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Abstract

The gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians is too large to ignore. This has been attributed to social and economic disadvantage, access to health care and lack of cultural appropriateness of health services and providers. Creating culturally secure healthcare requires that we explore new ways for health professionals to relate to Aboriginal people. This article describes the development, implementation and early results from the Creating cultural empathy and challenging attitudes though Indigenous narrative project. The purpose of the project is to collect and trial narrative resources to engage students in stories of Indigenous people’s perceptions and experience of healthcare. Storytelling has a long tradition within Indigenous culture and narrative approaches can be successful in engaging students changing attitudes. These stories are intended to trigger classroom discussions to encourage students to reflect on their own assumptions and values and to enhance empathy, thereby enabling future health providers to improve their management of Indigenous patients. Key to this project has been working collaboratively with Indigenous people as active participants in the project with roles as project leads, team members, Indigenous Reference Group members, external evaluators and providers of the narratives.

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