On the 8th and 9th of April 2017, IAHA Chairperson, Ms Nicole Turner, and IAHA Director, Dr Danielle Dries, spoke at the ANU Rural Medical Society’s (ARMS) Close the Gap Conference in Canberra. The event, which was open to the public saw health students from the ACT, NSW and further afield come together to hear leaders talk about closing the gap.
ARMS, established in 2004 and is made up of ANU students across the four years of Doctor of Medicine and Surgery program who are passionate about rural medicine. IAHA has been supporting their Close the Gap event since 2015 when Ms Dries turned the event into the two-day conference it is today.
Ms Turner spoke to conference delegates on the Saturday and gave and workshop on Cultural Responsiveness Leadership on Sunday. The workshop attracted over 60 delegates and was well received by all participants. Many found the interactive approach gave them an opportunity to reflect on themselves and left with a new perspective to explore and bring with them into their personal and professional lives.
Dr Dries spoke of the event being an opportunity for IAHA to promote “We have had allied health students and nursing students attend for the last few years and we get many students from interstate universities which then get IAHA to run workshops at their unis. Sydney University got IAHA after our (ARMS) conference last year, and Newcastle was looking at having something similar at their uni this year.”
The event aims to have keynote speakers from different disciplines including allied health, nursing and a general practitioner. Ms Dries said “In the past we have had Justin Mohamed, as the previous CEO of NACCHO and now current CEO of Reconciliation Australia, we have had Jackie Huggins – Co-chair of National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples, Janine Mohamed CEO of CATSINaM and Luke Pearson founder of Indigenous X. We have also had key people who have worked in remote areas including Ms Kylie Stothers a social worker from Katherine and Dr Buddhi Lokuge author of ‘A Doctor’s dream’.”
This year the keynote speakers were Professor Gracelyn Smallwood, Ms Nicole Turner, Dr Danielle Dries, Dr Jason Agostino, and Dr Ray Lovett. Ms Amy Jarvis from the ANU heritage centre was also a keynote speaker who talked about the ANU history and the new ANU Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage trail which is opening this month which the students also got to go on.
Dr Dries said, “We have had over 130 students come to the conference for the last 3 years, and for the workshop we had 60-70 students this year.”
For more information on Culture responsiveness, you can request a copy Cultural Responsiveness in Action: An IAHA Framework here.