This paper summarises some of the major issues for medical schools in Aboriginal health and lists recommendations made to the Council of Deans of Australian Medical Schools in August 1997.
Medical schools, as important health training providers, have a significant contribution to make towards long term improvement in Aboriginal health, however the current contributions of Australia’s Medical Schools are less than optimal. The two main areas of concern are the limited teaching on Aboriginal health to all students and the severe under representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in Australia’s medical courses.
There have been many reports recommending curriculum reform for medical schools to accommodate Aboriginal Health. In particular, reports such as The National Aboriginal Health Strategy (National Aboriginal Health Strategy Working Party 1989) and the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (Johnson 1991), made very clear recommendations regarding the inclusion of Aboriginal Health in medical and para-medical curricula.
They recommended that: compulsory study of Aboriginal culture, history and health issues be a part of the core curriculum; Aboriginal people be involved both in the development and teaching of these units; and culturally appropriate postgraduate and continuing education programs be developed in conjunction with professional organisations.