Largest cohort of indigenous postgraduates
1 May 2009
Today marks a milestone for postgraduate Indigenous health education at the University of Sydney. Twenty-seven students will graduate from the School of Public Health's Indigenous health programs; the largest single cohort of Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander students to graduate from postgraduate courses at the University of Sydney.
The group also includes the first graduands of the Graduate Diploma in Indigenous Health (Substance Use), a program which specifically targets issues relating to the prevention and treatment of alcohol, tobacco and other drug problems.
"It has been a delight to teach this group of students. As well as being great people with a sense of humour, they came with a real thirst for education as well as a wealth of cultural knowledge and experience working with drug and alcohol problems," said Associate Professor Kate Conigrave, Course Coordinator of the Graduate Diploma of Indigenous Health (Substance Use).
It is just over 10 years since the inaugural enrolment of students into the School's first indigenous health course- the Graduate Diploma in Indigenous Health Promotion. Since then more than 140 students have enrolled in the course from almost every state and territory making it one of the largest postgraduate programs of its kind in Australia.
The program also provided a basis for the establishment of the Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma and Masters of Indigenous Health (Substance Use) which enrolled its first students last year.
Graduates of the programs are pursuing careers as health professionals working in both public and private sectors, educators, policy developers and professionals working with land councils. Some graduates have gone on to higher degree studies such as the Master of Public Health, Masters of Law and also PhD studies. Last year a graduate was awarded a prestigious Fulbright Scholarship to study in the US.
Senior Lecturer and one of the initiators of the Indigenous Health Promotion Program, Mr Shane Hearn, acknowledged that while there was still a lot of work to be done, these programs have now established a strong base for future growth. "Demand for the programs is growing as the health and education sectors recognised the importance of health promotion in Indigenous communities and they've now begun to invest in developing the necessary workforce," he said.
- 18 students graduating 1 May 2009
- 109 students have graduated from the program since it began in 1998
- Twice offered off-campus to a cohort of students in the Torres Strait (2006/7) and, in 2008, to a cohort of students in Mt Isa. (These are in addition to the Sydney-based program)
- The course was developed in response to an Indigenous workforce skill deficit in Health Promotion (HP). Largely what are needed to build health capacity in Indigenous communities were HP initiatives. This course provides graduates with the capacity and skills to implement health change at an individual and community level, creates community autonomy in assessing what the specific health issues are and provides a way of measuring outcome.
- Nine students graduating 1 May 2009 (first graduates of the program)
Inaugural enrolment in 2008 with students coming from around Australia, from range of urban, regional and remote settings.
- The Graduate Diploma in Indigenous Health (Substance Use) was developed as an avenue for further high-level study for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people working in the drug and alcohol field. Previously only VET courses available.
Established over 75 years ago, the Sydney School of Public Health is the oldest public health institution in Australia and enjoys a worldwide reputation for its research and teaching. Originally named the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, it is a national pioneer of public health studies. It was the first such school in Australia to focus on developing countries and has been instrumental in establishing a nationwide biostatistics training program.
Today, the school is a vibrant, multidisciplinary network of individuals and centres that provides exceptional and internationally recognised educational opportunities. It fosters a dynamic and collaborative study environment.
For course inquiries contact:
Mr Shane Hearn
Graduate Diploma in Indigenous Health Promotion
School of Public Health
The University of Sydney
Phone: 02 9351 6499
Mobile: 0417 653 491
Fax: 02 9351 4179
Contact: Jackie Chowns
Phone: 02 9036 5404 or 0434 605 018