The unacceptable inequity in health and life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Australia is well known (Close the Gap Campaign Steering Committee 2016). Successful programs to improve the health of Indigenous Australians require a well-trained workforce that understands the importance of a holistic approach to health care that takes into account the social, emotional, cultural and economic contexts of people’s lives (Osbourne, Baum & Brown 2013; Australian Government 2013).
In 2004 the Committee of Deans of Australian Medical Schools commissioned, endorsed and published the Indigenous Health Curriculum Framework (henceforth, CDAMS Framework) to aid the development and implementation of Indigenous health content in core medical education (Phillips 2004). Aspects of the CDAMS Framework were then incorporated into the Australian Medical Council accreditation standards for medical schools (Australian Medical Council 2006).
From 2010 to 2012, the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at Monash University worked with Indigenous and non-Indigenous academic staff to build knowledge and to improve practices with regards to the teaching and learning of Indigenous health in the faculty. This included a review of the curriculum and the faculty’s implementation of the CDAMS Framework. Although some progress was made, in 2013 academic staff from the faculty (Authors 1 and 2) attended the Leaders In Indigenous Medical Education conference in Darwin and identified that there was still a need to improve Indigenous health teaching and curriculum to ensure consistency with best practice and policy. It was determined that this was necessary not just in Medicine, but across all of the faculty’s health profession disciplines.
The aim of the initial phase of the project described here was to work under the guidance of the Indigenous academics in the faculty to review the applicability of the learning outcomes of the medical-focused CDAMS Framework for other health disciplines both in the Faculty of Medicine Nursing and Health Sciences and in the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.