The revised standards for medical school programs, that are being released today, articulate a new benchmark for high-quality medical education that is responsive to the needs of our communities across Australia and New Zealand. The revisions are a result of close collaboration between many people and organisations, including ours.
These standards aim to address key priorities. For example, the standards build on requirements to ensure the involvement of community members in teaching and program design, with greater consideration of people who face inequities in their health care. The standards place a greater focus on patient-centered care, ensuring an understanding of individual patient needs and context, as well as the systemic barriers they may face in accessing healthcare. There is also a recognition of the need for doctors to embrace technology in healthcare, understanding the opportunities, challenges, and ethical considerations.
Another significant change to the medical school standards is a strong focus on cultural safety in all aspects of medical education.
The medical school standards are built on the principles of self-determination and respect for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait and Māori peoples. They recognise that medical education must be informed and led by Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and Māori knowledge and best-practice evidence to meet the needs of these communities.
In acknowledging the right to self-determination, the AMC undertook a shared sovereignty process for developing the standards. The result is a new language around cultural safety and Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and Māori health and well-being that reflects and includes the voices of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and Māori people. It is our hope that through the implementation of these standards, this voice will be heard more clearly throughout medical education going forward.
The shared sovereignty process has resulted in major shifts to the standards, including recognising the importance of cultural safety and Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and Māori health, and builds on the foundational requirements introduced in the 2007 standards and strengthened in the 2012 standards.
Recognising that Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and Māori-led health care offers the best outcomes for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and Māori Peoples, medical schools are asked to enhance strategies for recruiting and supporting Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and Māori medical students and staff.
Medical schools will need to work closely with Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and Māori people on curriculum design and assessment. Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and Māori communities will need to be part of the governance of education programs. Educational content authored by Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and Māori health experts will need to be integrated throughout the curriculum.
These are some of the changes to the requirements of what medical students need to learn and how medical schools deliver their programs. They will provide a path for medical schools, working with their communities and with us to progress culturally safe medical education.
Recent accreditations of medical schools across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand have shown that schools are already taking important steps to improve the cultural safety of their programs and Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and Māori health education and recruitment of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and Māori Peoples. These revised standards signal an ongoing commitment to those efforts.
The AMC, the Leaders in Indigenous Medical Education (LIME) Network, the Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association, Te Kaunihera Rata o Aotearoa (Medical Council of New Zealand) and Te ORA have already well-established relationships with medical schools and other key stakeholders in medical education and will continue to develop these as mutually beneficial partnerships.
The AMC, the Medical Board of Australia and Te Kaunihera Rata o Aotearoa (Medical Council of New Zealand) will continue to work with and support all medical schools, individually and through Medical Deans of Australia and New Zealand, to foster a strengthened approach to medical education that benefits all communities in both Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand.
Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and Māori peoples have a right to expect safe and appropriate care. These standards represent our shared commitment to that right. We look forward to working together to support the implementation of these important changes to the medical school standards.
|Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association||Medical Deans Australia and New Zealand|
|Leaders in Indigenous Medical Education (LIME) Network||Te Kaunihera Rata o Aotearoa (Medical Council of New Zealand)|
|Medical Board of Australia||Te ORA|
Australian Medical Council