fbpx

Rural & Indigenous Healthcare

In2Med Insights | Last Updated: 9 December 2020

In2Med Australia acknowledges and pays respect to the past, present and emerging Traditional Custodians and Elders of this nation and the continuation of cultural, spiritual and educational practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The Facts:

  • The life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians is approximately 10 years
  • Almost half of all aboriginal men die before the age of 45 years
  • Indigenous Australians are 3 times more likely to go blind than their non-indigenous counterparts
  • 94% of cases of vision loss among Indigenous Australians is preventable or treatable
  • Heart disease, lung disease and diabetes are seen in rates much higher than the general population and are the leading causes of death amongst Indigenous populations
  • Source 

It is clear to see why the ‘Close the Gap’ campaign and the goal to improve health outcomes for Indigenous Australians is a major priority for the health sector. Developments in medical technology, infrastructure and systems in within Indigenous communities are key in impelling such improvement. But, perhaps, even more important is the need to provide culturally safe and appropriate care to Indigenous patients.

What is the best way to do this?
By ensuring Indigenous Australians have the opportunity to work in the healthcare industry and thereby make a tangible difference to Australia’s healthcare industry first-hand. Universities within Australia have started to do their part in facilitating this. Adjustment factors are considered when selecting Indigenous students into medical school to improve equitability in the selection process. Monash University, for example, has the Dean’s Indigenous List – which aims to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who aspire to study medicine (socially and financially). The interstate universities that offer undergraduate medicine also have similar schemes. Undoubtedly a good start, but more still needs to be done.

Rural health outcomes are another pressing concern for the Australian health sector.

The one-third of Australians that live in rural and remote areas, on average, suffer from lower disease survival rates, lower life expectancies and higher rates of mental health issues; largely attributable to a lack of health staff and resources that lead to a reduced capacity to manage illness.

While there are inevitably challenges associated with working in rural areas for healthcare professionals, those who undertake placements or work long-term in these areas of need often find it a rewarding and enriching experience. Benefits include the chance to use a variety of professional/learned skills, the ability to provide continued patient care to foster a strong patient-doctor relationship and the real opportunity to make a difference and personally address the shortage of practitioners.

Medical Student Rural Placements:
All medical students must undertake placements in rural areas, to gain exposure to clinical practice in these areas. Additionally, universities have extended rural cohorts and bonded medical placements; whereby those selected into these medical programs must work in rural areas for extended periods of time, during and after medical school respectively. Moreover, students who have lived and studied in a rural area from a young age tend to be most likely to work in such areas in the future. Hence, special adjustment factors are applied to the scores of students who have lived for extended periods of time (5 years consecutively or 10 year cumulatively) in rural areas.

The way that the universities gauge remoteness is through the following models:

  • Rural, Remote and Metropolitan Area (RRMA)
  • Modified Monash Model (MMM)
  • Australian Statistical Geographical Classification – Remoteness Areas (ASGC-RA)
  • Australian Statistical Geography Standard – Remoteness Areas (ASGS-RA 2016)

The remoteness is ranked on a scale from 1-5 (with 1 referring to major cities and 5 very remote australia) or from 1-7 (MMM). A score from 2-5 or 3-7 is generally sufficient for special considerations. You can check your area using the following link: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/apps-and-tools/health-workforce-locator

Our Contribution:
At In2Med, we are passionate and committed to providing our services in an equitable manner. As medical students, we hope to do our part in addressing the discrepancies that exist in Australian healthcare. As such, if you are of Indigenous heritage or living in a rural/remote area, you are eligible for our scholarship program (ie. free courses and resources)! 

For more information about special considerations for rural and Indigenous medical entry check out this page here, and for more information on our scholarship program head to this page here!

Sahil Nandra is the Head of Content Creation at In2Med Australia. Having achieved a 99.95 ATAR and a 99th UCAT percentile, and with over 250 hours of tutoring experience, Sahil (along with the In2Med team) has designed both the Interview and UCAT preparation courses to maximise the unique and effective strategies for you, the student. 

