Subject Areas and Key Student Attributes

The table of key subject areas that make up learning about the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, show how these subject areas might fit into the overall medical education domains or theme areas, and lists the types of attributes and outcomes students might be expected to achieve as a result of the delivery of this content.

Subject area

Relevant themes

Key student attributes and outcomes


D & S


Summarise Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander history as a continuum from pre-contact to the present.

Identify, acknowledge & analyse one’s own emotional reactions to this history.

Explain the connection between history and present health outcomes, including the forms & impacts of racism.

Culture, Self & Diversity

D & S

P & PD


Identify, acknowledge & analyse one’s own cultural values & reflect on their implications for health care.

Describe & explore the influence of culture on perspectives, attitudes, assumptions, beliefs & behaviours.

Identify & analyse the epistemological construction of Western medical knowledge & how this might differ between cultures.

Acknowledge & analyse the limitations of one’s own knowledge & perspectives, & incorporate new ways of seeing, valuing & understanding with regard to Indigenous health practice.

Indigenous Societies, Cultures & Medicines

D & S


P & PD

Describe the key features of Indigenous Australian identity, languages, societies, cultures & spirituality.

Explain Indigenous concepts of health & illness, including social & emotional well-being.

Outline the process of learning in Indigenous cultures.

Demonstrate ways of respectfully acquiring cultural information.

Identify the essential features of Indigenous medicine & outline the implications for doctor–patient interactions, including ways of respectfully working with Indigenous healing and spiritual practitioners.

Identify protocols & processes for referrals & for utilising support from Aboriginal Health Workers (AHWs) & other Indigenous health/support professionals. 

Population Health

 D & S



List key health indicators for Indigenous Australians, including; characteristics of mortality and morbidity, population distributions & pyramids.

Demonstrate how concepts drawn from medicine & epidemiology were used to support the process of colonisation of Indigenous peoples.

Identify & demonstrate the impact of social determinants on Indigenous health, including specific health issues uncommon to the broader population.

Assess the strengths and limitations of available data used as key indicators of Indigenous health.

Explain the impact of culture on prevention, definition, diagnosis & treatment of illness.

Identify the key principles of successful health surveillance including partnership, ownership, consultation & action research.

Models of Health Service Delivery

D & S


P & PD

Outline the concept of inequity of access & the factors which contribute to it.

Identify ways of redressing inequity (i.e., making clinics culturally safe, employing Indigenous staff, referrals to Indigenous services.

Describe the historical development of Aboriginal initiatives, including the community-controlled sector & AHWs. Reflect on lessons from these initiatives that can be applied in other health sectors.

Analyse the role & effect of comprehensive Indigenous primary health care, including selfdetermination, community control, collaboration, partnership & ownership.

Identify features of effective Indigenous health promotion & general practice programs.

Assess the features, strengths and limitations of community-controlled, private & government health service delivery.

Outline key Indigenous health policies & strategies.

Clinical Presentation of Disease



Diagnose & treat illnesses & cases of injury with both Indigenous & non-Indigenous patients.

Identify & analyse issues in diagnosing, treating & preventing illness in Indigenous patients.

Describe the concept of social & emotional well-being & demonstrate culturally safe diagnosis, treatment & prevention of ‘lifestyle diseases’.

Identify & analyse community-wide approaches to prevention.

Demonstrate understanding of age- related morbidity differences & their impact on client care.

Communication Skills


D & S

P & PD

Demonstrate effective and culturally safe communication with Indigenous patients.

Identify features of overt, subtle & structural discrimination in interactions between patients & health professionals & systems.

Identify ways to address such occurrences & acquire skills to advocate for their resolution.

Demonstrate skills in effective consultation and collaboration with AHWs & other professionals & support resources.

Working with Indigenous Peoples - Ethics, Protocols & Research.


D & S

P & PD

Analyse the concepts of community development, ownership, consultation, empowerment, research capacity-building, reciprocity & respect. Explain their roles in health care delivery & working / researching with Indigenous individuals & communities.

Identify key principles in developing collaborative & ethical relationships with Indigenous peoples.

Identify key community contacts, mentors & support structures in the provision of effective health care.

Describe the role of partnership,ownership & ethics in developing appropriate research methodology.

D &S Doctor & Society
P & PD Personal & Professional Development
DP/CS Doctor & Patient / Clinical Skills
SBM Scientific Basis of Medicine

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