Executive Summary


In 2012 General Practice Education and Training commissioned the University of Western Sydney, who subcontracted with Urbis, to conduct research aimed at developing the evidence base to support training in cultural competence for doctors working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This research is aimed to inform a proposed National Framework for Cultural Competence in Prevocational and Vocational General Practice Training.

Letters of support for the research were provided by the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation and its affiliate organisations and ethics approval was received from the Human Research Ethics Committees of the University of Western Sydney, New South Wales Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council, Northern Territory Department of Health and the Menzies School of Health Research as well as the Central Australia Human Research Ethics Committee, Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia Aboriginal Health Research Ethics Committee and Western Australian Aboriginal Health Ethics Committee.

The research was framed at all times by the research outcomes and research questions developed by General Practice Education and Training Cultural Educators and Cultural Mentors and reflected in the contract between General Practice Education and Training and the University of Western Sydney.

Research methods

A mixed methods approach was used, collecting data from a range of sources including a review of the literature, online and paper-based surveys, face to face and telephone interviews and guided discussion with the General Practice Education and Training Cultural Educators and Mentors Network members at a national workshop. All participants were provided with the ethics approved participant information statement and completed a standard participant consent form.

The data from each of the above sources was analysed in consultation with a team of three experienced Cultural Educators/ Mentors who were part of the research team. A General Practice Education and Training convened Cultural Educator/Cultural Mentor Reference Group further advised on all aspects of the research.

Key findings

In section 3 of the report a synopsis of the key findings of the literature review, the surveys and the interviews and focus groups is presented. The more detailed reports related to each methodology can be found in three appendices. In the discussion (section 4), the findings across all three arms of the research are integrated and key learning from the research considered.

Participants in the research included people in a range of roles in each of the 17 Regional Training Providers, including nominated representatives of 13 Regional Training Providers. Participants included Regional Training Provider delegates such as Chief Executive Officers or other senior staff such as Directors of Medical Education, Medical Educators, representatives of affiliated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Training Posts, Cultural Educators, Cultural Mentors, and General Practice Registrars and Junior Doctors. Within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Training Posts we consulted with Chief Executive Officers and their delegates, Aboriginal Health Workers, General Practice Supervisors and other relevant Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander staff. Representatives of a wide range of key stakeholder organisations were also consulted. Details of the research participants are found in section 1.4 of this report.