Graduate School of Health receives SPHERE research grant
The SPHERE Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing grant will support research towards a toolkit aimed at student placements within urban areas with Aboriginal peoples.
The Graduate School of Health’s Dr Cherie Lucas and Dr Megan Williams have received a $20,000 grant from the Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing Clinical Academic Group of Maridulu Budyari Gumal, the Sydney Partnership for Health, Education, Research and Enterprise (SPHERE) to develop a toolkit aimed at supporting student experiential placements in urban areas with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Clinical placements in community settings allow students to become immersed within that community and enable for more transformative learning.
Students who complete experiential placements outside of cities are able to access critical cultural awareness workshops. However, students who complete placements in urban areas such as Sydney do no such training – despite being home to the highest number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia.
The project aims to develop an experiential placement support toolkit for students that will be trialled in an urban context, combining reflective practice methods with cultural competence workshops.
The project will fill in significant research gaps in this area says Lead Investigator Dr Cherie Lucas.
“There has been a lot of work done within rural placements, but this isn’t the case for urban placements and we want to develop that further,” says Dr Lucas.
There has been a lot of work done within rural placements, but this isn’t the case for urban placements and we want to develop that further.
The team, led by Dr Cherie Lucas (UTS GSH) and comprised of Dr Megan Williams (UTS GSH), Dr Tamara Power (UTS Nursing) and Sally Fitzpatrick (WSU Translational Health Research Institute ), bring together a unique range of skills and expertise in Aboriginal perspectives, experiential placements, reflective capacity building, workforce development and cultural safety.
Dr Lucas says the ToolKit may include reflective practice tools such a journal, “sort of like a diary for students to review their practice and skills”, a cultural competence module and action learning workshops that students participate in prior to their placement, plus a series of “help cards”’, covering aspects such as chronic health conditions or referring to Aboriginal support services.
The current research will focus on Master of Pharmacy Students at UTS’ Graduate School of Health, but is relevant to a wide range of health workforce development contexts both in Australia and internationally.
“It’s exciting that the research goes beyond training the students,” says Dr Lucas. “We also focus on working with the clinicians who supervise the students on placements with a two-pronged approach.
It’s exciting that the research goes beyond training the students... we also focus on working with the clinicians who supervise the students on placements with a two-pronged approach.
“Supporting all health educators and students to develop new knowledge and skills that will enable a meaningful engagement with Indigenous peoples, communities and their organisations is really important. I am thrilled to be part of a project that is helping to put us in the right direction to achieve this,” says Dr Lucas.