The Strength of our cultures is the strength of our future workforce

Ms Donna Murray1

1Indigenous Allied Health Australia, Deakin West, Australia


Utilising strengths-based approaches that build on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledges and perspectives, Indigenous Allied Health Australia (IAHA), has worked in collaboration with key partners to build a model of workforce development across the health and medical disciplines.

The program known as ‘The Northern Territory Aboriginal Health Academy’, is a model of health and medical workforce pathway development that aims to engage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to complete high school, whilst also completing a Certificate III in Allied Health Assistance and gaining job ready skills.

The process involved in progressing this workforce development model is equally as important as its potential outcomes. We actively engaged in ways of knowing, being and doing that demonstrate the key aspects of Indigenous knowledge and leadership.  Through key local partnerships, this pathway model into health and medical careers has been established with profession role models and mentors engaged, recognising these are a critical success factors.

Future workforce development and planning are essential in health, especially to address chronic workforce shortages and allied health access in communities. This academy model presents a locally controlled and driven initiative, opportunity to grow and develop our future workforce, while addressing social and cultural determinants in a culturally safe environment for student participants.

Our future Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce needs to have access to education and training that will support them to learn in a culturally safe and responsive environment.


Ms Donna Murray is a proud descendant of the Wiradjuri and Wonnarua peoples of the Murrumbidgee River and Hunter Valley, NSW. Donna is the CEO of Indigenous Allied Health Australia (IAHA), a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander allied health peak organisation.
Donna provides strong strategic leadership across Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs and the wider health sector with extensive experience in Indigenous leadership, governance, health, education and community development. She is the current Deputy Chairperson of the National Health Leadership Forum and plays a key leadership role on many national, state and local health and community advisories.