UWS helps Indigenous students decode the signals and signs of a healthy lifestyle

Heartbeat: Signals and signs

Over 100 Indigenous students in years 5 and 6 will visit the University of Western Sydney’s Hawkesbury campus on Thursday 8 November for an event in the ‘Heartbeat’ series which is part of the University’s Schools Engagement suite of programs.

‘Heartbeat: Signals and signs’ will allow students to explore health and medicine-related fields of study while gaining knowledge that can be applied in their day-to-day lives.

Manager of Schools Engagement at UWS, Anne McLean, says Indigenous Australians have a lower life expectancy than non-Indigenous Australians and their health status is not as good across a range of indicators.

“This is due to many factors, and is compounded by their being under-represented in nearly every health profession. It is hoped that in the longer term ‘Heartbeat’ will contribute to better health and education outcomes for Indigenous people,” says Ms McLean.

The majority of participants join the program in Year 3 or 4 and are then invited back to campus annually for a variety of inter-linked, fun and educational events.

Most of the students attending the Hawkesbury event will have been to the Campbelltown campus, where the UWS School of Medicine building is located, at least once before.

“They’ve already experienced a campus that is largely a health and science precinct and now they’ll visit a campus which also has a strong science and health focus, but in fields such as food science, environmental science and forensic chemistry,” says Ms McLean.

“The ‘signals and signs’ event will further build their awareness of health issues affecting individuals, families and communities.”

“By engaging with the students from an early age, UWS hopes to inspire some to aim for careers in health, medicine and related sciences while at the same time make them feel more comfortable in the university space.”

Following a whole-of-group opening ceremony with a Welcome to Country delivered by Aunty Edna Watson, students will be split into four groups and will rotate through the following workshops:

  • Basic First Aid: Students will be given training on basic first aid techniques including burns, cuts, falls, etc. The workshop will be run by St John Ambulance NSW.
  • Food Marketing: Students will be shown footage of commercials relating to food and beverages and a discussion will take place to help them understand that marketing for food can be deceiving.
  • Food Science: This interactive workshop will demonstrate the sugar and fat content of everyday food and beverage items. Students will be shown the correct amounts for a healthy diet and will participate in food analysis at three different workstations.
  • Water Quality: Students will learn where drinking water comes from, and the importance of water quality and having clean water. They will have the opportunity to view samples through the microscopes in a laboratory and also to catch their own tiny marine creature to investigate.

Indigenous UWS students from health and science and nursing degrees will act as guides and role models on the day.

Schools participating in ‘Heartbeat: Signals and signs’ are:
Ambarvale Public School
Blackett Public School
Doonside Public School
Narellan Vale Public School
Rosemeadow Public School
Sarah Redfern Public School, Minto
St Andrews Public School
St Helen’s Park Public School
The Grange Public School, Minto
Whalan Public School

WHAT: Heartbeat: Signals and signs

WHEN: 10:00am to 2.00pm, Thursday 8 November, 2012

WHERE: UWS Hawkesbury campus


2 November 2012

Contact: Kristy Gleeson, Media Officer