Closing the gap in health outcomes between Australia’s First Peoples and other Australians is the aim of the Griffith Health First Peoples Health Plan 2016-2022.
Launched by the University in the same week as the Nation celebrates Close The Gap Day (Thursday 17 March), the plan aims to increase First Peoples Health graduate numbers ensuring its wider graduates have the necessary education and training.
“The vision is for Griffith Health to be influential leaders valuing collective knowledge towards better health outcomes for Australia’s First Peoples,” Professor Roianne West from Griffith’s First Peoples Health Unit , said.
“Major strategies include positioning Griffith Health as a faculty of choice for undergraduate and postgraduate future First Peoples students and an employer of choice for First Peoples health staff.
“Aligning with Griffith University’s broader strategic plan, its focus is to set an agenda for practical change and places First Peoples cultures at the centre.
I also believe we are the first university in the country to have a plan such as this at the health faculty level.”
A wider target from Universities Australia
Professor West highlights the increase in First Peoples Health students at Griffith and says it relates to the wider target from Universities Australia to lift the enrolment and completion rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.
“Currently Griffith University has 8,500 students studying within its Health Group, with nearly 334 of these now identifying as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students.
This figure is a significant increase on the number we had at the opening of the First Peoples Health Unit back in 2015 and is believed to be one of the highest figures for a health faculty of any Australian university”.
In 2016, Griffith graduated 45 Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students from Health Programs.
“These results clearly demonstrate how well we are working towards increased indigenous participation rates,” Professor West said.
The Dean of Learning and Teaching at Griffith Health, Professor Nick Buys said the plan demonstrates how fully committed Griffith Health is to closing the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.