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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medical students’ and doctors’ career intentions

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To the Editor: In the past 30 years, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medical workforce has rapidly expanded. However, proportionally, there is still underrepresentation of Indigenous people in all areas of medicine.1 General practice has remained successful in attracting Indigenous people to undertake fellowships,1 but there are many specialties that have yet to see an Indigenous trainee or fellow.

Indigenous medical student numbers reached population parity for the first time in 2012.2 As these numbers increase, it is important to understand the demographics, career intentions and outcomes for this group, to achieve positive change for Indigenous health through improved support and reduced attrition of students.

The Medical Schools Outcomes Database and Longitudinal Tracking (MSOD) project collects data on Australian medical students and doctors.3,4 All students are invited to complete short questionnaires when commencing and finishing medical school and subsequent postgraduate years. Between 2005 and 2012, 36 244 participants completed the surveys.4

Up to 2012, 296 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students had completed the commencing medical…