CEO update August 2022

09 Aug 2022
CEO News

Dear Members,  

Having just celebrated International Day of the World’s Indigenous People on 9 August, I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander doctors and medical students, and the unique insights and value you bring to our health system. I also want to acknowledge the significant role our Traditional Custodians and Elders play in keeping traditional knowledge alive.  

As the AIDA Conference 2022 grows near, we are excited about the many opportunities we will be providing our delegates this year. With only seven weeks to our Conference, make sure to register now. We look forward to seeing you on Yugambeh Country in October! 

I am pleased to share that our Specialist Trainee Support Program has been going from strength to strength. Since its launch in March 2022, our team, led by Dr Karen Nicholls, has provided tailored one-on-one support to over 12 Trainees, and helped over ten potential trainees with individualised advice and coaching on pathways and interview preparation. We were also very pleased to welcome another AIDA Doctor Member, Dr Angela Forrest, to the STSP Team, who will be creating a suite of resources to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander trainees and potential trainees. We will also be hosting our first Specialist Trainee face-to-face workshop on Yugambeh Country (Gold Coast) following our Conference on 7 and 8 October.  All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander trainees (AIDA Members and non-Members) are invited to register for this free workshop. This workshop will provide a culturally safe opportunity to connect with your peers and engage in education and professional development to support your success on your training journey. See below for details on how to register.  

We were pleased to work closely with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) on this year’s Medical Training Survey. Following the results of the 2021 survey, AIDA provided feedback to the Medical Board of Australia and Ahpra on amending its questions to better capture data on racism towards medical trainees. This resulted in the 2022 MTS including the question on racism as a stand-alone category under Questions 40 and 41a. Hearteningly, the Board and Ahpra have also included an additional statement for Question 49 to capture data on whether trainees have received training on how to provide culturally safe care. Previously Ahpra only measured discrimination in general, making it hard to quantify racism occurring across the medical training spectrum. Measurement is critical for evaluating efforts to reduce racism, and in ensuring all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients receive culturally safe care. To that end, we encourage our Members to undertake this year’s MTS so that the extent of racism can be measured and meaningful action can be taken towards changing the culture of medicine.  

On 29 March 2022, the Senate referred an inquiry into the application of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in Australia to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee for inquiry and report by 15 September 2022. AIDA made a submission to this inquiry, focused on self-determination and the application of UNDRIP in relation to Indigenous health, self-determination as it pertains to aspirations to become a doctor, as well as self-determination in accessing health care. You can access this and more of our submissions here.  

Thank you for being a valued Member of AIDA – I look forward to seeing you at Conference! 

Warm regards,  

Helen Roben 

A/g Chief Executive Officer  

09 Aug 2022