Developing the future Indigenous health workforce: The feasibility and impact of a student-led placement programme in remote Indigenous communities

Johanna M Warren, Georgina L Irish, Brydie Purbrick, Joule J Li, Xi Li, Danielle J Fitzpatrick, Randall J Faull

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: To describe and evaluate a programme where medical students designed and implemented Indigenous health placements for students with an interest in rural/Indigenous health.

DESIGN, SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: In 2011, a student-led programme at the University of Adelaide was set up to give medical students the opportunity to undertake outreach trips and clinical placements in remote Indigenous communities. Twenty-four medical students attended trips to remote communities between 2012 and 2014. Here we evaluate our programme using a single-arm experimental design.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Responses to questionnaire items before and after attending an outreach placement, scored on 6-point Likert scales.

RESULTS: Following their remote Indigenous health placement, participants expressed a significantly higher mean likelihood of working in an Indigenous community in the future (3.17 (2.69-3.64) versus 4.00 (3.65-4.35); P < 0.007). Furthermore, after their placement participants felt better prepared to work in Indigenous communities (mean 1.79 (1.44-2.14) versus 3.21 (2.88-3.54); P < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: A placement programme initiated and run by medical students can provide meaningful exposure to Indigenous health. Implementation of this student-led model in other medical schools may encourage nationwide development of the Indigenous health workforce.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)306-311
Number of pages6
JournalThe Australian journal of rural health
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Oct 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Curriculum
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Health Workforce
  • Humans
  • Population Groups
  • Program Development/methods
  • Schools, Medical
  • South Australia
  • Surveys and Questionnaires

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