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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

1534

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

102

projects run in 27 schools

97%

of Young Doctors have increased school attendance

90%

of Young Doctors report knowing more about Aboriginal culture

85%

of Young Doctors report wanting to work after completing school

90%

of Young Doctors report sharing their new health knowledge with others

80%

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

76%

of Malpa project delivery staff are Aboriginal and Aboriginal Elders

192

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

David Williams

David Williams

Executive Director, Ventures and Partnerships

David Williams joined SVA as an Executive Director in 2017, supporting Strategy and Business...

Contact David