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Monash Rural Health launches Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander framework

Callan Morse -

Monash Rural Health's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander framework was launched last month.

The launch event saw Monash Rural Health staff, representatives from local health services including Mallee District Aboriginal Services, schools and community organisations come together in Mildura to jointly support the 2021-2030 framework.

Monash Rural Health head of school, Professor Shane Bullock, said the framework represents a commitment from Monash Rural Health to support future Indigenous health professionals.

"The framework lays out the blueprint for the way in which our School will engage with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across the Monash Rural Health footprint," Professor Bullock said.

"We want to listen respectfully to communities and together identify ways in which we can create study and career opportunities for their young people within culturally safe environments."

Monash Rural Health's Aboriginal Communities Engagement Lead, David Byrnes speaking at the launch. (Image: Monash University)

The framework highlights Monash Rural Health's commitment to creating a culturally safe environment for students and staff, and developing a medical workforce to meet the health needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Monash Rural Health says it is committed to implementing the framework's four framing pillars, those being: upholding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge and respecting students, staff and community, increasing the participation and supporting success of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives and content into curriculum and growing research contributions to address and serve the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities.

Monash Rural Health's Aboriginal Communities Engagement Lead, David Byrnes, said work is already underway to meet the framework's four pillars, including providing opportunities for Aboriginal secondary school students to learn more about careers in health through hands-on activities delivered by Monash medical students.

"We have been working closely with our local secondary schools to provide the students an opportunity to see what Monash Rural Health can offer and how we can work towards creating a career pathway into Medicine or Allied Health," Mr Byrnes said.

Tracy Wise alongside her artwork Koote Wurrin (One Day). (Image: Monash University)

"We look forward to expanding activities these in 2024."

To celebrate the framework's launch, Barkindji Ngiyampaa Maligundidj artist Tracy Wise created an artwork, titled Koote Wurrin (One Day in GunaiKurnai language) which features on the Framework booklet's cover.

At the launch, Ms Wise shared the story behind the artwork, which is inspired by the creators Bunjil and Waa, Emu and Brolga and Borun and Tuk.

The artwork reflects the colours of the sky, the landscape, the waters and the sea, and each First Nations group within Monash Rural Health's locations; Dja Dja Wurrung, Latji Latji, Ngintait, Gunakurnai and Bunurong/Boonwurrung of the south east Kulin Nation and the relationship with Monash Rural Health.

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