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Atherton artist helps map opportunities to enhance healthcare

17th October 2018


Event:                        Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health webpage launch and art unveiling

Time:                         4.30 pm, Wednesday 17 October 2018

Venue:                       JCU Atherton Clinical School, 48-56 Jack Street, Atherton

Attendees:                JCU Regional Medical Training Head of Operation, Carol Kahn and artist, Sharon Caulfield

A new James Cook University (JCU) online initiative, designed to help close the gap, will feature the work of Atherton artist, Sharon Caulfield.

The Aboriginal artist’s vibrant acrylic painting, One with Land, will form the banner for a new web page on JCU’s Generalist Medical Training (GMT) site. The web page will enable doctors undertaking specialist general practitioner training to explore training opportunities in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services throughout Queensland.

The web page and original artwork will be unveiled on 17 October at the JCU Atherton Clinical School in Jack Street.

JCU Director of General Practice Training (GMT), Associate Professor Peta-Ann Teague, said the new web information would be a valuable tool in recruiting General Practice (GP) registrars to training posts, where they would have the opportunity to develop both the cultural and clinical expertise required to address specific Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health issues.

The training posts are available within a range of accredited Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services, non-community controlled Aboriginal health services and Queensland Government health services.

“These training posts are able to equip GP registrars with the skills to contribute to closing the gap in healthcare outcomes,” Dr Teague said.

“The new web page will assist them to take that first step. It includes an interactive map detailing the location of all our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander training posts, as well as access to videos which feature the personal and professional experiences of GP registrars who are already working in partnership with communities to improve health outcomes.”

Ms Caulfield, a member of the Idinji/Yidinji people, whose ancestral lands encompass Atherton township, said she had painted a tribal shield, using colours of great cultural significance. 

“Red represents the blood of Idinji people, past and present, and has meaning in life itself. Without blood, there is no life. Life is in the blood,” she said.

“Green is the rainforest, the dwelling place of the Idinji, a rainforest tribe. The yellow ochre colour is earth. The seven white triangular shapes along the centre line represent the Seven Sisters – volcanoes scattered across the Tablelands and part of the songlines of the Idinji landscape and stories.

“The hands represent family and community, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, as we all now dwell together on the traditional lands of the Idinji people.”

Dr Teague paid tribute to the University’s cultural mentors in the Tablelands, who work with GP registrars to develop an understanding of the history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples within the region – and the impact of that history on the delivery of effective healthcare services.

“These mentors help our GP registrars to learn the most appropriate way to relate to patients from different cultural groups. They enable us to provide healthcare in a culturally safe environment for patients, which optimises the opportunity to achieve the best health outcomes,” she said. 


Interview opportunity: JCU Regional Medical Training Head of Operation Manager, Carol Kahn and artist Sharon Caulfield will be available for interview on the day. To organise an interview please contact:

Tania Torrisi 4095 6103

Sharon Caulfield 0407 878 704

Tianna Graham 0428 442 633

Image Caption

Image 1: The Aboriginal artist Sharon Caulfield’s vibrant acrylic painting, One with Land, will form the banner for a new web page on JCU’s Generalist Medical Training (GMT) website.

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