​“Racism is the public health crisis we can no longer ignore - The role of the GP” is the topic of the final plenary session at RACGP’s GP20 annual conference.

The panellists, Dr Tanya Schramm, Prof Peter O'Mara, Daniel James, and Dr Josephine Guyer discussed the enduring impacts of colonisation and racism on the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; and the sources of Indigenous vulnerability and how this can affect healthcare delivery.

Intergenerational trauma is the result of early colonisation and handed down to generations; where being denied speaking the language results in a loss of identity. One solution discussed was to develop more language programs and develop program to get people back to country.

Past experiences precipitate negative self-talk around worth and identity; and this can create disempowerment and fear; which in turn leads to poor social determinants.

It was noted that Indigenous people are less likely to offered revascularistaion procedures, or renal transplants; and ‘discharge against medical advice’ is much higher. GP advice provided included “Asking the right questions and not assuming”

Building awareness starts with the education system where “we need to encourage the dreams of aboriginal children so that they can achieve what
they want to”.