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Kathryn Powley
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Rising leaders in Indigenous health are London-bound for an intensive fellowship program this month, led by the Melbourne Poche Centre for Indigenous Health at the University of Melbourne.

The 10 fellows come from around Australia and include clinical health practitioners, health policy-makers and researchers based in higher education, government, health delivery and community sectors.

Melbourne Poche Centre Director and University of Melbourne Pro Vice Chancellor Professor Shaun Ewen said the seven-day program, run in collaboration with Kings College London, would provide participants with opportunities to network with leading health professionals, build on their disciplines and consider how far their leadership reach could expand for better Indigenous health outcomes.

“The module assists fellows in building their leadership by giving access to health professionals and institutions, extending their thinking on how to make gains in Indigenous health,” Professor Ewen said.

Melbourne Poche Centre Post-Doctoral fellow Tess Ryan said the London program would help strengthen leadership that was already emerging through community-controlled health organisations and the indigenising of institutions to build on their skills in influencing and driving health policy and practices.

“The fellows will build on their networks and be encouraged to collaborate and share knowledge and ideas with each other, their mentors and facilitators,” Ms Ryan said. “Passionate, educated individuals already work in health environments and this fellowship aims to grow their knowledge and capacity so that we make those gains.”

Ms Ryan said the London program was in step with the Australian Human Rights Commission’s recently completed Closing the Gap strategy review which highlighted how little progress had been made towards closing the gap in life expectancy between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.

Besides Kings College, participants on the May 19-26 London trip will visit the Australian High Commission, British Houses of Parliament, the National Health System Leadership Academy, Oxford University and the British Museum.

The Melbourne Poche Centre was founded in 2014 through the generosity of Mr Greg Poche AO and his wife Ms Kay Van Norton Poche. It is part of the Poche Indigenous Health Network, which comprises six centres at five universities across Australia.