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Health program attracts students from across the NT

Charles Darwin University 2 mins read

First Nations students from across the Northern Territory are gathering in Darwin this week to explore opportunities to study health in the second year of a successful new Charles Darwin University (CDU) program. 

CDU’s First Nations Introduction to University – Health program begins this week, welcoming students to the Casuarina campus from around Darwin, Milikapiti, Gapyuwiak, Ramingining, Galiwinku, Donydji Outstation and Tennant Creek.

The free program explores the various pathways into health qualifications and careers, introducing students to fields including community-controlled health care, occupational therapy and speech pathology, emergency health care, psychology, health policy, and research. 

The program emphasises how First Nations students can incorporate their traditional knowledge into Western education. 

CDU Health Sciences Lecturer Dr Emily Gilbert hoped to continue the success of last year’s program, and highlighted the importance of growing the First Nations presence in the health system. 

“First Nations people are best cared for by First Nations people - this is why it so important to increase the number of First Nations students in health-related courses and then ultimately the health workforce,” Dr Gilbert said. 

“Our inaugural health pathways program in 2023 saw five of the seven enrolled heath students successfully begin their journey, four of whom enrolled in a health-related undergraduate degree and one student in TEP at CDU. 

“This year our numbers have grown considerably and this week we welcome 17 students to the program from around the Territory including Darwin, Milikapiti, Gapyuwiak, Ramingining, and Jabiru. 

“It is really exciting time for these students - who have taken the next step in their journey, and we look forward to supporting the students throughout the program and beyond.”

CDU First Nations Health and Culture Specialist Ian Lee said the program would provide students with critical insights into tertiary education.

"It is fantastic to see the CDU's First Nations Introduction to University for Health program growing each year, and it is so good to have a quarter of the enrolments from remote Aboriginal communities,” Mr Lee said. 

“The enrolments are only the start of their pathway and the real success is going to come from the students completing their studies at TAFE or higher education, but every student is to be congratulated for their courage for taking each step towards a career in health.

“The problems with health in remote Aboriginal communities is compounded but geographical isolation, limited health workforce, socioeconomic disadvantage, as well as intergenerational trauma and the environmental challenges. More local health professionals are desperately needed in all remote Aboriginal communities.”

The First Nations Introduction to University – Health program is among CDU’s suite of introductory programs to launch this week for 2024. Students can also enrol in introductory programs for teacher education, arts and humanities, and STEM.

CDU also supports students into higher education with its First Nations Pre-BusinessPre-Accounting, and Pre-Law programs. 

Contact details:

Raphaella Saroukos she/her
Communications Officer
Marketing, Media & Communications
Larrakia Country
T: +61 8 8946 6721

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