Indigenous students get the rhythm at Heartbeat


Indigenous students in years 3 and 4 at South-Western Sydney schools have participated in a University of Western Sydney event that aims to raise awareness of health issues and inspire students to consider a career in the fields of science, health or medicine.

More than 120 students from 14 schools took part in 'Heartbeat: get the rhythm' on Monday 30th April at the UWS Campbelltown campus.

Manager of Schools Engagement at UWS, Anne McLean, says the event offered a fun-filled day of activities as well as a powerful take-home message.

"With the University's School of Medicine located in Campbelltown, and the campus being developed as a health precinct, young people from the region have more opportunities to study medicine and other health related degrees than ever before," says Ms McLean.


"This event is part of the Heartbeat series which sees the same students return to the university at least once a year to have fun learning about health and medicine. We hope this will improve health-related decision-making and that many students will be inspired to pursue careers in the health sciences."

'Get the Rhythm' is the introductory event of the Heartbeat series. For most of the Indigenous students, it was their first visit to a UWS campus.

After a Welcome to Country and an address by the Dean of Medicine, Professor Annemarie Hennessy, students were divided into groups and took part in five different activities and workshops, run by UWS staff and students as well as representatives of the Australian Indigenous Doctors' Association (AIDA).

The activities included:

  • Get Plastered: Wearing nursing gowns and caps, students were shown how to correctly plaster broken limbs and were able to take their own plaster casts home to surprise their families.
  • Health Care: Nursing staff taught students how to measure heart rates, take temperatures, and wash hands the 'hospital way'.
  • Doctor for a Day: An interactive presentation in a university lecture theatre, where students were shown through the 'kid's space' section of the AIDA website.
  • Healthy Food Choices: A fun, active challenge, where students raced to place a range of food items in their correct place on the healthy food pyramid.
  • Physical Fitness for Life: Students tested their own fitness levels with balance, vertical jump, muscular strength and agility exercises.

The participating schools included:

Blairmount Public School
Bradbury Public School
Briar Road Public School
Claymore Public School
John Warby Public School
Kentlyn Public School
Leumeah Public School
Minto Public School
Narellan Public School
Ruse Public School
St Clare's Catholic Primary
St John the Evangelist Primary School
Sherwood Grange Primary School
Thomas Acres Public School

AIDA and the Tharawal Aboriginal Medical Service are partners in the Heartbeat program.