Meet Alex – GP Registrar and Academic Post participant

GPEx is committed to Closing the Gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians. As such GPEx, led by our Aboriginal Health team, and guided by the goals articulated in our GPEx Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) Aboriginal Health Strategic Plan have embarked on a research journey to better understand how we may be able to positively support AGPT graduates to consider a carer within Aboriginal Health. This is an extremely important in an environment where there is a substantial need for increased access to quality and culturally appropriate care within Aboriginal health environments.

In 2017/2018 GPEx completed a research project exploring why SA Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) graduates who had completed an Aboriginal Health Training Post during training had then chosen to continue to work in Aboriginal Health post-graduation.

Results have assisted us to improve the support we offer to registrars completing Aboriginal Health Training Posts during training, However, we also identified the need to explore why SA AGPT graduates who had completed an Aboriginal Health Training Post during training chose not to continue to work in Aboriginal Health post-graduation. This project was granted funding through the RACGP as an Academic Posts in 2019, and is being completed by GPEx Academic registrar Dr Alexandra Barrett.

Hi, I’m Alex and I would love to tell you about my upcoming research project.

I am in my final year of GP training with GPEx here in South Australia and am completing an academic post as part of my extended skills training, in addition to working at an Aboriginal Health Service based in Adelaide city and Elizabeth Downs. My project is focusing on barriers that GPs face when working in Aboriginal Health Services (AHSs).

As is common knowledge, the health disparities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians remains profound despite the introduction of the Close the Gap Campaign. One essential component to reducing this health inequity is providing adequate primary care services with skilled and culturally competent staff to the Indigenous population.
There is a lack of GPs who pursue careers in Aboriginal health but there is limited knowledge on the recruitment or retention of GPs in this area, and what barriers GPs face when working in these services. Prior research has predominantly focused on barriers that GPs face when working in remote communities but in order to more comprehensively address this topic, factors beyond geographic location must be explored.

I am looking to recruit GPs who have completed training in South Australia over the last 6 years, who completed an Aboriginal health placement as registrars but have not pursued further work in Aboriginal health following completion of training. The project has been approved by the University of Adelaide Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC #….). Participants will be interviewed about their experiences and training in Aboriginal health and the reasons why they haven’t continued to work in this subspecialty.

Participation is entirely voluntary, and information obtained will remain confidential and de-identified. The aim is to identify and potentially address or overcome some of these barriers by making suggestions to the South Australian GP training program, with the hope of increasing the number of GPs willing to work in Aboriginal health following fellowship.

If you would like further information on the project or are interested in participating, please do not hesitate to contact me on I look forward to hearing from you!

Yours sincerely,

Alex Barrett

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