In 1983, the Admissions Committee and the Faculty Board debated a proposal for the admission and training of Aboriginal students at the University of Newcastle Medical School.
It was argued that there was a need for Aborigines to be admitted to medical schools. A report from the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs indicated that there was a particular need to increase the number of Aborigines undertaking medical training. This view was a result of the awareness of massive health deficits which Aborigines suffer, the need for a group to assume responsibility, wherever possible, for its own health and the disturbingly low per capita representation of the Aboriginal population being trained in the medical profession. It was argued that the Newcastle Medical School was a particularly appropriate site for such an endeavour, given its group orientation, active learning approach to medical education and its commitment to community health. The probability of success for Aborigines was seen as greater within such a structure than it would be in a more impersonal, lecture-dominated programme. The Newcastle education programme encourages collaboration rather than competition between students which, it was argued, might also assist Aboriginal students.