First Peoples Health Unit opens at Griffith

Improving the social, emotional and cultural wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People is the aim of Griffith University’s First People’s Health Unit (FPHU).

The new unit — which was opened by Mr Linus Power, Member for Logan representing The Honourable Cameron Dick MP, Minister for Health on 25 August – will provide high level indigenous leadership and strategic direction on First People’s health in the areas of learning and teaching, research, and community engagement to position Griffith as a leader in this field.
“The unit will see Griffith become a university of choice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people wanting a career in health and for the wider population wanting to gain a broader understanding of indigenous health,” says Professor Roianne West.
Charged with the development of the FPHU’s learning and teaching plan, including implementation of a group wide First People’s Health Education Framework, Professor West will lead the development of First People’s Health Education undergraduate and postgraduate Health courses and curricula.
“The FPHU is committed to First People’s student success towards a more highly skilled, highly educated health workforce.
“Currently Griffith University has 8,500 students studying within its Health Group, with 170 of these identifying as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students. This is believed to be one of the highest figures for a university in Australia.
“Despite this, the new unit is now undertaking a commitment to increase these numbers to around 250 at a minimum.
“This would represent 3 per cent of the health student population and therefore bring us into parity with the general student population.
“The unit is also committed to attracting and retaining excellent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff, an important strategy for designing a future to which young indigenous health professionals can aspire,” says Professor West.
The FPHU will also establish and lead research in First People’s Health, as well as foster enhanced collaborations with the Menzies Health Institute Queensland and schools within the Griffith Health Group.
”Griffith Health is committed to ensuring its graduates have the skills and knowledge required to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with health conditions,” says Professor Nick Buys, Griffith Health Group.
“We need to ensure graduates have the cultural capability to deliver services in this area, while at the same time attract students of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander background to undertake health degrees and enter the health professions.”