Responding to health care imperatives – Indigenous health

Domain 4. Accreditation Standards

Domain 8. Stakeholder collaboration

Organisation

Australian Medical Council (AMC)

 

Relevance

Quality Framework for the Accreditation Function: Domain 4: Accreditation Standards

Quality Framework for the Accreditation Function: Domain 8: Stakeholder Collaboration

Issue addressed

The Australian Medical Council develops accreditation standards for medical programs across all four stages of medical training and education: primary medical education, internship, specialist medical programs and continuing professional development programs. The standards are based on a common structure and core, but are customised for the context and environment in which the programs of study are delivered. In 2007, the AMC introduced key principles from the Indigenous Health Curriculum Framework developed by the Medical Deans of Australia and New Zealand into the accreditation standards for primary medical programs. Standards cover: engagement with Indigenous people and communities as medical education stakeholders, recruitment and support of Indigenous students and staff, and Indigenous health curriculum content.

In 2013, the AMC began a review of the Standards for Assessment and Accreditation of Specialist Medical Programs and Professional Development Programs, and proposed introducing Indigenous health standards for specialist medical programs and for continuing professional development programs. The AMC proposed standards on engagement with Indigenous people and communities as medical education stakeholders, and Indigenous health curriculum content.

In 2015, the AMC completed a bi-national study with staff of the Poche Centre, the University of Melbourne, and the Leaders in Indigenous Medical Education of AMC (LIME) Network to consider the influence specific Indigenous health accreditation standards for primary medical programs have on the reporting on Indigenous health initiatives in medical schools. The study showed that the inclusion of Indigenous-specific standards leads to specific reporting on aspects related to Indigenous peoples in accreditation assessments and in AMC monitoring of medical programs. In areas of the accreditation standards where there was no Indigenous-specific requirements, AMC reporting was unlikely to mention Indigenous matters.

Practice introduced or changed

In 2015, the AMC completed the review of the Standards for Assessment and Accreditation of Specialist Medical Programs and Professional Development Programs. In this review, following consultation, the AMC has introduced similar Indigenous health standards for specialist medical programs and for continuing professional development programs to those introduced in 2007 for medical school programs. The number and type of Indigenous health standards has been directly influenced by the study described above.

As well as the standards proposed on engagement with Indigenous people and communities as medical education stakeholders, and Indigenous health curriculum content, the AMC has also included definitions of Indigenous health and cultural competence; standards on recruitment and support of Indigenous trainees, standards on addressing bullying, discrimination and harassment, a standard concerning cultural competence in continuing professional development programs, and in relation to the assessment of specialist international medical graduates.

Impact 

The accreditation standards developed by the AMC are the only medical program accreditation standards internationally that specifically address Indigenous peoples and their health. Others broadly address cultural competence and diversity. They are used as an example in other countries that have yet to address the healthcare of their Indigenous people explicitly in medical education.

By working in collaboration with Indigenous medical educators to review the impact of the medical school accreditation standards, the AMC has been able to adjust its proposals for Indigenous health standards in Standards for Assessment and Accreditation of Specialist Medical Programs and Professional Development Programs with the aim of implementing effective standards that are common across the continuum of medical education.

Where to go for more information

The AMC accreditation section, accreditation@amc.org.au