Health outcomes for Aboriginal Australians: focus for Notre Dame Med students

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Fall 16-4-2010

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame Australia, Fremantle Campus

Publication Place



Aboriginal housing, sanitation and water supply, the effects of unemployment and educational problems, socio-economic status, access problems to nutritional foods are just some of the issues to be considered by 1st Year medical students studying at The University of Notre Dame Australia’s Fremantle Campus.

The topic: Introduction to Indigenous Health and Health Care - A Historical and Contemporary View, was launched this week by Associate Professor Clive Walley who was appointed in January as the Head of Indigenous Health.

Students will be required to study the social, environmental and lifestyle factors which impact on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.

Dean of the School of Medicine, Professor Gavin Frost said that the appointment of an Indigenous academic to deliver the curriculum was important to the success of this critical area of Australian health care delivery.

“Associate Professor Walley brings extensive knowledge and expertise in this area. He will also invite other Indigenous speakers who will address other topics and issues such as; the diversity and culture of Aboriginal groups prior to colonisation of Australia, the beginning of post- colonisation and government policies affecting Aboriginal people’s lifestyle, health and general well-being, and strategies of ways to work with Aboriginal clients, families and their communities on health.

Associate Professor Walley said that it is vital that students have an understanding of the health issues facing Indigenous people.

“Understanding the role of medical practitioners and the medical profession with respect to Indigenous health and what actions can be taken by individuals and organisations to reduce Indigenous health inequalities is essential if we are to be successful in delivering health care to the Indigenous population,” he explained.

“We need to promote an understanding and appreciation of Indigenous culture, identity, and diversity amongst the Indigenous populations around Australia and how to apply this understanding in a health care setting.”

Media contact:

Michelle Ebbs
08 9433 0610, 0408 959 138