Participants at the second annual ANU Close the Gap Day in April heard an expert panel speak about Indigenous health and saw a traditional smoking ceremony.
The event, organised by the ANU Rural Medical Society, aimed to raise awareness about the discrepancy in life expectancy and disease incidence between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
The day began with a stall in Garema Place where members of the public could sign the Oxfam Close the Gap pledge and speak to Indigenous Australians with experience in health care.
The event continued on campus with a smoking ceremony performed by local group Wiradjuri Echoes, where eucalyptus smoke was blown into the cloud to cleanse all present. The ceremony was followed by a roundtable discussion on Indigenous health issues by prominent community members including Minister for Education and Training and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs Dr Chris Bourke.
Lauren O’Rourke of the ANU Rural Medical Society committee said the event went a long way to raising awareness about the Government’s Close the Gap campaign.
“We organised this event to recognise the actions that have been taken and all that still needs to happen for the Indigenous peoples of Australia and to remind our political leaders of their commitment to ‘close the gap’ within a generation.
“As a society of medical students passionate about rural health we are proud to be part of a nation-wide campaign for Indigenous health equality. We hope Close the Gap Day will help build genuine and meaningful partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at all stages of health planning and delivery.”