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The issue

There is vast inequality in health outcomes between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians, with a gap in life expectancy of around 10 years. Poor health and health literacy are key drivers behind failures to Close the Gap.

Preventable health issues in children negatively affect school attendance rates and their ability to learn, which can contribute to life-long consequences including reduced employment prospects, increased anti-social behaviour, and increased contact with the criminal justice system.

Malpa’s approach

Malpa’s Young Doctors Project is a culturally focused, Aboriginal-led and curriculum-aligned health and education project for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children aged 9-12 years old. It is delivered in a school setting and focuses on improving primary health care and well-being within Aboriginal communities.

Children are taught a combination of traditional Aboriginal healing skills and modern practices from Western medicine, to provide a holistic overview of health, culture and well-being to improve health and health literacy. The children become health ambassadors by sharing the learnings from Young Doctors with their families and communities.

What's innovative about it

Community driven, designed and facilitated

Aboriginal Leaders, Elders, community health providers and local clinicians work together to create engaging project content that supports young people to develop their health and wellbeing.

Empowers children to become health ambassadors

Young Doctors who participate in the program become health ambassadors in their communities, sharing learnings with their peers and family members.

Promotes reconciliation

All projects are delivered by at least one Aboriginal facilitator to ensure Aboriginal culture drives program activities. Projects are delivered to a mix of both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children to promote a shared understanding of culture.

Aligns with school curriculum and teaching objectives 

The Young Doctors Project maps to all content for the Personal, Social and Community Health strand of the Australian Curriculum: Health and Physical Education in both years 3-4 and years 5-6, as well as some of the content for the Movement and Physical Activity strand.

Meet the Malpa educators

Mel, Shara, Debbie, Matt, Jennifer and Eleazar share their favourite stories about the school kids in Malpa.

Positive impact so far


Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students trained as Young Doctors in schools across NSW, SA, VIC and ACT


projects run in 27 schools


of Young Doctors have increased school attendance


of Young Doctors report knowing more about Aboriginal culture


of Young Doctors report wanting to work after completing school


of Young Doctors report sharing their new health knowledge with others


of parents report that their child’s school was more supportive


of Malpa project delivery staff are Aboriginal and Aboriginal Elders


hours volunteered per year by community members

5 mins with Don, Malpa CEO

“The support of SVA has been pivotal for us in our growth as an organisation, and also connecting us with people who want to invest in our work.”

Sustainable Development Goals

3 - Good Health and Well-Being
4 - Quality Educations
10 - Reduced Inequalities

Proud funding partners

  • William Buckland Foundation
  • The Magnolia Fund (or Foundation)
  • John Sevior & Rebecca Gorman
  • Foundation of Graduates in Early Childhood Studies
  • Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal
  • Bank of Melbourne
  • Permsew Foundation
  • Danks Trust
  • Bennelong Foundation

To learn more contact