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Key Thinkers Forum tackling Allied Health Careers heading to Canberra

Katarina Slavich

9 September 2019: The Poche Indigenous Health Network has collaborated with the Poche Centre for Indigenous Health at the University of Sydney to bring their latest Key Thinkers Forum, “How do we build and support an allied health workforce to meet the needs of community?, to life.

A panel of experts are set to interrogate existing workforce challenges in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and discuss strategies to grow, train and support existing and high demand new workforces.

The Poche Centre has recognised that an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander local health workforce is vital for the success of Closing the Gap in health disparity in Australia.

Professor Michelle Lincoln, the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health at the University of Canberra is one of four panel members and will focus her discussion around what universities can do to support the recruitment and retention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in health degrees.

Professor Lincoln will highlight that the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in higher education courses has more than doubled over the past decade, with 22 percent of these students enrolled in health courses. However, only 1.8 percent of the national health workforce comprises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“This is really concerning. Given that approximately three percent of Australia’s working age population are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, we need to grow the Indigenous health workforce to more than three percent,” said Professor Lincoln.

Professor Lincoln believes that there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ approach to grow the Aboriginal and Torres Strait workforce and that we need multiple pathways and approaches to be successful.

Some of the strategies include more pathways and articulation arrangements and new modes of course delivery that are flexible, supportive, culturally safe and recognise the need for students to remain connected to family and community while studying.

“My focus at the forum is to discuss pathways for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students into health courses at university and factors that will enable them to succeed,” said Professor Lincoln.

University of Canberra Chancellor, Professor Tom Calma AO, will be facilitating the forum, as the Poche Network Patron and Chair.

Professor Calma has dedicated his life to improving the lives of all Australians, particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

The Key Thinkers Forum – Allied Health Careers - Pathways for Success will be held at Dame Dorothy Tangney Alcove at Parliament House on Monday 9 September, from 11.45am–3.15pm. Click here for more information and tickets.