Growing the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander specialists requires more than just increasing the number of medical students and graduates – as important as that is. It also requires specialist colleges to understand, practice and promote cultural safety.
In an important step towards that goal, specialist medical colleges have agreed to implement a total of 15 standards, developed in collaboration with Australian Indigenous Doctors' Association (AIDA) and aimed at improving the recruitment and retention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander doctors into specialties. This report provides the first report of colleges’ self-assessment against those standards.
- As part of their advocacy role, specialist medical colleges have a responsibility to take a public stance by developing and publicising position statements on issues relevant to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and workforce. These positions statements should be completed in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and organisations.
- All specialist medical colleges need to develop an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health strategy. The strategy should include approaches for trainees and members to respectfully connect with their local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
- All members of specialist medical colleges need to undergo ongoing and accredited cultural safety training as part of professional development activities. Colleges also need to exert their influence to maximise the cultural safety of the training settings and providers they accredit.