor in your practice and broaden your skillset in Indigenous health careAs part of your Indigenous health training, you will attend a mandatory cross-cultural workshop and participate in visits to Indigenous community organisationsThe following optional opportunities are also available to you: 

Warning: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are warned that the following content may contain images and voices of deceased persons.

“I took a leap of faith in 2004 when I accepted a job with Professor Noel Hayman, one of Queensland’s first Aboriginal medical graduates. Back then, we worked out of a few rooms at the Inala Health Centre General Practice. Now, the Inala Centre of Excellence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health operates out of its own purpose-built facility providing care to over 3000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients. What a ride it has been. It is an honour and privilege to serve such a culturally strong and vibrant community. I have been very fortunate to have been taken on a cultural journey by generous Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mentors and Elders who have taught me more than I could imagine about my own background as well as how to provide health care as safely as possible. This journey has been challenging, but has also been very personally and professionally rewarding.” 

Dr Geoff Spurling, GP at Inala Indigenous Health Service and senior lecturer at the University of Queensland 

Elder Mary Martin

Dr Mary Martin was awarded an Honorary Membership of the RACGP for her contribution to General Practice Matters. Dr Martin received her Doctorate from QUT the Highest Honour, 2019 and was also awarded a Member of the Order of Australian (AM) in recognition of her dedication and significant contribution to rural health and working towards improving the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. With over 49 years of experience in the health industry, Dr Mary’s career started as a nurse in 1971 at the Mater Misericordiae Public Hospitals, South Brisbane.  

Over the years she has served on multiple boards and committees and was instrumental along with other Queensland Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service persons in the establishment of the Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Forum, where she still works today, now known as the Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council. 2003 was a Recipient of a South East Queensland NAIDOC Distinguished Services Award. 

Dr Martin plays a key role in GPTQ’s cultural education of registrars, and is a member of GPTQ’s Kab-bai Committee. Her dedication and passion to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health care and encouragement of registrars to use deductive reasoning, be informed and empathetic to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their culture ways. 

Mandatory Indigenous health training

All registrars must undertake Indigenous community health training as part of the AGPT training program that we deliver. Your training must meet the requirements of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Curriculum Statement, as contained in the ACRRM and RACGP curricula.

At GPTQ we have worked with the Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC) to develop a learning module that meets these requirements. It consists of three parts:

    1. Cross cultural workshop
    2. Health community controlled Aboriginal organisation visit
    3. Non-health community controlled Aboriginal organisation visit

The three-hour cross cultural workshop serves as an introduction to Indigenous health. Before commencing the workshop, you complete a survey and read about cultural contact between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians.

Your two visits build on knowledge gleaned from the workshop and help place it in context. Before each visit, you will do pre-reading on the topics of Aboriginal health community empowerment, inequality in Australia, and Aboriginal communities today. After your visits, you will write a report on your experiences for the visited organisation, GPTQ and QAIHC. You’ll also attend a debrief session and submit any feedback via MyGPTQ, an online portal for our registrars.

Visiting or practising in an Aboriginal community provides an opportunity to immerse yourself in Indigenous culture. You can speak with Indigenous Elders about local health issues or support local community events. These experiences will enhance your cultural sensibility and help you in your future consults with Indigenous clients.

Indigenous health training with GPTQ

Here’s what some of our registrars and GP supervisors have to say.

Optional Indigenous health posts

A training post in Indigenous health may be one of the most valuable experiences of your career. You will gain personal and professional development while contributing to Indigenous health outcomes. Along the way, you’ll learn how to treat Indigenous patients and make a real and measurable contribution as a doctor.

You can elect to undertake an AGPT-accredited Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health training post during your training with GPTQ. In our training region, most of these posts occur at Aboriginal Medical Services (AMS) in urban and rural locations.

AMS posts offer a unique training environment for GP registrars. You will have the chance to:

  • Work as part of a multidisciplinary team including Aboriginal health workers and cultural mentors
  • Provide holistic primary health care incorporating mental, spiritual and physical components
  • Develop an understanding of cultural protocols
  • Deal with complex and chronic health issues
  • Learn about traditional Indigenous healers and medicine

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants

GPTQ strongly encourages Aboriginal and Torres Strait GP registrars to apply for our Indigenous Health training programs. Indigenous registrars will have the opportunity to be mentored by Dr Danielle Arabena and supported by the Indigenous Health Training team. We also support attendance at Indigenous General Practice Registrars Network (IGPRN) workshops and RACGP Yagila Wadamba for further medical education, cultural learnings and exam preparation throughout their training. 

Dr Noel Hayman’s story

Discover how Dr Noel Hayman – the University of Queensland’s first Indigenous medical student – found his way to a medical career.

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