The ANU Medical School Rural Students Medical Society (ARMS) held their annual Close the Gap Day ceremony last month to raise awareness for Indigenous health issues.
The day began in Civic with a stall to encourage members of the Canberra community to sign a pledge in support of closing the health gap.
Following the pledge signing, the ceremony continued at University House with an Indigenous cultural performance and speeches by prominent community members about their own experiences of Indigenous health, followed by a roundtable discussion with questions from the audience.
"It was fantastic to have so many great speakers with such broad experience in a number of fields. Their entertaining presentations gave medical, nursing and social work students a more holistic and culturally sensitive approach to Indigenous health and a greater understanding of the most pressing issues currently facing the Indigenous community," said Brendan Cantwell, former ARMS president.
A photo exhibition was also held throughout the afternoon, featuring photos taken by third-year ANU Medical students on their Northern Territory placements. These placements provide students with the unique experience of working in Aboriginal health, with a strong emphasis on cross-cultural education. The winning photo was Kartiya backyard, Warlpiri country by Scott Mills.
ARMS members and visiting students from other rural health clubs finished off the day's festivities with a bushdance at the Yarralumla Woolshed.
"The 2013 Close the Gap was a great success," said ARMS student representative Jizhou Cheng. "It brought together various rural health clubs from around Australia and focused our attention, as future healthcare professionals, on Aboriginal health. We were able to celebrate Aboriginal culture and also learn what can be done to reduce inequalities in Indigenous health."