University of Technology Sydney

090017 Indigenous Public Health

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2024 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Health
Credit points: 3 cp
Result type: Grade and marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


In this subject, students develop and progress their knowledge of the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with a focus on contemporary Indigenous perspectives. This includes the historical context, the impacts of and Indigenous responses to colonisation, Indigenous social determinants of health and cultural dimensions of health. Examinations of the key comparative health indicators provide a context of the current and future public health needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Students in this subject explore public health responses essential for promoting, improving and maintaining the health of Indigenous Australians and the wellbeing of their communities.

The key aim of Indigenous health policy is to prioritise equity in access to healthcare services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Students examine services in the context of such policy, investigating whether health services and programs are available, accessible, affordable and acceptable, to and for this population.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:
A. Demonstrate knowledge of the demography and epidemiology of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s health
B. Describe Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health in historical context and assess the impact of colonisation on health outcomes
C. Identify and describe the impact of critical social issues on the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities
D. Engage as a professional with knowledge and skills in public health research, ethical practices, stakeholder analysis, information synthesis, effective communication and cultural safety

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes specifically to the following graduate attributes:

  • Demonstrate reflective critical thinking to enable critical appraisal of current practice, policy and research with the aim to enhance health care and healthcare outcomes, and transform health (1.0)
  • Communicate and collaborate to provide optimal outcomes in public health practice and research (4.1)
  • Maintain professional standards and engage in lifelong learning (5.2)
  • Demonstrate respect and value for world view differences and in particular Australian Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing (6.1)
  • Critically reflect upon the impact of ongoing colonisation and its pervasive discourse on Indigenous Australians and their health and wellbeing (6.2)
  • Recognise the diversity of Indigenous Australians and integrate this knowledge into practice (6.3)

Teaching and learning strategies

Learning in this subject is focused on active engagement and development of knowledge specific to Indigenous Australians' health and wellbeing through a block mode approach. With a focus on developing the Indigenous Graduate Attributes, all learning and teaching in this subject will be guided by the Faculty's REM Framework (Respect; Engagement and Sharing; and, Moving Forward) and provision of a culturally safe learning environment. Teaching and learning will take place via online modules and student workshops (Yarning Circles). Students will participate in a range of teaching and learning activities aimed at building the required skills and knowledge specific to Indigenous Australians’ health and wellbeing. Throughout the session, students will be provided with an array of online learning activities including case studies, webcasts, discussions and interviews with experts, as well as online discussion with peers and instructors.

Students are expected to work independently and to engage with other students, teachers and experts online through discussion forums and other interactive activities such as Zoom meetings for which they have to prepare in advance. Workshops facilitated through Zoom meeetings are focussed on collaborative discussions and learning in a less formal structure. Online resources are designed to enable students to explore and clarify concepts, and engage with sensitive or confronting topics at their own pace.

Activities will collaboratively engage students in the examination of real-world case studies and application of Indigenous knowledge in healthcare settings. These may be augmented by presentations from Aboriginal Health Workers and other practitioners who will share their insights and snap-shots from the field.

Assessments are designed to complement student learning by providing students with the opportunity to practically apply and track their understanding of Indigenous health concepts. Students will receive feedback from teachers and peers throughout the session and on assessment tasks.

Content (topics)

  • Understanding the diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities and the contribution of Public Health for improved health and social outcomes
  • Key comparative health indicators for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples considering influential factors including colonisation, trauma, social, environmental and contextual factors.
  • Social Determinants of Health across the key comparative indicators for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples
  • Social and health policy impacting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities


Assessment task 1: Weekly quiz


Students require foundational knowledge to be successful in the subject including the use of correct and respectful terminology and identifying key concepts from readings and modules. The student will be expected to apply this knowledge to all aspects of the subject.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

A, B, C and D

This assessment task contributes to the development of graduate attribute(s):

1.0, 6.1, 6.2 and 6.3

Type: Quiz/test
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 30%

5 multiple choice questions


Students will respond to 5 mutiple choice quiz questions based on information within each module, including reading material.

