The benefits of a tailor-made pilot primary health-care course for Indigenous high school students in remote Queensland


  • Contribution to the paper in brackets: Xiuzhi Pham (25%), Priscilla Page (25%), Sundram Sivamalai (25%) and Torres Woolley (25%).

A/Professor Sundram Sivamalai, Building 039-221, Douglas Campus, Townsville, Queensland, 4811, Australia. Email:


Objective:  This study highlights the benefits of a tailor-made course for an Indigenous high school in a remote North Queensland community.

Design:  Qualitative research study using a Grounded Theory approach to allow thematic analysis of participant's responses to a researcher-administered, pre-defined, semistructured questionnaire.

Setting:  Remote community college in Abergowrie, North Queensland.

Participants:  Four male high school students and eight key stakeholders were interviewed over the telephone (n = 12).

Results:  Thematic analyses of the feedback from students and stakeholders showed a variety of benefits from the course for Indigenous students: increased knowledge of health issues, greater awareness and interest in health career pathways, increased pride, self-esteem and self-confidence, positive role-modelling and leadership behaviour in the students, and hope for future career development. Weaknesses identified were mainly associated with a lack of resources and support for the course.

Conclusions:  This study demonstrates that a tailor-made primary health-care education course can create opportunities for Indigenous people to pursue health careers, promote health knowledge and leadership skills, inspire pride and self-esteem, and strengthen links within the community.