Indigenous networking dinner celebrated the work of Weenthunga
A number of School of Allied Health staff had the pleasure of attending a networking dinner hosted by Weenthunga Health Network on 8 November and to listen to a panel of young Indigenous women respond to questions about their journeys towards careers in health care. The panel was facilitated by Professor Fiona Stanley, previous Australian of the year, who elicited important, and moving stories from these young women who were either undertaking their VCE studies or in first year at university. Each described the challenges associated with their choices to be an occupational therapist, midwife or nurse in the context of their identities as Indigenous women, and the value placed on the support of their communities in meeting these challenges. These stories provide important messages for us as we seek ways to work with community to support Indigenous people to choose to study health science degrees at ACU.
Also in Melbourne on the 8-10 November was the Lowitja Institute International Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Conference. The School of Allied Health was well represented with presentations from both Dr Bindi Bennett and Associate Professor Joanna Zubrzycki. Bindi presented from her doctoral work in a presentation entitled How light skinned Aboriginal people without kinship or community ties formulate their identity, and Jo and Bindi together presented a paper titled Stepping up and stepping out: Co-constructing with community Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social work curriculum. This is important work and fully aligned with the School’s strategic priority to embed First Australian ways of knowing into our curricular and to build capacity of both staff and students in this space.
Exciting developments in International student experiences
School of Allied Health students are enjoying the opportunities provided to undertake some of their community engagement or professional practice experiences in international locations. In 2016 we have had social work students do a professional practice placement in Rajigiri College in India; speech pathology students undertake community engagement in Chile and occupational therapy students undertake a placement in Vanuatu and Vietnam. All partnerships take time to establish and nurture, and we will continue to look for opportunities to collaborate with our partners in these location to both learn from and extend our relationships. Specific feedback about the Vietnam experience that has been undertaken by 12 occupational therapy students is provided below.
In June 2016, six occupational therapy students from the Brisbane, North Sydney and Melbourne campuses, completed their five week professional practice placement in Vietnam. For the first time, ACU partnered with GGC Vietnam and GGC volunteers to deliver paediatric occupational therapy services to children and their families living in Da Nang. Students were challenged to think broadly and creatively to integrate evidence based practice within the limited resources (educational, social, financial, and environmental) that were available to them. A further six occupational therapy students will be attending professional practice placements in Vietnam commencing in the coming week.
SOAH North Sydney win best dressed team
While the Melbourne campus took some R&R, North Sydney enjoyed the Cup together.
The SOAH Sydney staff made their presence felt at the AVC’s Melbourne Cup celebration in their floral attire winning the best dressed team. It was a great opportunity to have a bit of fun amidst the many activities staff are involved in.