Indigenous health leaders aim to tackle long-standing health inequalities

Twelve Indigenous health leaders are embarking on a bold and innovative leadership program through the Melbourne Poche Centre for Indigenous Health at the University of Melbourne to tackle some of Australia’s long-term health problems.

Melbourne Poche Centre Director Professor Shaun Ewen said: “Indigenous Australians have a great depth of strength and resilience, whilst at the same time being over-represented in most measurable health outcomes."

The Poche Leadership Fellows Program aims to help emerging Indigenous health leaders influence change across Australia.

The program will boost participants’ leadership potential and broaden their networks through two Melbourne-based modules, in March and November, and a week-long program of visits and meetings in London in May.

The group will travel to Kings College, London, for a program designed to build on their leadership networks, skills and opportunities in an international context.

They will join discussions at the Australian High Commission, Rhodes House in Oxford and Westminster Palace in the Houses of Parliament.

Professor Ewen said: “The vision of our most generous donors, Greg and Kay Poche, was that their gift would be transformational.

"We expect that by supporting the emerging generation of Indigenous leaders in health, we are able to contribute to the transformation of policy, research, clinical care and health systems in general, such that the playing field between Indigenous and other Australians is level.”

The early-career fellows have been chosen from a range of backgrounds and include nurses, doctors and a lawyer.

The majority of participants are in the process of completing their doctoral studies. Their interests include research, policy and clinical practice in higher education institutions, government and the health service delivery sector.

The Melbourne Poche Centre was founded in 2014 through the generosity of Mr Greg Poche and his wife Ms Kay Van Norton Poche.

The Melbourne Poche Centre is part of  the Poche Indigenous Health Network, which comprises six centres at five universities across Australia.