Determining the right balance of Indigenous health education in an undergraduate medical program in Australia – how did we do it?
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There are a number of national standards, educational frameworks and long lists of expected learning outcomes in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health that Australian medical schools are expected to achieve. A recent evaluation found that many universities struggled to meet the requirements into their already crowded curriculum and many were doing it poorly. Bond University on the Gold Coast was no exceptionwith good intent but mixed results. In 2011 Bond commenced a renewal of its curriculum. Part of the renewal process was to examine what Indigenous health was being taught across the curriculum and how to better meet the standards and guidelines set by the profession and the expectations of the community. That year Bond established an Indigenous health team to develop and implement cultural awareness and Indigenous health education across the 5 year MBBS program. This involved an extensive mapping process, the development of innovative processes and problem based learning cases to integrate the content across the program, as well as consulting with the local community and orientating staff as to why this was important. A critical part of this process was the introduction of a cultural immersion process in first year, which is thought to be the first time in Australia that it has been done so early in the program.This paper will report on the process used in identifying, developing, implementing and evaluating the Indigenous health content into the curriculum, and the challenges faced. It will also provide an overview of two of the innovations used and their success.
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