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Health information careers have a real impact on people's lives… just like nurses, doctors and other well-recognised careers in the broader health sector.
The more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people we have working in health information careers, the sooner we'll be able to close the gap in disadvantage between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
While not directly working with people to provide health care, jobs in health information are just as important in improving the lives of Indigenous Australians.
Get a career in health information:
Employ more Indigenous Australians:
Medical records officers: work in hospitals or health clinics to record medical information about patients. They turn medical information into codes according to a classification system, which forms the basis of data for research. A university degree is not required, but training is needed in medical terminology and the health classification system.
Health information managers: work in hospitals to collect and organise health information records. They develop health information systems; develop policies for handling health information in accordance with legislation; organise the transfer of health services data to relevant government departments; and supervise staff in records management procedures. A university degree in health information management is usually required, but TAFE courses in health administration may provide a pathway into this job.
Health data analysts: work with health data collected from government departments or health service providers. They may check the data to make sure it's accurate, extract data to prepare tables and graphs, analyse data, and write reports. A university degree in health or social science is usually required for this job, and training in statistics is an advantage.
Epidemiologists: study health and illness in human populations. They describe patterns of disease, for example, how many people have a disease, and what groups are most at risk (males or females, older or younger people, Indigenous or non-Indigenous etc.). They also determine the causes of disease. A university degree in public health or population health is required, incorporating courses in epidemiology, statistics or biostatistics. Epidemiologists work in government health departments, universities, hospitals or research organisations.
Demographers: study human behaviour and population makeup, distribution, changes, and other factors concerning human communities. They analyse population trends and interpret their significance. A university degree in demography, economics, or social science is required, with postgraduate qualifications highly valued by employers.
Psychologists: study human behaviour and the processes associated with how people think and feel. They may work with statistics or quantitative data to determine, for example, how many people have mental health problems and the causes of mental illness. A university degree in psychology or a major in psychology is required, followed by a postgraduate qualification or a period of supervised experience.
Find out more about health information careers:
Check with individual universities on different pathways to enter (if you don't meet formal entry requirements), as well as bridging courses. Most universities also have specific Indigenous entry programs (such as University of Sydney's Cadigal program) and Indigenous Higher Education Units to help Indigenous Australians wishing to enrol.
Various Indigenous scholarships offer students financial support, for example the South Australian Health Scholarship programand Puggy Hunter Memorial Scholarship.
The Australian Government provides training and workplace opportunities through an Indigenous Employment Programmes. Participants are placed in different Australian government departments as trainees, apprentices, or graduates.
Employers can help close the gap in disadvantage by promoting careers in health information (including education pathways), recruiting more Indigenous Australians, and supporting Indigenous staff.
As a consequence of Indigenous disadvantage and the inter-generational effects of historical exclusion, many Indigenous Australians have faced barriers to higher education.
Many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people don't have a history of family members going to university or working in a professional occupation. Younger generations may not know there are different pathways into university or that many career options exist, especially as careers in statistics are less well-known than nursing, medicine or professions in primary health care.
Examples of how different organisations have promoted careers in health information include:
Some tools to help recruit Indigenous Australians include:
As well as recruiting more Indigenous Australians, help retain and support your Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees by:
Examples of what some employers do to recruit or retain Indigenous staff:
Finally, the AIHW's Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) July 2014–June 2017 (6MB PDF) builds on its inaugural RAP by:
Over recent years, the AIHW has employed two cadets and three graduates (with Masters of Epidemiology) through the Australian Government's Indigenous Employment Programmes.
We welcome Indigenous Australians looking for a work placement while studying, and have an temporary employment register.