Helen Macpherson Smith Trust

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Case Study: Centre of Excellence for Aboriginal Health in East Gippsland

ProjectEast Gippsland Aboriginal Health Careers: Supporting Koorie students to access health professional training and employment

Amount$28,500

Date2016

ProgramEducation

TRUST OBJECTIVES PROJECT OBJECTIVES
Rural and regional Victoria Increasing the number of Aboriginal health professionals in East Gippsland leading to improved health outcomes of the local Aboriginal community
Supporting Indigenous Victoria Expanding the local education, training and  employment opportunities for young Koorie people in East Gippsland
Building organisational capacity Expanding organisational capacity to deliver the Aboriginal Health Careers strategy
Extending opportunity Increasing health profession opportunities for  Aboriginal students from East Gippsland
Collaboration and partnership Monash University School of Rural Health,local secondary schools, Bairnsdale Regional Health Service, Gippsland & East Gippsland Aboriginal Co-operative, Lakes Entrance Aboriginal Health Association, local medical, allied and other health practitioners

Building and supporting an Aboriginal health workforce in East Gippsland

Aboriginal people are more likely to engage with the health system if they have access to culturally appropriate services and Aboriginal health professionals. East Gippsland has the second largest Indigenous population in rural Victoria yet there are no Aboriginal doctors and very few nurses or other health practitioners in the region. CEAHEG's strategy targets local Indigenous school students to provide them with information, advice and encouragement on careers in health.

Image Students attend a health careers workshop

Based on extensive research and consultation, the Centre of Excellence for Aboriginal Health in East Gippsland (CEAHEG) has developed a community-led strategy for building and supporting an Aboriginal Health workforce through strategic engagement with Koorie school students considering their career options. The aim is to build the number of Indigenous health practitioners in the region and, ultimately, close the significant health gap experienced by the local Aboriginal population compared to that of the non-Aboriginal population.

  • HMSTrust’s grant enabled CEAHEG to expand its capacity and increase the Co-ordinator’s role from one to four days per week.
  • Delivery of the “Just Looking@Careers in Health” program involves young Aboriginal Year 8 and 9 students at secondary schools in Bairnsdale, Lakes Entrance and Orbost through workshops and camps.
  • The overall Aboriginal Health Careers strategy is delivered in collaboration with a range of partners through school-based programs, information and support for parents, student mentoring, and development of training and work placements.

“We are making our vision a reality”. Dr Doris Paton, Chairperson CEAHEG