Home' InDaily : March 25th 2010 Contents Vol21No2March2010|3
New home for teaching and research
Enhancing Indigenous health training
The commitment by two Aboriginal men
-- W and E Rubuntja -- to the advancement
of Indigenous people has been
recognised with the naming of a new
research and education building in Alice
Springs in their honour.
The W & E Rubuntja Research and
Medical Education Building will be the
new home for Flinders University's
Northern Territory Rural Clinical School
and the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes
Institute in Central Australia.
The new building, which is located within
the grounds of the Alice Springs Hospital,
will be an education and medical
research hub. Flinders will teach its NT
Medical Program -- which includes the
placement of trainee doctors in remote
Indigenous communities -- from the site.
Baker IDI will house its cardiovascular
and diabetes research in the new
building which will include a clinical
research facility for Indigenous patients.
and at the Centre for Remote Health in
Alice Springs -- is to increase the number
of Indigenous students studying
medicine, nursing and other health
profession courses, to enhance the
knowledge and skill levels of health
professionals working with Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander people, and to
increase research that leads to
improvements in Indigenous health.
Associate Dean for Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander Health, Dennis
McDermott, said the generous
endowment from Mr Poche -- who
funded the establishment of a similar
centre at Sydney University in 2008 --
would build on Flinders' excellent track
record in Indigenous health research.
"The Poche Centres for Indigenous Health
will help us create a group of people who
are both trained to deliver health
services and also increase the number
of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
researchers," Associate Professor
McDermott told Flinders Journal.
"There is an extra set of barriers for
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
studying medicine and related health
professions. Many come from regional or
remote areas and retain family and cultural
responsibilities with those communities
which can add extra stress, and there are
financial pressures living in capital cities,"
"So what we are trying to do is find a level of
student scholarships that make it easier for
a person who is away from home, or a
mature student with a family, to be
financially supported and to remain at
university until they graduate."
Speaking after the announcement at
Flinders University, Mr Poche said he was
"very pleased that two major Australian
universities have taken up this project to
improve Indigenous health and I look
forward to proceeding in partnership with
other major universities in Australia to
make this a national initiative."
Mr W Rubuntja and Mr E Rubuntja --
who passed away in 2005 and 2006
respectively -- were passionate and
influential figures in the advancement
of Indigenous land rights, health
research, education and reconciliation.
Both were involved in the establishment
of the Tangentyere Council which
manages nearly 200 houses on the
'town camps' in Alice Springs and
provides a range of community services.
Flinders Vice-Chancellor Professor
Michael Barber said the new W & E
Rubuntja Research and Medical
Education Building represented "an
excellent collaboration between Flinders
as a teaching and research institution
and Baker IDI, one of Australia's leading
medical research organisations".
"We look forward to an even greater
integration of our activities in the future
which, I believe, can make a significant
contribution towards 'Closing the Gap' in
Indigenous health," Professor Barber said.
Baker IDI Director Professor Garry Jennings
said: "This new building and the continued
expansion of our activities in Alice Springs
shows our commitment to Indigenous
health and the partnership we have with
local health service providers such as the
Alice Springs Hospital."
Centre for Remote Health
A $10 million endowment from leading
Australian philanthropist, Mr Greg Poche,
will underpin a greater engagement by
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
people in both teaching and research
programs at Flinders University.
The endowment will generate a long-
term income stream to financially
support students with scholarships,
enable the employment of Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander academics and foster
research in Indigenous health.
The goal of the two Poche Centres for
Indigenous Health -- to be based at
Flinders' Bedford Park campus in Adelaide
Announcing the Poche Centres (right to left): Associate Professor Dennis McDermott, Professor David
Prideaux, Mr Greg Poche, Ms Kay van Norton
New W & E Rubuntja Research and Medical
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