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Roma artist helps enhance healthcare opportunities

8 March 2019

Representatives from James Cook University's (JCU’s) GP Training Program joined the Minister for Rural Health, Bridget McKenzie in Roma (earlier this month/last month) for the local launch of the program’s web page, and to unveil featured artwork from local artist, Michael McGuane.  The Aboriginal artist’s vibrant acrylic painting, Knowledge, will form the banner for a web page on JCU’s GP training site. The page will enable doctors undertaking specialist general practitioner training to explore training opportunities in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services throughout Queensland.

JCU Director of GP Training, Associate Professor Peta-Ann Teague, said the information on the website is a valuable tool in recruiting 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 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.”

Mr McGuane, who is a member of the Kamilaroi and Yuwaalaraay people, said he sees his art as a positive way to promote and sustain Aboriginal culture.

“I enjoy painting as a way to pass on culture, not only to my kids but to the whole community.”

His painting, Knowledge, depicts people facing towards the centre, gaining knowledge through training, while those facing outward have been trained and are ready to go out into the community to help.

“The inner circle of dots represents the knowledge they have gained, the plant represents medicine both traditional and modern,” he said.

“The hands represent healing within different communities.”

Dr Teague paid tribute to the University’s cultural mentors in central Queensland, 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. 

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