LIME Connection III: Advancing Indigenous Health: Workforce Innovations

The Leaders in Indigenous Medical Education (LIME) biennial conference, LIME Connection was held in Melbourne on 3 – 4 December 2009, with a pre-conference Indigenous Caucus at the Institute of Koorie Education in Geelong on 2 December. The conference was an outcome of the LIME Network, a Medical Deans Australia and New Zealand Project hosted by the Onemda VicHealth Koori Health Unit within the School of Population Health at The University of Melbourne. The conference was held under the auspices of Medical Deans, the Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association and Te ORA (Te Ohu Rata O Aotearoa) Maori Medical Practitioners Association of Aotearoa.

The LIME Connection provided an opportunity in which quality review, professional development, networking, capacity-building and advocacy functions of the network were actualised. The target audience for the Connection included Indigenous and non-Indigenous medical educators, Indigenous health specialists, policy makers, health professionals, community members, medical students and general practitioners from Australia, New Zealand, and further afield to discuss innovative approaches in Indigenous medical education and the experiences of practitioners. It also attracted educators and professionals from allied health and nursing. It aimed to encourage and support collaboration within and between medical schools and to build multi-disciplinary and multi-sectoral linkages. The LIME Connection also hosted the Limelight Awards which acknowledged and celebrated the many successes in Indigenous medical education.

The LIME Connection III program format was streamlined it into a two-day program with a pre-conference Indigenous Caucus. We aimed to maximise sharing through concurrent sessions and facilitated workshops and to encourage the participation of clinicians through the provision of an RACGP and ACRRM accredited Active Learning Modules. The Indigenous Caucus brought together Indigenous practitioners, medical educators, students and community members to share their experiences about workforce development, innovations in the field and strategies for the future. There was also the opportunity to take part in our events program that included food by local Indigenous caterers, entertainment and guided site tours.

The 2009 conference focused on ‘Advancing Indigenous Health: Workforce Innovations’. Specifically, the Conference addressed leading practice approaches to integrating Indigenous health into medical education and workplace training. In addition, the Conference provided an opportunity to discuss and challenge some current practices and discuss emerging tools and techniques to drive continuous improvement in outcomes for Indigenous health.

Keynote speakers

LIMElight Awards 2009

The 2009 LIMElight Awards were presented by the Hon Warren Snowdon at the Official LIME Connection III Dinner and were given in recognition of the significant and outstanding work of staff, students and medical schools in the teaching and learning of Indigenous health in medical education, as well as Indigenous student recruitment. These awards acknowledge innovative programmes or initiatives which address critical issues, bring people together collaboratively and implement innovative solutions.

These awards were judged by a panel consisting of:

  • A/Prof. Marlene Drysdale – Monash University
  • Dr David Jansen -Te ORA
  • Mr Romlie Mokak – AIDA
  • Prof. Neville Yeomans – Former Dean, University of Western Sydney
Award Winner

Leading innovation in curriculum implementation
This award category recognises the implementation of Indigenous health content in medical curricula

The Centre for Aboriginal Medical and Dental Health
The University of Western Australia

Leading innovation in Indigenous student recruitment, support and graduation

Dr Elana Taipapaki Curtis
The University of Auckland

Leading innovation in community engagement

No winner

‘LIMElight Leadership Award’ for outstanding leadership by an individual
This award recognises an individual who has made a distinguished contribution to Indigenous Medical education

Professor Ian Anderson
The University of Melbourne

Professor Helen Milroy
The University of Western Australia

Student Award
This award recognises a student who has been involved in leadership activities e.g. encouraging Indigenous students to undertake medicine, supporting fellow students in the university setting or participation in Indigenous medical education forums

Ms Danielle Arabena
The University of Queensland

High Commendation for a Student
(presented with a certificate)

Ms Courtney Hore 
University of Otago

LIME Conference III Recommendations
  1. That Universities develop an articulated and shared vision across the whole of faculty with regard to Indigenous health. This should be supported by a strong curriculum to be led and overseen by the Dean and supported with adequate resources and time within teaching schedules.
  2. That engagement and training of clinicians who are working with medical students should be prioritised to ensure continuity of teaching and learning around Indigenous health. The conference recognises that the vertical integration of Indigenous health curricula into postgraduate training is essential to improving the health of Indigenous people.
  3. That recruitment pathways into health disciplines should be innovative and widely promoted to Indigenous school children and communities. Training Indigenous doctors is seen to be of high importance by the conference and adequate student support throughout tertiary training is seen as crucial to ensuring student retention.
  4. That models of partnership between medical schools and Indigenous communities and local Indigenous Health Services are given priority so as to optimise the way Indigenous health is taught within the medical curricula.
  5. That Indigenous academic leadership needs to be prioritised and developed in a way that is sustainable, and has a broad health science focus, not just a medicine focus.
  6. That mentorship and peer networks continue to be supported as there is an ongoing need for engagement and sharing between those in the field to ensure knowledge development and dissemination.

In conclusion, there is significant work still to be done across curriculum, student recruitment and retention, and the LIME Connection is an appropriate forum to support the realisation of these aspirations. The Indigenous Caucus is also an important forum and should be continued as part of future LIME Connections.


Host Universities


Connection Sponsors


Pen and Notepad Sponsors