Indigenous Health Strategy Graduate School of Health
We acknowledge the Gadigal People of the Eora Nation upon whose ancestral lands the UTS City campus stands. We pay respect to the Elders both past and present, acknowledging them as the traditional custodians of knowledge for this land.
Supporting Graduate School of Health (GSH) Indigenous health education, research and engagement 2018-2020
This Strategy provides a plan of action that supports GSH’s Indigenous health education, research and community engagement. It is informed by key UTS documents, including:
- UTS Strategic Plan 2009-2018
- UTS Strategic Objectives and Outcomes Statements 2014-2018
- UTS Indigenous Education Strategy 2015-2018
- Wingara Indigenous Employment Strategy 2015-2018
This Strategy has been developed in consultation with UTS staff, colleagues experienced in Aboriginal health education, research and community engagement, and our local community connections.
This Strategy has an accompanying Implementation Plan which includes roles and responsibilities and key performance indicators for all of GSH.
Embeddedness of Indigenous health in GSH
This is a strategy for all of GSH, with leadership in its implementation through the GSH Heads of Disciplines, GSH Learning and Teaching Committee, GSH Research and Innovation Committee and GSH 100 Broadway Committee.
This strategy has been developed and is supported by the GSH Indigenous Health Discipline, also known as Girra Maa  , which means to be ‘lively’ and ‘active’.
The term ‘Indigenous’ is used to reflect UTS’s international perspective, which connects to Indigenous peoples of all nations and respectfully includes Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The term ‘Aboriginal’ reflects the cultural heritage of GSH’s current Girra Maa staff and students, who have contributed to this Strategy and whose worldviews shape GSH’s education, research and community engagement.
Our conceptualisation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing is:
…not just the physical wellbeing of an individual but refers to the social, emotional and cultural wellbeing of the whole community in which each individual is able to achieve their full potential as a human being thereby bringing about the total wellbeing of their community. It is a whole-of- life view and includes the cyclical concept of life-deathlife. 
Further, the social determinants of health are vital, including housing, income and employment, human rights, healing intergenerational trauma from colonisation and respecting local community initiatives.
Our teaching, research and engagement is guided by nationally recognised Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander values of Equality, Reciprocity, Respect and Responsibility to ensure the Survival and Protection of Aboriginal people  and cultures, bound together with Spirit and Integrity. It is also informed by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples  , other human rights agreements  and a social-ecological model of health  .
The overall aims of the GSH Indigenous Health Strategy are to:
- Improve the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and all Indigenous peoples
- Value Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ knowledges, experiences, methods and care-giving practices
- Deliver world-leading Indigenous health education, research and community engagement models
- Produce graduates with professional capabilities who can deliver holistic, 21st century healthcare to Indigenous peoples and communities.
Vision and approach
Our vision is for GSH staff to be confident in engaging with Indigenous health issues, models, research ethics and community members, as leaders in their Disciplines and role models for the next generation of health and social support providers. This involves facilitating with staff and student experiences that they will learn from, to develop professionally and personally and carry into the future.
Girra Maa has a collective approach to education and research, facilitating participation of Indigenous community members and healthcare professionals in our work. Our work is designed to be interprofessional, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary, serving the aspirations of Indigenous Elders and peak bodies, and informing primary prevention, interventions and policy reform.
Girra Maa encourages GSH staff and students to develop a lifelong commitment to respectful engagement with Indigenous peoples, to enrich learning and teaching, research and engagement at individual, family, community and policy levels.
|E 1||Establish an Advisory Group to guide GSH’s Indigenous health actions|
|E 1.1||Recruit Advisory Group members to reflect age, gender and geographical diversity of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, with participation from Indigenous peoples of other nations|
|E 1.2||Resource and support Advisory Group members to understand and influence GSH Indigenous Health learning and teaching, research and engagement activities|
|E 2||Develop the capability of GSH staff so they can contribute to the health and wellbeing of Indigenous people throughout their careers|
|E 2.1||Develop and pilot a GSH staff engagement program|
|E 2.2||Facilitate connections with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations, Elders and service providers and information|
|E 3||Engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff and bodies within UTS|
|E 3.1||Develop a positive working relationship with CAIK and Jumbunna|
|E 3.2||Be part of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander network of staff, as well as staff researching health issues and priorities of Indigenous peoples|
|E 4||Engage externally to further the aims of this strategy|
|E 4.1||Engage with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community organisations|
|E 4.2||Engage with selected media|
|E 4.3||Engage with selected professional organisations and peak bodies|
|E 4.4||Engage with selected policymakers and politicians.|
Learning and teaching
GSH Indigenous health learning and teaching is informed by the leadership of the Centre for Advancement of Indigenous Knowledges (CAIK) embedding the Indigenous Graduate Attribute across UTS, as well as public health and allied health curriculum frameworks and industry accreditation requirements. GSH uses its existing term ‘Indigenous Learning Outcome’ which aligns with an Indigenous Graduate Attribute.
