NACCHO Aboriginal Health News: Dr Mark Wenitong appointed to Commonwealth advisory committee

DR Mark Wenitong

GPs are centrally relevant in health care, often being the first port of call when someone has a health and wellbeing need, physical illness or mental health issue. The need for this “generalist” to diagnose, to centrally coordinate, treat and manage, and advise and advocate best patient care across the health system is critical.

“It is vital they are well trained to provide care in a variety of situations, including culturally appropriate care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients, as this skill will enable them to help not only Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, but all of their patients.”

Apunipima’s Public Health Medical Advisor Dr Mark Wenitong pictured above being filmed by Wayne Quilliam for NACCHO’s  20 part video series ” Aboriginal Health In Aboriginal Hands for healthy futures “to be released in 2016

Apunipima’s Public Health Medical Advisor Dr Mark Wenitong has been appointed to the Commonwealth Government’s GP Training Advisory Committee.

As the only Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander GP on the committee, Dr Wenitong will be able to give a valuable insight into the skills GPs need to deliver high quality medical services in remote aboriginal communities.

The Committee will oversee the governance of the Australian General Practice Training program and advise the government on GP training policy and delivery.

“The Australian General Practice Training program is a postgraduate vocational education and training program designed to prepare GP registrars for fellowship,” Health Minister Sussan Ley said.

There are currently more than 4700 GP registrars on the Australian General Practice Training program nationally.

Dr Wenitong, who is also Adjunct Associate Professor at James Cook University’s School of Public Health, Tropical Medicine and Rehabilitation Sciences, says his new role is “to help ensure we have effective training policy and practice to deliver a well-trained and well supported, culturally competent GP primary health care workforce in Australia.

Dr Wenitong’s term as Independent Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander GP will run for three years.

Biography

Dr Mark Wenitong is from the Kabi Kabi tribal group of South Queensland. He is the Senior Medical Officer at Apunipima Cape York Health Council, where he is working on health reform across the Cape York Aboriginal communities. He was the Senior Medical Officer at Wuchopperen Health Services in Cairns for the previous nine years. He has also worked as the medical advisor for OATSIH in Canberra.

He is the immediate past president and founder of the Australian Indigenous Doctors Association and sits on the National Health and Medical Research Committee – National Health Committee, chairs the Andrology Australia- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Male Reference group, and sits on several other committees. He is a council member of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies and a member of the Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander council.

Dr Wenitong has been heavily involved in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce and has helped develop several national workforce documents. He is involved in several research projects, and has worked in prison health, refugee health in East Timor as well as studying and working in Indigenous health internationally. He was a member of the NTER review expert advisory group in 2008. He is involved in clinical and policy work with the aim of improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health outcomes in Australia

 

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