Australia’s first trauma recovery program aiding Indigenous communities

Australia’s first trauma recovery program aiding Indigenous communities

Experts gather to design curriculum for Australia’s first Indigenous Trauma Recovery Program.

Photo shows (left to right) Dr Joanne Buckskin, Suzanne Gannon, Professor Ngiare Brown, Debra Hocking, Professor Judy Atkinson and Ruth Morris.

Health, education and teaching professionals are gathering at UOW to design the curriculum for Australia’s first Indigenous Trauma Recovery Program.

The new Indigenous Trauma Recovery Program, a partnership between UOW’s Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health and America’s Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), will be offered from July this year and will provide health professionals with the knowledge and skills to effectively address multiple layers of trauma across Aboriginal and other Indigenous communities.

It will focus on healing for Australian Aboriginal individuals, families and communities.

Program Coordinator Debra Hocking has invited health, education and teaching professionals to gather this week at a planning forum and design the curriculum for this new program.

The participants of the Indigenous Trauma Recovery Program Curriculum Working Group Inaugural Meeting are:

  • Ms Debra Hocking, Program Coordinator, Faculty of Science, Medicine & Health, UOW
  • Emeritus Professor Judy Atkinson, Southern Cross University
  • Professor Ngiare Brown, National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO)
  • Professor Ian Wilson, Dean of Medicine - Faculty of Science, Medicine & Health, UOW
  • Dr Dominique Parrish, Associate Dean (Education) – Faculty of Science, Medicine & Health, UOW
  • Graham Gee, Psychologist, Victorian Aboriginal Health Service
  • Ms Suzanne Gannon, Director, Footprints of Healing program, for female survivors of trauma
  • Dr Joanne Buckskin, Lecturer, Faculty of Law, Humanities & the Arts, UOW

This new program is aimed at but not limited to: Aboriginal health workers/counsellors, community members as well as international health policy planners, human rights lawyers, non-government organisations, advocacy representatives, educators, administrators, occupational therapists and other mental health care workers and policy planners working with populations that are victims/survivors of trauma.

“The program responds to a critical need within Aboriginal communities,” Ms Hocking, who along with Dr Parrish, Ms Gannon and Dr Buckskin, is a UOW graduate, said. “It’s the first program of its kind in Australia and follows research highlighting the alarming amount of trauma resulting from colonisation processes and the government policies which affected, and still affect, the lives of Aboriginal people in Australia.”

This program is being contextualised for the Australian Aboriginal environment and cultural requirements, as well as to meet Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) criteria. Ms Hocking is leading the Working Group this week that will finalise the curriculum for this exciting new program.

To register your interest in this new program, please visit:

Media contact
Debra Hocking, Program Coordinator, +61 417 074 696,