Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

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Unit Overview


This unit is run by the Centre for Aboriginal Medical and Dental Health. It is directed at students who are interested in learning more about Aboriginal health and helps students improve their understanding of the position of Aboriginal people in contemporary Australian society as a basis for working with Aboriginal people during their health career. Taught predominantly by Aboriginal people, the unit addresses historical and cultural issues that underlie current Aboriginal health problems and explores specific health issues affecting Aboriginal people. The unit also explores in more detail interactions between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal service providers in a range of settings and the implications of these experiences on attempts to improve Aboriginal health.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 core unit in the Public Health; Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing major sequences
  • Level 2 option in the Psychology; Humanities in Health and Medicine major sequences
  • Level 2 elective

Students are able to (1) demonstrate a broad understanding of the aetiology of the discrepancy that exists between the health of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in Australia; (2) identify some of the key historical, social and cultural issues that underlie current Aboriginal health issues; (3) discuss selected specific health problems that are major issues for Aboriginal people; (4) discuss Indigenous health in an international context, demonstrating an understanding of the similarities and differences in past and present issues that have impacted on the health of Aboriginal people; (5) describe and understand the importance of ethics and research to inform and contribute to Aboriginal peoples health outcomes; (6) demonstrate an understanding of the position of Aboriginal people in contemporary Australian society as a basis to understanding and working in Aboriginal health; (7) demonstrate an understanding of cultural competency in working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; (8) describe how there have been differing interactions between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal service providers in a range of settings and the implications of these experiences in attempting to improve Aboriginal health; (9) discuss common relationships between Aboriginal people and health services and the historical, cultural and social factors contributing to these relationships; (10) describe current approaches to improving Aboriginal health and barriers to more rapid improvement; and (11) describe why Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations have been established and the principles which underpin their continued operation.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) essay; (2) tutorial presentation; and (3) reflective journal. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Christine Clinch
Unit rules
for the Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing major: INDG1150 Aboriginal Encounters: Strangers in our Backyard.
or INDG1160 Boodjar Moort Katitjin: Introduction to Indigenous Heritage and Knowledge.
for the Population Health major: PUBH1101 Health and Illness in Human Populations.
or PUBH1102 Health and Globalisation.
for pre-2012 courses: HIST1100 Aboriginal History.
for the Women's Health minor: IMED1108 Issues in women's health across the lifespan.
IMED2293 Aboriginal Health, IMED3393 Aboriginal Health
Contact hours
a combination of seminars, tutorials and visits to organisations

Carson, B. et al. eds Social Determinants of Indigenous Health: Allen & Unwin 2007

Couzos, S. and Murray, R. Aboriginal Primary Health Care: an Evidence-based Approach, 3rd edn: Melbourne OUP 2008

National Aboriginal Health Strategy Working Party: National Aboriginal Health Strategy 1989

Saggers, S. and Gray, D. Aboriginal Health and Society: the Traditional and Contemporary Aboriginal Struggle for Better Health: Allen & Unwin 1991

See the LMS (Learning Management System) and unit CD and guidebook for a more detailed list of references.

  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.