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Admission of Indigenous medical students: Experiences of a new School. Neville D Yeomans, Tim Wills, Christine Carriage University of Western Sydney. Background to the Medical School. One of Australia’s largest (and youngest) universities - on 6 campuses across Greater Western Sydney

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Admission of Indigenous medical students:

Experiences of a new School

Neville D Yeomans, Tim Wills, Christine Carriage

University of Western Sydney


Background to the medical school
Background to the Medical School

  • One of Australia’s largest (and youngest) universities - on 6 campuses across Greater Western Sydney

  • Has largest School of Nursing in Australia, and a number of other health sciences

  • Offered a Medical School in 2004

  • First students commenced in 2007


Background to the medical school contd
Background to the Medical School (contd.)

  • The MB BS course:

    • Predominantly undergraduate (but some grads.)

    • 5 years long (2 y basic sciences, 3 y clinical clerkships)

    • Curriculum for years 1-2 licensed from University of Melbourne

    • Curriculum for years 3-5 being developed in house, with some emphasis on out-of-hospital settings, continuum-of-care, and extended pre-internship


Our opportunities to contribute to indigenous medical education
Our opportunities to contribute to Indigenous Medical Education

  • UWS located in Australia’s largest concentration of urban Indigenous people (26,500 at 2006 census = 5% of Australian population, 63% of Sydney’s)

    • Three major community groups in the Western Sydney region

    • Plus many others who have migrated

  • UWS seen as community friendly and informal

  • Already substantial number of Indigenous students in other courses


How do we select our non indigenous students
How do we select our non-Indigenous students? Education

Initial Filter:

School leavers: UAI threshold of 951 (93 if GWS)

Graduates: Grade Point Average of 5.5 (~credit average)

Then rankusing UMAT(Undergraduate Medicine & Health Sciences Admission Test)

Interview about 350 (of 2300 applicants in ‘06) to decide the 108 places, using a 90 minute Multi-mini interview


Selection process used for indigenous students in 06 07
Selection process used for Indigenous students in 06/07 Education

Direct application to School in September (11 applied)

Confirmation of Aboriginality by UWS Badanami Centre for Indigenous Education

‘Chat’ with Dean to advise about further steps we would follow in admissions

Applicants advised that sitting UMAT ‘… helpful but not essential’

All interviewed, with other applicants, in the main interview round

Special interview for 30 min with panel of 4, including 2 Indigenous academics


Domains discussed at the special interview
Domains discussed at the special interview Education

Academic background

Candidates brought transcripts, or any information that would give reassurance about likelihood of scholastic success

Motivation to do Medicine at UWS

Understanding of issues of Aboriginal health (Sydney/Australia)

Cultural and emotional support available to them


Outcomes of 2006 2007 round
Outcomes of 2006/2007 round Education

5 students (2 male, 3 female) admitted to 2007 cohort

1 school leaver with predicted UAI of 92

2 with partial degrees or diplomas

2 with Masters degrees

1 offered deferred place, if successful in year 1 of B Biomed Sc at Macquarie


Academic and emotional support
Academic and emotional support Education

Mentoring by Cris Carriage, Indigenous Program Officer, School of Medicine

Additional tutorials through Indigenous Tutorial Assistance Scheme (ITAS)

Still to do …. recruit at least one Indigenous academic member of staff


Progress of initial cohort
Progress of initial cohort Education

1 deferred at start of semester 2 (requires surgery for a chronic condition)

1 mature student whose university background was not in bioscience or a health area is having difficulty at present

1 is balancing challenging family responsibilities

2 have had a fairly uneventful first year to date


What have we learned about our admissions process
What have we learned about our admissions process? Education

May have been a little too anxious to start with as many Indigenous students as possible

? Better screening of appropriateness of academic background

? A bridging course (such as UNSW’s)

? More often advise a year of biological science, then transition to MB BS if successful


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