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Training opportunities, new facilities, research, and health workforce were just a few of the topics discussed during a James Cook University (JCU) meeting in the Torres Strait recently.
The JCU Torres Strait Health Sciences Consultative Committee met on Thursday Island to give an update on activities in the community.
Committee Chair and Torres Strait Islander Romina Fuji said they are focused on opportunities for the community.
“The advisory committee to James Cook University has had its presence in the Torres Strait and NPA for a number of years and the focus has always been on Torres Strait Islanders entering University, to attain qualifications and to get higher quality jobs. This concept has always been supported by the Torres Strait Islanders Regional Education Committee and the elders always wanted in their words ‘proper education’.”
Ms Fuji said she was pleased JCU has had a long term presence in the Torres Strait to ensure the elders’ vision lives on.
“With the changes happening in the world we need to continue having this conversation now and in the future with JCU. The Consultative Committee aims to continue this conversation and vision into the future, with the support of Torres Strait and NPA communities, to be a leader in tropical health, medicine, research and education.”
JCU Deputy Vice Chancellor of the Division of Tropical Health and Medicine, and committee member Professor Ian Wronski said a key area of discussion was its role in research activity and how to best reflect that role in the Committee’s structure.
“We’re committed to working with the Torres Strait community to build tropical health research and education capacity. The Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine at JCU recently completed construction of its Clinical Research and Training Facility on Thursday Island and this is an ideal platform to enhance our engagement and collaboration with the Torres Strait community. This facility will support health research and training to address health issues of most concern to the Torres Strait.”
The meeting was also an opportunity to reflect on the health workforce trained by JCU in the region.
JCU College of Medicine and Dentistry Dean and committee member, Professor Richard Murray was pleased to report on the number of student placements and General Practitioners servicing the Torres Strait.
“We have three fifth year Dentistry students in the Cape and Torres Strait involved in both clinical and health promotion activities for the community. At any one time there are normally six final year medicine students on a rural internship rotating through Thursday Island and Bamaga.
“We also have four training GPs in the region and a further five qualified GPs from our program, who have decided to stay and work in the Torres Strait. Ultimately that is what we want to achieve in the Torres Strait. Training a health workforce in the community who then want to stay and become part of that community.”
JCU looks forward to a continued partnership with the people of the Torres Strait to provide better health outcomes and opportunities.
Captions Image 1: JCU Torres Strait Health Sciences Consultative Committee met on Thursday Island recently to give an update on activities in the community. Committee members pictured: Professor Louis Schofield, Romina Fuji (Chair), Pam Stronach, Charlotte Tamwoy, Peter Westwood, Professor Ian Wronski, Professor Melanie Birks and Professor Richard Murray.
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