The University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences is changing the way it delivers its courses and is moving to a more community-based clinical education and training model, to complement the hospital-based training that students receive.

The Faculty has developed the Community Responsiveness & Engagement through Streamed Clinical Education and Training (CRESCENT) project to facilitate these changes and to research how it can improve the way it teaches and prepares students to join the workforce. Focusing on the North and West metropolitan regions of Melbourne, an area with 25 percent of the state’s Aboriginal population, the CRESCENT Aboriginal Community Engagement sub-project aims to engage with Aboriginal services and organisations in the region, and those mainstream organisations that service a significant number of Aboriginal people, with the following objectives:

• To develop a planned and inter-professional approach to student placements in Aboriginal health;
• To provide an opportunity for students to experience an Aboriginal health clinical environment after appropriate cultural awareness training and to be involved in small public health projects that the community is interested in;
• To develop a best-practice model of engagement for health science students in Aboriginal health services, which could be modelled and adopted in other regions nationally;
• To inform and reform the faculty’s curricula with regard to community clinical placements in Aboriginal health.

An Aboriginal service mapping exercise and initial consultation has been completed from which seven core themes have emerged:

1. Cultural safety issues for Aboriginal health workers, patients/clients and students,
2. Aboriginal student access to tertiary education and Aboriginal student needs,
3. Limited community resources,
4. Planning, supervision and teaching,
5. Sustainability of models,
6. Inter-professional approach,
7. Partnerships, accountability and responsibility.

An advisory committee is currently being formed to consider these themes and implement the recommendations.

For more information:

Contact Shawana Andrews, Project Officer, CRESCENT Aboriginal Community Engagement Project, on +61 3 9035 8280 or via email: