Healthy growth: UWS forges new ties with Tharawal community

Date: 17/12/2009

South Western Sydney Indigenous communities and University of Western Sydney medical students will soon benefit from closer ties between the University and the Tharawal Aboriginal Corporation (TAC).

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to guide discussions on future collaborations was signed by the Dean of the UWS School of Medicine, Professor Alison Jones, and TAC CEO, Daryl Wright at a ceremony at the Tharawal Aboriginal Corporation on Wednesday 9 December.

Professor Jones says the MoU is an important step on the path to further enhance the clinical experience of UWS medical students in a variety of community settings.

"It's essential our students receive deep immersion in diverse, real-life medical settings which include local community health centres and GPs as well as major teaching hospitals," says Professor Jones.

In 2009, three UWS medical students worked with TAC in South West Sydney as part their General Practice 'medicine-in-context' rotation.

"Through building on our connection with Tharawal Aboriginal Corporation we hope to establish new pathways for teaching students in the MBBS program and produce graduates who are confident and comfortable working in a variety of medical and community health settings," she says.

Professor Jones says the MoU will also provide a foundation to identify collaborative research opportunities that will work towards 'closing the gap' for Indigenous communities in Western Sydney.

Tharawal Aboriginal Corporation CEO, Daryl Wright, welcomes the closer ties with UWS.

"Improving the health of Aboriginal communities is a national priority which requires a variety of approaches, including providing the next generation of doctors with the skills, expertise and community knowledge which will bring tangible benefits to Aboriginal Australians," says Mr Wright.

Mutual staff exchange programs will also be discussed as part of the MoU which will broaden the professional expertise of both organisations.

The agreement with TAC is part of broad strategy in the UWS School of Medicine to build connections with Indigenous communities and health services across Greater Western Sydney.

All 5th year MBBS program students will complete a rotation dedicated to Indigenous health.

Tharawal Aboriginal Corporation is a community controlled health organisation that provides a number of services to the Aboriginal population of South Western Sydney, ranging from clinical practices to child care. TAC has over 25 years of operational experiences and comes from a community perspective with its main focus on "closing the gap" and providing professional services to the Aboriginal community within the Tharawal boundaries. It also has a national and international focus on Indigenous health and cultural issues.

The UWS School of Medicine currently has over 300 students and received its first intake of students in 2007. It is one Australia's newest medical schools and provides the opportunity for hundreds of aspiring doctors and medical specialists from across Sydney's west to stay, train and work in the region.



Senior Media Officer

Paul Grocott
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