RACS was privileged to be represented on 5 April, 2018 at the Closing the Gap Refresh National Health Peak Body forum. It is clear that Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health peak body organisations are well placed to advise the government on how the current Close the Gap Refresh could be used to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. A clear message from that forum was the need for a shift in focus away from an individual gap towards a strength based thriving families approach.

A thriving families approach could support increased representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders across the health workforce. Supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander doctors and aspirants to the medical profession is essential to improve outcomes in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. The Australian Indigenous Doctors' Association and Leaders in Indigenous Medical Education have been providing leadership in this area for medical schools and medical colleges for a number of years. This guidance from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander led organisations continues to be invaluable in assisting medical education organisations such as RACS to identify and support the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to pursue a career in medicine and specialty practice.

Through our work as surgeons RACS Fellows see the disparity in health outcomes between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians. RACS in association with the Australian Society of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery and other passionate partners are seeking the government's support to improve ear health outcomes. The prevalence of ear disease starting within the first few weeks of life has a devastating impact on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and communities, is deeply rooted in the social determinants of health and has significant negative impacts in terms of educational achievement, employment and incarceration. The negative impact of ear disease on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians is extensively investigated and documented by the World Health Organisation, the Australian Senate and House of Representatives inquiries.

Read the complete letter to the Prime Minister at the link below.