Hands-on health for 50 Indigenous students

The plaster was flying thick and fast when 50 Indigenous high school students came to Canberra for a hands-on health session at ANU on December 3.

Putting the visitors through their paces were members of the ANU Rural Medical Society (ARMS), one of 28 clubs that belong to the National Rural Health Students’ Network (NRHSN).

listening for a heart beat

The Indigenous students – from the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales and Queensland – were rotated through a series of stations covering anatomy, neurology, blood pressure and plastering.

“We wanted to have some fun but also get them thinking about health careers,” says event organiser Amanda Steele, an Indigenous medical student at ANU. “I was thrilled to see them so clearly engaged, laughing and asking questions.


“Promoting, supporting and increasing the number of Indigenous students undertaking university health degrees is crucial to improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health outcomes.”

The event was held at the ANU Science Teaching Facilities and was part of the three-day Yalbalinga ANU Indigenous Youth Camp.

neurology and sustance abuse

Ms Steele says she and her fellow ARMS members saw their participation as a natural extension of the Rural High School Visit program, a core activity of the NRHSN and its Rural Health Clubs.

This is an outreach program to country schools, which promotes health careers. In 2013-2014, the clubs ran visits to 117 schools engaging with 5,300 students. More than 300 Rural Health Club members volunteered to take part.

The ARMS members who volunteered at the Canberra event were: Amanda Steele, Rebecca Irwin, Emily McLeod, Matthew Ryan, Chris Wilder, Joel Adams-Bedford, Eileen Baker, Claire Stewart, Jazmin Hawes and Kawthar Barkat.

Find out more about Rural Health Clubs at www.nrhsn.org.au

medical student at blood pressure station

Pictures: Rebecca Irwin

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