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Heartbeat: The University of Western Sydney Schools Engagement Program



This University of Western Sydney (UWS) program aims to inspire Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children to pursue careers in medicine or health. It also raises awareness among these children and their families about healthy lifestyles.

Participating children enrol in the program at the age of eight or nine and visit UWS each year to build on knowledge and experience previously gained. During these visits, they spend time with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander UWS medical and health science students who act as guides and role models.

Children also participate in activities that promote healthy lifestyles and give them greater insight into some health careers. Examples of past activities include:

In 2015, a website connected to Heartbeat was launched, which features an interactive game called Lightning Runners (refer to links below). The game draws on traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge, particularly in regard to sustainability, and is linked to Heartbeat's themes. This enables more regular connection between participants and the university, as well as allowing students who are not participating in the program to learn from the game.

The program, which commenced in 2010, has over 450 enrolled students from the Campbelltown and Blacktown/Penrith regions and has had more than 1,300 students participate. Heartbeat education resources are currently being developed to link with the NSW school syllabus. The program is assisted by the Australian Government.

A year 10 and 11 program is planned to be developed in 2017.

Abstract adapted from University of Western Sydney


Josh Mason
University of Western Sydney
Ph: (02) 9678 7539

Jacqui Cornforth
Heartbeat Project Officer
Schools Engagement
Western Sydney University
Ph: (02) 9678 7330


Last updated: 24 May 2017
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