The ANU College of Medicine, Biology & Environment will develop and implement actions which support reconciliation within ANU. The commitments from schools within CMBE may differ due to their specific research and/or teaching focus.
Examples illustrating the flavor of existing research include: develop of vaccines against diseases most prevalent in Indigenous communities (e.g. work on Australian encephalitis in JCSMR), development of approaches to problematic alcohol and drug use, with an additional project focusing on prison populations (NCEPH), a community-initiated study involving health and social development in 1700 urban Aboriginal children attending Aboriginal Health centers (NCEPH), commissioning research on Indigenous identification in primary health care, and mental health in Indigenous communities (APHCRI), and work on environmental management of national parks, water resources, and caring for landscapes (Fenner)
Examples illustrating the flavor of educational involvement include: a) scholarships (e.g. the Baume Travelling Scholarship, which enables Indigenous postgraduate students to travel internationally in pursuit of research, the Leonard Broom scholarships which enable Indigenous students to undertake honors or summer research programs at NCEPH, the Duguid Travelling Scholarship which enables Indigenous students to undertake conference travel or to visit ANU, Forest & Wood Products Association scholarships for both honors and doctoral students). b) our flagship Master of Applied Epidemiology program, which has 29 Indigenous graduates, 12 of whom have subsequently enrolled in PhD programs; and c) welcome to country and guest lectures from local elders in first year environmental science courses in the Fenner School.
The CMBE RAP has been developed in consultation with all schools which CMBE encompasses. A sub-committee of the Indigenous Health Interest Group which has been in existence since 2008 was formed in 2010. The sub-committee comprises Indigenous and non-Indigenous staff, both academic and general from across CMBE.
The sub-committee identified key actions from the ANU RAP where activity had already been undertaken and looked at developing a timeline to implement changes which encompass the outcomes proposed in the ANU RAP. There are already a number of initiatives being undertaken by the ANU Medical School (ANUMS) to encourage Indigenous High School/College students to consider a career in health, and in particular to consider medicine as acareer.
Two workshops are held, the first at the ANUMS titled “Know Your Body” which allows students an opportunity to experience hands-on activities and meet Indigenous medical students and talk to staff from the Australian Indigenous Doctor’s Association. This gives the students exposure to the ANU campus. There is then a follow-up workshop at the Canberra Hospital (TCH) where the Indigenous students are introduced to a range of allied health professions and also participate in some hands-on activities.
The ANUMS also actively supports Indigenous applicants to prepare for the admission process into medicine. Support is provided through enrolling the student for GAMSAT, paying for tutoring and assisting the student through the enrolment process. The ANUMS has two identified positions for Indigenous students and has established a scholarship to support these positions.
It is essential that Indigenous students are not only encouraged to come to ANU to study but that they are also supported financially through mentorship programs, tutoring and access to the assistance provided by the Tjabal Indigenous Higher Education Centre. In 2010 the Indigenous Health Interest Group organized training in cultural competency: ‘Engaging our mob’ and a one day conference on Indigenous health.