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The number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medical students in Australia has increased significantly over the last decade.
Last year, 2.5% of Australia's domestic first-year medical students were Indigenous, up from 0.8% in 2004.
The increase is partly as a result of sustained efforts of organisations like the Australian Indigenous Doctors' Association (AIDA) and the Medical Deans of Australia and New Zealand (Medical Deans).
A Collaboration agreement was signed yesterday between AIDA and the Medical Deans, the third such agreement since 2005. Together, the organisations promote and support medical education for Indigenous students in Australia.
'The rise in the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medical students is a great way we can build the numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander doctors. It's important to ensure that these students can access appropriate cultural and academic support to graduate,' said AIDA Student Director, Ms Dana Slape.
Although total Indigenous student enrolment and graduation percentages are expected to increase over the coming years, an important joint priority of AIDA and Medical Deans under their new Collaboration agreement will be to advocate for reform within medical schools to ensure appropriate support processes are in place to increase the numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander doctors.
Medical Deans' Leaders in Indigenous Medical Education (LIME) Network will continue to provide significant leadership within the schools to achieve this reform.
Source: AIDA; The Age