Updates from the NT Medical Program (NTMP)

Medicine is art and science. The students, graduates and local staff in Nhulunbuy with some staff from Flinders in the NT and SA had the opportunity of attending the Garma Festival on Gumatj country (pictured above) joining politicians and leaders for conversations about the future of reconciliation and our country. The Flinders stall had a part mannikin with organs to remove and explain, a badge making stand, display showing students and staff in action in East Arnhem and merchandise particularly attractive to the local kids. This was an excellent opportunity to explain our programs and talk with local community members and festival attendees. We all attended the forum and cultural presentations learning and experiencing the incredible richness of the culture and generosity of the local community.

The communication skills learning is a critical part of our Flinders MD and essential to quality health care. We listened to, and learned from, local cultural advisors Murphy Yunupingu and Mayilil Marika, who shared expertise in bush medicines and cultural knowledge. While the appreciation of complexity of communication between people of different backgrounds is easily acknowledged, this experience of immersion in a different cultural context demonstrates the deep challenge of communication and need to remain open to our diversity. We pride ourselves in the aspiration to universal health care for all. Trust is born from confidence that in our listening we can also value the differences. Our cultural advisors assist us to step wisely in sharing knowledge and respect, and ultimately for medicine, sharing ways to improve health and wellbeing in our consultations. We are committed to supporting the engagement of local community and especially young people in education and training.

I appreciate the contributions of many to ensure that our programs and university are recognised and authentically contributing to the local community in many places.

Associate Professor Emma Kennedy  RACGP
A/Prof in Medical Education & Training,
Flinders Medical Program (NT)

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