The influence of Identity, Roles and Expectations on Indigenous students studying at university which impacts on building the Indigenous health workforce

Stephen Corporal, Naomi L Sunderland, University, My
The health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples has been problematic since colonisation. At present, Indigenous health has been prioritised nationally in Australia through initiatives such as the Close the Gap policy and many related activities led by Government, non-government, and Indigenous community organisations. There is a strong move toward Indigenous community led responses to promoting better health and wellbeing for our people. A key part of such community led responses is
more » ... ty led responses is generating a sustainable Indigenous health workforce. This workforce needs to carry not only the knowledge and skills associated with formal mainstream study and qualifications but also the identity, roles, and expectations of Indigenous people, families and communities themselves. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been historically excluded from universities and there remain tensions. The attrition rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in health degrees at Australian universities have been problematic over the past decades. There are many aspects of students' experiences that can affect their success including institutionalised racism and deficit thinking and the level of academic, cultural, and financial support. Yet, there are deeper aspects of Indigenous students' cultural identities and associated roles and expectations – extended from both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people – that shape their success. In my role as an Indigenous social worker, student support worker, teacher researcher and student over the past 30 years I recognised the need to understand the ways that students' cultural, community, and family identities intersect with the identities, roles, and expectations sometimes imposed upon them in universities. The purpose of this study was to explore the significance and effects of identity, roles, and expectations for Indigenous students undertaking health degrees. Indigenous health students navigate a complex range of identities, roles, and expectations that come from co [...]
doi:10.25904/1912/4010 fatcat:f3qyhqi73zh3ngkihiyebvnp34