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A decade of RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health


Morgan Liotta


19/11/2020 1:06:06 PM

The faculty has marked its 10-year anniversary with a book detailing its history, milestones and achievements.

Ten-year anniversary book
The book ‘symbolises our commitment to raising awareness of the health needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities throughout Australia.’

Faculty history, recognition in the GP workforce, and a strong presence at GP20 demonstrates the RACGP’s leadership and commitment in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.
 
To commemorate the 10-year anniversary of RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, the faculty has published a book detailing its history, milestones and achievements – Working together: A history of the National Faculty of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health.
 
‘This book symbolises our commitment to raising awareness of the health needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities throughout Australia,’ Chair of RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Professor Peter O’Mara told newsGP.
 
‘We invite members to take a walk through our history, detailing the achievements of our faculty and ongoing commitment to closing the health gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous Australians.’
 
Established in February 2010 as a result of the dedication and vision of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members and community partners, alongside committed non-Indigenous members with a long history of involvement in this area, the faculty has enabled a collaborative approach in developing the new health curriculum, education and support programs.
 
In his foreword for the new book, Professor O’Mara said one of the unique strengths of the faculty is its structure and collaboration with partners to embed primary healthcare that is culturally safe, accessible, effective and valued by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
 
‘Many people have been involved in this work over the period covered by this history,’ he wrote.
 
‘[The faculty] exists to ensure all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people receive holistic clinical and culturally responsive primary care from GPs so that they can enjoy long and healthy lives.
 
‘It has been core to the work of the RACGP in our commitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, from the days of the Aboriginal Health Unit and National Standing Committee, to now as a national faculty.’

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Chair Professor Peter O’Mara says the faculty ‘exists to ensure all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people receive holistic clinical and culturally responsive primary care’.

To acknowledge outstanding work in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, the faculty recently awarded the 2020 recipients of the its annual awards – the Standing Strong Together Award, Growing Strong Award and Medical Student Bursary.
 
The faculty also has a strong presence at this year’s RACGP conference for general practice, GP20, with live and on-demand sessions, including:

  • Celebrating new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Fellows’ training journey and contribution to general practice
  • ‘Hear from the faculty’ session
  • ‘Racism is the public health crisis we can no longer ignore: The role of the GP’
With over 11,000 members, RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health is focused on continuing to close the gap, growing the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander GP workforce and ensuring high-quality culturally responsive care.
 
The GP workforce has seen a 55% increase of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students studying medicine over the past three years, according to the 2020 General Practice: Health of Nation report found, and more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medical graduates choose general practice over any other specialty.

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L–R: Dr Tim Senior; Tharawal CEO Darryl Wright; faculty manager Leanne Bird; and Professor Peter O’Mara.

‘The history of the faculty marks the leadership the RACGP has in this space, and I look forward to improving that leadership through the work of the faculty and help pave the way for future generations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander doctors,’ Professor O’Mara said.
 
‘In another 10 years’ time, I hope to see parity in healthcare for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across the country.
 
‘I think general practice is well placed to help achieve this goal. The faculty and the college will be instrumental in ensuring this goal is realised.’
 
Working together: A history of the National Faculty of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health is available to purchase from the RACGP shop.
 
The full Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health GP20 program is available on the conference website.
 
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