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Mt Isa artist helps map opportunities to enhance healthcare

24th July 2018


Event             Aboriginal and Torres Strait health artwork unveiling and webpage launch

Time:              5.05pm, Tuesday 24 July 2018

Venue:           Tjirtamai Hall, Centre for Rural and Remote Health, 100 Joan Street (behind Mount Isa Hospital)

Attendees:    JCU Dean of the College of Medicine and Dentistry, Professor Richard Murray, will launch the web page and unveil the artwork. Artist Chern’ee Sutton will be present. Other attendees will include State Member for Traeger, Robbie Katter, and Rural Health Commissioner, Emeritus Professor Paul Worley

A new James Cook University (JCU) online initiative, designed to help close the gap, will feature the work of Mt Isa artist, Chern’ee Sutton.

The Aboriginal artist’s vibrant acrylic painting, Caring for Community, 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 in Mount Isa on Tuesday July 24, the opening day of the JCU Centre for Rural and Remote Health 2018 ‘Are You Remotely Interested?’ Conference. The conference celebrates the Centre’s 20th anniversary and focuses on strengthening healthcare workforces in remote and regional areas, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

JCU Director of Generalist Medical Training, 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 Sutton, a contemporary artist from the Kalkadoon people, said her artwork illustrated the provision of healthcare in her community, “for the community and by the community”.

“In my painting, the large community symbol in the middle represents the Mount Isa and North West Queensland region, with the smaller community symbols and travelling lines representing the many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and people that travel to hospital for medical treatment,” she said.

“The footprints represent the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people returning to their homes and communities after receiving treatment, and the emu and cranes’ feet represent Kalkadoon country.

“The sections of the painting, separated by the stethoscopes, represent the medical treatment and care given to Indigenous people of all ages, from young to elderly, by the doctors and students that live in the community.”

Dr Teague paid tribute to the university’s cultural mentors in Mt Isa, 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. 

Tuesday’s unveiling will also feature a second artwork from Ms Sutton called Dreatime Soldier. In the spirit of giving back to her community, the piece was donated by the artist to the Centre for Rural and Remote Health in 2014. Ms Sutton said the acrylic painting is a tribute to Indigenous people that have served in Australia in the military forces.


Interview opportunity: Artist Chern’ee Sutton and JCU Dean of College of Medicine and Dentistry, Richard Murray will be available for interview on the day. To organise an interview please contact:

Marcy Holdsworth   0436 675 049

Daisy Katter 0481 194 101

Image Caption

Image 1: The Aboriginal artist Chern’ee Sutton’s vibrant acrylic painting, Caring for Community, will form the banner for a new web page on JCU’s Generalist Medical Training (GMT) website.  

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