Resources, Capacity & Workforce Development Issues

Following are a list of resources most likely to contribute to maximum success in medical schools, as well as suggestions for utilising capacity and resources most effectively.

Area

Suggested Resources

Utilising Alternatives

Human Resources

  • Indigenous staff across the school, including dedicated roles in three separate areas: academia, Indigenous student support & retention, & administration.
  • Non-Indigenous academics trained in cultural awareness and/or co-teaching with Indigenous staff.
  • Indigenous external professionals and community members as guest/adjunct lecturers.
  • Train general student support staff in Indigenous health to work with non-Indigenous students, rather than expecting the Indigenous student officer to deal with all students’ issues about Indigenous health.
  • Utilise available Indigenous and non-Indigenous staff with experience in the area to co-ordinate staff training and community input into curriculum development.
  • Utilise the skills of external Indigenous academics on a casual basis.
  • Partner with Indigenous education centres and communities.
  • Invite external guest lecturers with experience in Indigenous health to contribute to teaching, e.g., The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has an accredited Indigenous health module.

Operations & Management

  • Establish an Indigenous health unit within the medical school, rather than relying only on Indigenous education centres. These Indigenous health units should be strategically placed such that they work across the school, rather than in any one department alone.
  • Ensure funding is sustainable and on-going, not project/ad hoc funding, and that it increases over time in line with growing workloads & curriculum development.
  • Develop clear guidelines between the Indigenous education centre and the Indigenous health unit on Indigenous medical student recruitment/retention.
  • Utilise the Indigenous centre on campus for curriculum development and Indigenous student support(with clear guidelines).
  • Develop a sustainable funding model with Commonwealth and State governments and other potential funding partners where responsibility is shared.

Currciculum Materials

  • Develop materials with local relevance and, if possible,national applicability.
  • Develop, implement and review materials in partnership with local Indigenous groups.
  • Design curriculum with vertical integration in mind.
  • Consider sharing resources, or adapting resources developed in other schools.
  • Utilise Indigenous education centres or partnership groups as first point of reference for sourcing materials and
    assessing applicability.

Curriculum Support

  • Community partnerships group supported with incidental travel and catering expenses.
  • Consider how much and what should be given back to the Indigenous community financially in return for student placements.
  • On-going relationships with Indigenous community groups & traditional owners.
  •  Develop ways of sharing in-kind medical school resources or expertise with community groups.
  • Work collaboratively with other medical schools to develop and share flexible, yet applicable,curriculum materials and strategies.

 Teaching and Learning Resources

  •  Develop resources that are locally appropriate, yet broadly relatable. For example, for a medical school in Sydney, it may be appropriate to give an example of gastroenteritisin an Indigenous infant in Redfern,and discuss the particular social situations impacting on treatment. Give the example, and then draw out principles of cultural and social context for other locations, such as if the infant came from Wilcannia or Parramatta. Care should be taken to understand the differences and similarities between urban, rural and remote Indigenous communities, and not to over-represent one area or group of Indigenous people in the curriculum.
  • Compile a ‘bank’ of references and teaching materials, and make it available to all staff and faculty members, thereby encouraging interdisciplinary learning, and saving on costs.

The Indigenous Theme Bank at the University of Tasmania is an excellent example of sharing resources across disciplines within a medical school. Local Indigenous groups can be included in developing and assessing the suitability of content and design.

  • Share resources and initiatives across medical schools; e.g.,developing a national staff development package may save dollars and assist in building a critical mass of medical educators, Indigenous healthspecialists, students and Indigenous community members. 
  • PBLs/cases can be shared, along with formal and informal evaluations of their impact. Material would need to be adapted to local cultural & social realities, as well as a particular curriculum structure, philosophy & strategy.
  • The RACGP & others have developed a long list of resources for teaching Aboriginal health that may also be useful for
    undergraduate teaching.