Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health

An overarching strategic priority for General Practice Training Tasmania (GPTT) is to contribute to ‘Closing the Gap’ in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health disadvantage by delivering high quality, innovative, regionally-based training programs which produce a GP workforce that meets the primary healthcare needs of all Australians.

The GPTT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Training Strategic Plan has been developed to expand capacity, increase activity and improve the quality of general practice care provided to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.  This training also provides GP registrars with unique and rewarding opportunities to learn about traditional medicine, cultural protocols and clinical issues.

Some of our initiatives under the GPTT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Training Strategic Plan are listed below.

Reconciliation Action Plan

In July 2020, General Practice Training Tasmania (GPTT), in collaboration with the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre, launched the GPTT Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan – this builds on their previous Reflect RAP further formalised their commitment to improving Aboriginal health in Tasmania.

GPTT CEO Judy Dew said the Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), which has been endorsed by Reconciliation Australia, provides many ongoing opportunities to further strengthen our relationships with the Tasmanian Aboriginal community.

“The RAP provides a framework, with strategies and measurable targets, to further extend our Aboriginal cultural training and to maintain respectful relationships within the Aboriginal community,” Ms Dew said.

“We have a long and valued relationship with the Tasmanian Aboriginal community and are committed to fostering a greater understanding of Aboriginal culture and health among our registrars and within our organisation so as to provide services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people that are culturally appropriate”.

The RAP program has more than 1,000 dedicated corporate, government and not-for-profit organisations across Australia that have formally committed to reconciliation since its inception in 2006.

Artwork in the RAP has been carried across from the previous Reflect Rap and was provided by Tasmanian Aboriginal Artist, Sharnie Read.

The artwork depicts a mariner shell, one of the most precious and decorative shells used by Tasmanian Aboriginal people along with an ancient cultural symbol that can be found carved into rock at various locations around the island.

Download the RAP



Aboriginal Health Training is an essential training requirement for GP registrars undertaking the GPTT program and is accredited by RACGP and ACRRM.

To complete this program you will need to undertake the following steps:

Step 1: Complete Aboriginal Health Training module on the Source

You will need to complete all three chapters of the module on the on the Source:

  • Chapter 1. Introducing Cultural Awareness
  • Chapter 2. Barriers and Enablers
  • Chapter 3. Opportunities and Services

Step 2: Undertake a cultural activity or attend the Day Camp at piyura kitina by August 31 2022.

This component is designed to provide greater flexibility by allowing you to choose a cultural activity that best suits your learning style. A range of suggestions for cultural activities are listed in the Activity Resource List provided in the playlist under Option 1 Aboriginal Health Cultural Awareness Training Group on the Source but you may also choose to attend the Day Camp at piyura kitina as your activity.

Dates for the Day Camp will be confirmed early 2022 – during the June to August period.


Step 3: Complete predisposing activity/written reflection piece and submit to [email protected]  for review by Medical Educators by September 30 2022.


The predisposing activity/reflection piece can be found on the Source in the Playlist for Option 1 Aboriginal Cultural Awareness Program under the Aboriginal Health Group.

Step 4: Attend a small group debrief session about the module and activities – to be completed by 31st October 2022. 

An invitation will be sent to you to attend the debrief session which will also cover expectations for the upcoming Aboriginal Health Service visit and the importance of culturally safe interactions with the Cultural Educators and Aboriginal Health Service Staff.   Frequently Asked Questions will also be covered at this session.

Following the debriefing session, both the module and activity will marked as complete on your GPrime file, which will trigger an invite for you to attend the next upcoming Aboriginal Health Service Visit or Virtual Tour.


Step 5: Attend the AHS visit – November 2022, date TBC

Invitations to the Aboriginal Health Service Visit/Virtual Tour will be sent out only to registrars who have completed the above steps prior to each event.  You will need to RSVP/accept the invitation to receive a link to the virtual event.  Your attendance will not be checked off until you have logged into the virtual event.  Registrars who undertake a placement in Aboriginal Health Services are exempt from this activity.


These sessions will assist you to gain a better understanding of the Aboriginal Health Service (AHS) in your region (Burnie, Launceston or Hobart).


Step 6: Reinforcing activity and Evaluation – Completion of training

The Reinforcing Activity forms can be found in the Playlist for Option 1 Aboriginal Cultural Awareness Program under the Aboriginal Health Group on the Source.

Cultural Educators/Mentors

GPTT have provided funding to the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre to support the roles of Cultural Educators and Cultural Mentors.

The role of Cultural Educators is to assist in the promotion, development, delivery and evaluation of cultural awareness training for registrars and other individuals and organisations.

Cultural Mentors support GPTT registrars in providing culturally safe care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients, both at Aboriginal Health Services and in primary care generally.


A culturally responsive general practice environment can play a significant part in improving access for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities.  GPTT believes that increased participation from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce is important, particularly given general practitioners are considered the first point of contact for most Australians when accessing healthcare.  For this reason, GPTT has recently developed a Registrar Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Support Policy as a mechanism to reduce potential barriers and assist them to meet their learning outcomes.
ATSI Registrar Support Policy

Registrar Posts at Tasmanian Aboriginal Health Services

General Practice registrars are able to practice at an Aboriginal Health Service in Burnie, Launceston or Hobart as part of their GP training.  Registrars who have undertaken a post at an Aboriginal Health Service as part of their training recommend it for many reasons:

  • Working in a community setting
  • Managing a range of complex chronic diseases
  • Providing culturally appropriate, holistic primary health care
  • Developing an understanding of the cultural, social and emotional needs of Aboriginal patients.

More information can be found in training practices search

“I consider it a great opportunity to have worked with the Aboriginal community as it allowed me great insight towards their history, culture and community aspects.  I appreciated the complexities of their medical and social needs and feel privileged to be able to contribute towards their health and improve health outcomes by targeting regular health checks, conducting home visits with Aboriginal Health Workers, promoting timely vaccinations and encouraging patients to take responsibility for their own health”.  Testimonial from Nisha Johnson, Registrar at the Hobart Aboriginal Health Centre in 2018. 

Support For Registrars undertaking Posts at Tasmanian Abroriginal Health Services

Home Visits Program

In collaboration with the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre, GPTT provides for the delivery of an outreach service for frail, socially isolated, elderly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients with chronic diseases.  Registrars have the opportunity to conduct medical appointments at a patient’s home, with the assistance of a health professional from the Aboriginal Health Service, such as an Aboriginal Health Worker, Nurse, or Social Worker.


Small Group Learning Sessions

Small Group Learning Session are provided for GPTT registrars on a regular basis.  Sessions address the individual learning needs of the registrars and provide clinical support in managing any challenges faced by the registrars.