In2Med Australia acknowledges and pays respect to the past, present and emerging Traditional Custodians and Elders of this nation and the continuation of cultural, spiritual and educational practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The Overwhelming Facts:

  • The life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians is approximately 10 years
  • Almost half of all aboriginal men die before the age of 45 years
  • Indigenous Australians are 3 times more likely to go blind than their non-indigenous counterparts
  • 94% of cases of vision loss among Indigenous Australians is preventable or treatable
  • Heart disease, lung disease and diabetes are seen in rates much higher than the general population and are the leading causes of death amongst Indigenous populations
  • Source 

It is clear to see why the ‘Close the Gap’ campaign and the goal to improve health outcomes for Indigenous Australians is a major priority for the health sector. Developments in medical technology, infrastructure and systems in within Indigenous communities are key in impelling such improvement. But, perhaps, even more important is the need to provide culturally safe and appropriate care to Indigenous patients.

What is the best way to do this?

By ensuring Indigenous Australians have the opportunity to work in the healthcare industry and thereby make a tangible difference to Australia’s healthcare industry first-hand. Universities within Australia have started to do their part in facilitating this. Adjustment factors are considered when selecting Indigenous students into medical school to improve equitability in the selection process. Monash University, for example, has the Dean’s Indigenous List – which aims to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who aspire to study medicine (socially and financially). The interstate universities that offer undergraduate medicine also have similar schemes. Undoubtedly a good start, but more still needs to be done.

Rural health outcomes are another pressing concern for the Australian health sector.

The one-third of Australians that live in rural and remote areas, on average, suffer from lower disease survival rates, lower life expectancies and higher rates of mental health issues; largely attributable to a lack of health staff and resources that lead to a reduced capacity to manage illness.

While there are inevitably challenges associated with working in rural areas for healthcare professionals, those who undertake placements or work long-term in these areas of need often find it a rewarding and enriching experience. Benefits include the chance to use a variety of professional/learned skills, the ability to provide continued patient care to foster a strong patient-doctor relationship and the real opportunity to make a difference and personally address the shortage of practitioners.

Medical Student Rural Placements:

All medical students must undertake placements in rural areas, to gain exposure to clinical practice in these areas. Additionally, universities have extended rural cohorts and bonded medical placements; whereby those selected into these medical programs must work in rural areas for extended periods of time, during and after medical school respectively. Moreover, students who have lived and studied in a rural area from a young age tend to be most likely to work in such areas in the future. Hence, special adjustment factors are applied to the scores of students who have lived for extended periods of time (5 years consecutively or 10 year cumulatively) in rural areas.

The way that the universities gauge remoteness is through the following models:

  • Rural, Remote and Metropolitan Area (RRMA)
  • Modified Monash Model (MMM)
  • Australian Statistical Geographical Classification – Remoteness Areas (ASGC-RA)
  • Australian Statistical Geography Standard – Remoteness Areas (ASGS-RA 2016)

The remoteness is ranked on a scale from 1-5 (with 1 referring to major cities and 5 very remote australia) or from 1-7 (MMM). A score from 2-5 or 3-7 is generally sufficient for special considerations. You can check your area using the following link: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/apps-and-tools/health-workforce-locator

Our Contribution:

At In2Med, we are passionate and committed to providing our services in an equitable manner. As medical students, we hope to do our part in addressing the discrepancies that exist in Australian healthcare. At In2Med, we are passionate and committed to providing our services in an equitable manner. As medical students, we hope to do our part in addressing the discrepancies that exist in Australian healthcare. As such, if you are of Indigenous heritage or living in a rural/remote area, you are eligible for our scholarship program (ie. free courses and resources)! 

For more information about special considerations for rural and Indigenous medical entry check out this page here, and for more information on our scholarship program head to this page here!

Sahil Nandra is the Head of Content Creation at In2Med Australia. Having achieved a 99.95 ATAR and a 99th UCAT percentile, and with over 250 hours of tutoring experience, Sahil (along with the In2Med team) has designed both the Interview and UCAT preparation courses to maximise the unique and effective strategies for you, the student. 

Read more Insights

Leave a Reply