The Griffith Health First Peoples Health Unit recently hosted the First People’s Aspirations to Health Programs camp on the Gold Coast Campus. Twenty-two Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander high school students from Mt Isa in North Queensland down to Woodridge, Ipswich and Beenleigh in the South-East corner of Queensland attended. During the week long camp, students in years 10 to 12 were immersed in university life and participated in workshops, activities and cultural events. These included academic presentations; workshops delivered by the Schools of Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing and Midwifery, and Human Services; practical demonstrations at Gold Coast University Hospital; and mentoring sessions with current First Peoples students completing Griffith University health degrees. Students also attended yarning circles and engaged in cultural activities guided by Yugambeh Elder Uncle Allan Lena, staff from the First Peoples Health Unit, and First Peoples student mentors.

There was a wealth of information and activities on offer during the week, including sessions from the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME), Character Builders and the GUMURRII Student Support Unit. Feedback from students was overwhelmingly positive with many students indicating their keen interest in applying to study at Griffith, with two students finalising their applications for 2018 during the camp.

The First Peoples Health Unit is committed to increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student success towards a more highly skilled, highly educated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce. The First People’s Aspirations to Health Programs plays a crucial role as part of The First People’s Health Unit’s engagement strategy in inspiring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander high school students to attend university. It provides an opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students who are interested in studying a health degree at university, but who otherwise may not have opportunity to do so.

If you would like to know more about the First Peoples Health Unit and the First People’s Aspirations to Health Programs please contact the Unit on 07 5567 80342 or at fphu@griffith.edu.au.