In November 2010 the Council of Presidents of Medical Colleges (CPMC), the peak medical specialist body in Australia, endorsed the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Medical Specialist Framework. The Framework is the result of a project commissioned by the CPMC Indigenous Health Sub-committee, and was undertaken by Shaun Ewen, Deputy Director of the Onemda VicHealth Koori Health Unit.

The Framework outlines nineteen strategies for action and reform in vocational graduate medical education in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) health. It gives effect to the CPMC’s commitment toward closing the gap in health status between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians by:

  • the successful recruitment and training of more Indigenous medical graduates as specialists
  • reforming the training curriculum to include Indigenous health perspectives so that Fellows and trainees are adequately equipped to work with ATSI people and their communities
  • reinforcing the need for a bi-lateral partnership with the Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association (AIDA) to achieve the aims and implementation of the Framework

The Medical Specialist Framework complements the Indigenous Health Curriculum Framework developed in 2004, by the Committee of Deans of Australian Medical Schools (CDAMS), to help medical schools develop and deliver Indigenous health content in their core medical curriculum. In 2006 the CDAMS Framework was incorporated in the Australian Medical Council’s standards for accreditation of medical schools. As a consequence, medical schools are required to report on its implementation as an integral part of their accreditation process.

The CPMC has secured funding from the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing to appoint a Project Officer to work with CPMC member colleges and the Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association to implement the Framework. The Project Officer will be hosted by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and will work under the direction of the CPMC Indigenous Health Sub-Committee.

For further information about the medical specialist framework project please email Les Apolony via E: