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One of the most sustained and important areas for Indigenous development through the University of Western Australia has been in education. The ongoing success of tertiary education has yielded many Indigenous scholars across a variety of professional courses.
One that is vital however, is the graduation of Indigenous doctors. Not only do our Indigenous medical students contribute to the rich cultural life of the university, after graduation they contribute to the health and wellbeing of our communities. Many of our UWA Indigenous medical graduates have gone on to complete specialist training in General Practice, Psychiatry, General Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, and Paediatrics to name a few.
They contribute to the cultural safety of our health system and are likely to remain within the profession for the long term which of course is important when dealing with the health inequities we deal with every day.
In addition to our medical graduates, there has also been a significant and important rise in our academic and research scholars. The University of Western Australia now houses many important Indigenous-led research and academic initiatives being conducted through Western Australia.
Being able to connect with the many Indigenous communities WA by our Indigenous researchers and scholars has led to the development of many community and organisational partnerships which in turn has produced innovative Indigenous research to assist our communities.
Developing an Indigenous evidence base that is relevant to the health and wellbeing of our communities will contribute to long term sustainable improvements. UWA researchers have recently been awarded almost $5 million to create a new model of Indigenous mental health care. Professor Pat Dudgeon from the UWA Poche Centre and School of Indigenous Studies will lead the project, and researchers will work with Indigenous communities to develop clinically and culturally capable Indigenous mental health service models, testing them in ‘real world’ settings. The grant was awarded through the Federal Government’s Million Minds Mental Health Research Mission and the project will play a vital role in improving Indigenous health outcomes throughout Australia.
The growth in our Indigenous professional workforce also provides important role models for our kids so they can achieve their dreams.