|LT 1||Ensure GSH curricula reflect Indigenous peoples’ views of health and wellbeing|
|LT 1.1||Ensure relevant curricula contain content that meets the Indigenous Graduate Attribute|
|LT 1.2||Map the reach and quality of Indigenous health content at GSH|
|LT 2||Support GSH staff in the delivery of Indigenous health content|
|LT 2.1||Co-create a range of teaching resources with Aboriginal community organisations for use by GSH staff|
|LT 2.2||Contribute to coursework delivery and placement support|
|LT 2.3||Contribute to UTS learning and teaching bodies|
|LT 2.4||Contribute Indigenous perspectives in the development of the GSH primary health clinic|
|LT 3||Increase the capability of GSH students so they can contribute to the health and wellbeing of Indigenous people throughout their careers|
|LT 3.1||Enable student exposed to Indigenous health and wellbeing content in coursework and assessment|
|LT 3.2||Scope potential and develop support mechanisms for student placements in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community organisations UTS GSH Indigenous Health Strategy 2018-2020 4|
Establish processes for supporting positive student engagement with Indigenous users of the GSH primary health clinic
|LT 3.4||Evaluate the impact of Indigenous health content at GSH|
|LT 4||Increase GSH Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff numbers|
Employ Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Teaching Fellow and Intern
|LT 4.2||Ensure support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff in GSH|
|LT 4.3||Support GSH in their staff recruitment, to encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to apply|
|LT 5||Increase GSH Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student recruitment and retention|
|LT 5.1||Work with peak bodies to develop pathways and support mechanisms|
|LT 5.2||Promote GSH to undergraduates|
|LT 5.3||Identify and promote current scholarship opportunities for students|
|LT 5.4||Ensure support for all GSH Indigenous health research higher degree students.|
The GSH Indigenous Health Strategy is driven by the fundamental need to ensure the ethical guidelines that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have set out through the National Health and Medical Research Council are acted upon and honored in every research activity.
|R 1||Contribute to strategic Indigenous research development at GSH and UTS|
|R 1.1||Contribute to UTS Health Strategy development|
|R 1.2||Support ethical Indigenous health research conduct by GSH staff|
|R 1.3||Establish an Indigenous health research program in the GSH primary health clinic|
|R 1.4||Contribute to GSH Research and Innovation Committee|
|R 1.5||Participate in research collaborations across GSH and UTS|
|R 1.6||Develop research partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations|
|R 2||Increase GSH staff and student numbers doing Indigenous health research|
Employ Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Research Fellow, and recruit Research Higher Degree student
|R 2.2||Supervise Research Higher Degree students|
|R 2.3||Promote Indigenous health research partnership opportunities to GSH staff|
|R 3||Be active in Indigenous health research and research translation|
|R 3.1||Continue to analyse existing data sets|
|R 3.2||Publish research|
|R3.3||Actively translate UTS research to policy and community contexts|
|R 3.4||Develop new data sets|
|R 3.5||Seek competitive research funding.|
For more information about this GSH Indigenous Health Strategy and its Implementation Plan, please contact Dr Megan Williams.
Dr Megan Williams
Head - Indigenous Health Discipline Graduate School of Health
T. +61 (02) 9514 8303 M.
+61 (0) 400 073 358
1 In the language of the Wiradjuri peoples, from whom Founding Head of Discipline (2017-2020) Associate Professor Megan Williams is descended.
2 National Aboriginal Health Strategy Working Party. (1989). National Aboriginal Health Strategy. Canberra: Commonwealth Government.
3 National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). (2003). Values and ethics: Guidelines for ethical conduct in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia.
4 United Nations. (2007). United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Geneva: Author.
5 See Australian Human Rights Commission www.humanrights.gov.au/publications
6 Golden, S. & Earp, J. (2012). Social ecological approaches to individuals and their contexts: Twenty years of Health Education & Behavior health promotion interventions, Health Education & Behavior, 39(3), pp. 364-372. https://doi.org/10.1177/1090198111418634