Chalmers Oration discusses cultural safety

The 2021 Chalmers Oration, an annual event to commemorate the work of John Chalmers AC who was the first Professor of Medicine (1975-1996) in the College of Medicine and Public Health, discussed the issue of cultural safety and awareness last week.

Kaurna Elders Michael Kumatpi Marrutya O’Brien and Senior Elder on Campus, Uncle Lewis Yerloburka O’Brien started the session with a Smoking Ceremony on the Plaza, before a formal exchange of gifts from the Kaurna Elders to visitors Miliwanga Sandy Wurrben (a Rembarrnga woman) and Stuart McGrath (a Yolŋu man), who travelled from the Northern Territory.

CMPH VPED Professor Jonathan Craig with 2021 Chalmers Orators Miliwanga Sandy Wurrben and Stuart McGrath

Following the Smoking Ceremony, Associate Professor Simone Ulalka Tur chaired a panel discussion with Miliwanga Sandy Wurrben, a teacher, artist, healer, Aboriginal health leader and globally renowned ambassador and Stuart McGrath, recipient of the 2021 NT Young Australian of the Year award, and an Aboriginal health practitioner. On graduation, Stuart will become the first Yolŋu registered nurse.

During the hour-long session, Aunty Miliwanga and Stuart shared their stories about growing-up in remote communities, their Aboriginal culture, cultural learnings, generational knowledge and their approaches to healing, happiness and wellbeing.

The Chalmers Oration commemorates the work of John Chalmers AC who was the first Professor of Medicine (1975-1996) at the Flinders Medical Centre and the College of Medicine and Public Health.

Alison Robertson, Mike Chalmers, Miliwanga Sandy Wurrben, Stuart McGrath and Helen Chalmers

Professor Chalmers and his wife were unable to travel to attend last night’s Oration, but were represented by family members (pictured).

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College of Medicine and Public Health