CEO update June 2022 WardRound
Having just celebrated our 25th anniversary on Gadigal Land, I have had many occasions this year to pause and reflect on our achievements and how they have impacted on our vision of attaining equitable health and life outcomes for our people. Our anniversary celebrations on 4 June has reminded me of the distance we have travelled, and the influence our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander doctors have had on the landscape of Australian medicine. I want to thank everyone who attended and supported our Gala – your advocacy will ensure AIDA can continue its essential work in the health space.
Earlier this month, I attended the Australian College of Dermatology (ACD) Annual Scientific Symposium on Kaurna country. Associate Professor Shannon Springer and Cultural Educator Vicky Cosgrove delivered AIDA’s Cultural Safety Workshop to a large cohort of supervisors and senior doctors attending the Symposium, which was well received. It was a proud moment when I attended the ACD conferring ceremony where four of our members were conferred Fellowship, making it one of the largest cohorts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Fellows to graduate in one year. My warmest congratulations to Drs Dana Slape, Crystal Williams, Artiene Tatian, and Thomas Barrett. A special congratulations to Dr Dana Slape on being first Aboriginal dermatologist in the country! With senior AIDA Member Associate Prof Kelvin Kong giving the John Reid Oration, seeing such strong representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people supporting one another was a powerful and unforgettable moment for me.
After two years of not coming together it was a pleasure to host our Student Representative Committee (SRC) on Ngunnawal/Ngambri land in April. This is year, our SRC came together to discuss their annual SRC project and other initiatives to support our students. We were also pleased to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Australian Medical Association Student Association (AMSA) which will enable us to work together on improving our medical students’ journey through medical school. Yarning with our student Members and hearing about their journeys into medicine was another powerful reminder of the importance of supporting future generations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander doctors, and the impact it has on our communities.
I also wish to acknowledge this year’s election and especially celebrate the remarkable achievements of First Nations candidates on all sides of politics in both Houses of Parliament. We speak of the importance of representation, and this year we have seen a historic win for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representation in governance. I wish to congratulate every successful candidate as well as every Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person elected or re-elected to the Parliament. A special congratulations to Wiradjuri man Dr Gordon Reid, an Indigenous emergency doctor who won the seat of Robertson in NSW.
We continue to work with our partners and stakeholders to provide culturally safe and supported medical education and training for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medical students and doctors. We are currently working towards renewing our MoU with the Medical Deans Australia and New Zealand (MDANZ), as well as developing the first MoU between AIDA and the Australian Medical Association, who attended our Cultural Safety workshop on 21 May 2022. Both MoUs will formally recognise our joint goals to increase and retain Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander doctors and will embed a Partnership approach in how we work together in future. I am confident that these two important collaborations will continue to provide greater support and better pathways for our medical students and doctors to graduate with higher success rates.
With our Gala celebrations completed, we are now looking forward to our annual conference on 4-6 October on Yugambeh Country. Make sure to save the date and visit our website for more information!
Until next time, stay safe, stay deadly, and stay connected. Remember AIDA is only a phone call away.
Chief Executive Officer.