Indigenous health boosted by $10m endowment

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Former Social Justice Commissioner Tom Calma has accepted a position as Patron of the Poche Centres for Indigenous Health

Flinders University’s ability to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health initiatives, including the training of doctors, nurses and other health professionals, has been lifted to a new level following a $10 million endowment from philanthropist Mr Greg Poche AO.

Flinders Vice-Chancellor Professor Michael Barber said the University was delighted to announce that the endowment will enable Poche Centres for Indigenous Health to be established in both Alice Springs and Adelaide.

“This extremely generous commitment by Mr Poche will allow a number of important education and research initiatives that will, over time, deliver positive health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” Professor Barber said.

“The Poche Centre for Indigenous Health in Alice Springs will support and develop the knowledge and skills of the health professionals working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals and communities,” he said.

“The Poche Centre for Indigenous Health in Alice Springs will be led by a senior Indigenous academic, and will link with the new Northern Territory Medical Program, being led by Flinders University, in partnership with Charles Darwin University, which aims to significantly increase the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people studying in the Northern Territory to become doctors.”

The Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, Professor Michael Kidd AM, said the Poche Centre will undertake research to guide the development of health services so that they are more effectively tailored to meet the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The $10 million endowment by Mr Poche – who established the first Poche Centre for Indigenous Health at The University of Sydney in 2008 as the first step towards a national network of centres – will support the new entities in both Alice Springs and Adelaide.

The Poche Centre for Indigenous Health in South Australia, to be based at Flinders University in Adelaide, will harness the University’s teaching and research programs to achieve an increase in the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students studying medicine, nursing and other health profession courses.

The Centre will also work to improve the understanding of the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples by all health professionals, foster health research by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers and health workers, and increase research that leads to improvements in the mental health and social and emotional well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

“Indigenous mental health vies with cardiovascular disease as a pressing health issue for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” Professor Kidd said.

“The Poche Centre for Indigenous Health in South Australia will play an active role in addressing mental health issues and contribute towards ‘closing of the gap’ in Indigenous health,” he said.

Mr Poche said he was “very pleased that two major Australian universities have already taken up this project to improve Indigenous health and I look forward to proceeding in partnership with other major universities in Australia to make this a national initiative.”

“I encourage other well-meaning Australians to support this initiative and hope that, together, we can all make a difference,” Mr Poche said.

Former Social Justice Commissioner Tom Calma [pictured] has accepted a position as Patron of the Poche Centres for Indigenous Health.

“The Poche Centres for Indigenous Health are an opportunity to reach out to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, to hear what they have to say and to work in collaboration with the communities to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,” Mr Calma said.

“It is great to see philanthropists like Greg Poche investing in projects like Indigenous health. If we can get Indigenous health right it will make a difference to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It is through these collaborative approaches that we will see success in the future where all parties are treated as equals and partners,” he said.

The $10 million endowment from Mr Poche will generate interest income for the Poche Centres for Indigenous Health in perpetuity. Flinders University is also encouraging financial support from the public and other stakeholders towards the work of the Poche Centres for Indigenous Health in Alice Springs and Adelaide. Contributions can be made to Flinders University through Ms Diané Ranck, Director, Marketing and Communications Office, on (08) 8201 2962 or diane.ranck@flinders.edu.au

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0 thoughts on “Indigenous health boosted by $10m endowment

  1. The endowment from Mr Greg Poche AO, is fantastic news for the indigenous communities of Adelaide and Alice Springs. The endowment will give more people from these areas to undertake studies in the Health Sector. I am an advocate for Aboriginal Primary Healthcare and the endowment will be most welcome towards Aboriginal Primary Healthcare to close the gap between Aboginal Health and Non Aboriginal Health.

  2. This is great new for Indigenous peoples and goes towards closing the gap, I believe that generating scholarships will also contribute to Indigenous peoples becoming health professionals, and should be a priority.

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