This week, the Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR) conducts its annual Spotlighting Careers in Indigenous Health & Science Program as part of an effort to improve health outcomes for Indigenous Australians.
Associate Professor Gail Garvey, Head of QIMR’s Indigenous Health Research program, says encouraging Indigenous children to complete schooling and exposing non-Indigenous students to Indigenous culture is one way of achieving this aim.
“QIMR has developed a unique program for Indigenous and non-Indigenous high school students from across Queensland that gives them a greater insight into what happens ‘in the lab’ and to learn more about Indigenous health,” Gail said.
“The ultimate outcome for this program is for students to take up a career in science, medicine or one of the allied health fields with a focus on Indigenous health.”
The program has been so successful that in 2004 QIMR won a Peter Doherty Award for Excellence in Science & Science Education.
Conducted over five days, the program gives students a hands-on experience in QIMR laboratories and provides the opportunity to visit local universities, attend seminars on Indigenous health, visit the CSIRO and experience some Indigenous cultural activities.
Around 20 students and two teachers attend the program each year.
The Spotlighting Careers in Indigenous Health & Science Program is conducted in collaboration with the Science & Technology Strategy Curriculum Division DETA and is kindly sponsored by Arthur Earle Youth Foundation and the Rio Tinto Aboriginal Fund.
“Over the years we have found this program assists students to develop more positive relationships with their teachers and peers,” Gail added.
“We have also found that the interaction with ‘real scientists’ and Indigenous people working in this field has been invaluable to the students’ learning.”
The 6-day program kicks off on the 24th with students travelling from Cairns, Innisfail, Charleville, Cunnamulla, Dalby, Rockhampton, Oakey, Bundaberg and Clifton. It is a highlight on the QIMR calendar with scientists eager to host students in their laboratories.
If your school or business is interested in becoming involved for 2009 please contact the Queensland Institute of Medical Research.