Assessment task 2: Community of learning


Cultural safety requires health professionals to examine themselves and the potential impact of their own culture on interactions. This requires professionals to develop skills in questioning their own biases attitudes, assumptions, stereotypes, and prejudices that may be contributing to a lower quality of healthcare for some patients (Curtis et al, 2019).

This process asks students to critically reflect on their experience through the subject, challenging preconceived knowledge and experiences for working for and with Indigenous peoples.

Community is central to working with Indigenous peoples, engaging in dialogue with the online learning community, and creating a space to challenge each other and learn together.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

A, B, C and D

This assessment task contributes to the development of graduate attribute(s):

1.0, 5.2, 6.1 and 6.2

Type: Reflection
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 20%

500 words


Actively contribute to the Community of learning with humility and respect.

Assessment task 3: Policy Review


Apply knowledge and skills developed within the subject inform a professional scenario working with and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

A, B, C and D

This assessment task contributes to the development of graduate attribute(s):

1.0, 4.1, 5.2 and 6.3

Type: Report
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 50%

1500, not including references


Apply the Girra Maa critical thinking schema (see below) to review the policy selected from the list available.

Girra Maa critical thinking schema:

  • Themselves (what is your position- how does your culture, and experience influence your thinking and professional activities)
  • The community (who will this affect, how have the local community been involved)
  • The population group (identifying their priorities)
  • The evidence base (what does the research say, who is conducting the research?)
  • Current policies and key documents (what are the key documents relating to the policy area at local, national, and international levels)
  • Human rights instruments
  • Translation/implementation/ impact/ action (how will this look/ work on the ground)
  • Evaluation (what evaluation is involved and what structure is in place for change management, and improvement)

Required texts

There is no required textbook for this subject. Essential readings will be made available on Canvas.

Recommended texts

All recommended texts can be found in your reading list.

Other resources

UTS Student Centre
Building 10

Monday to Friday: 9am - 5pm
Tel: 1300 ASK UTS (1300 275 887)

Details for student centres:

For other resources/ information refer to the Faculty of Health website ( and Canvas at:

UTS Library
The Library has a wide range of resources, facilities and services to support you including textbooks, subject readings, health literature databases, workshops and bookable study rooms. There is also a team of librarians to help you with your questions available via online chat, phone and in person. W:, Facebook: utslibrary, Twitter: @utslibrary Tel: (02) 9514 3666.

Improve your academic and English language skills
Marks for all assessment tasks such as assignments and examinations are given not only for what you write but also for how you write. If you would like the opportunity to improve your academic and English language skills, make an appointment with the HELPS (Higher Education Language & Presentation Support) Service in Student Services.

HELPS (Higher Education Language & Presentation Support)
HELPS provides assistance with English language proficiency and academic language. Students who need to develop their written and/or spoken English should make use of the free services offered by HELPS, including academic language workshops, vacation intensive courses, drop-in consultations, individual appointments and Conversations@UTS ( HELPS staff are also available for drop-in consultations at the UTS Library. Phone (02) 9514 9733.

Please see for additional information on other resources provided to students by UTS.

The Accessibility and Financial Assistance Service
The Accessibility Service can support students with disabilities, medical or mental health conditions, including temporary injuries (e.g., broken limbs). The Accessibility Service works with Academic Liaison Officers in each Faculty to provide ‘reasonable adjustments’ such as exam provisions, assistive technology, requests and strategies for managing your studies alongside your health condition. If you’re unsure whether you need assistance, we recommend getting in touch early and we can provide advice on how our service can assist you. Make an appointment with an Accessibility Consultant (AC) on +61 2 9514 1177 or

The Financial Assistance Service can assist you with financial aspects of life at university, including Centrelink information, tax returns and budgeting, interest-free student loans and grants to assist with course-related costs. Check eligibility and apply online and make an appointment on +61 2 9514 1177 or