Specialist Certificate in Empowering Health in Aboriginal Communities

The experience


The first week of the course is a one week on campus intensive at the Shepparton Campus. After completion of the on-campus intensive, weekly tutorials will be delivered by the subject’s academic staff. You can participate in the tutorials online or in person.

In the second subject you will undertake a project within an Aboriginal community on a topic selected in consultation with the community. Particular emphasis is placed on understanding the role and nature of community engagement and participation, application of the project, specifically in rural contexts, and potential outcomes for and empowerment of the specific community. In undertaking this subject, you will gain community development and project management skills.

Specialist Aboriginal Health educators will provide individualised assistance to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students throughout the course including:

  • guidance with application and enrolment
  • assistance with accessing financial assistance packages for fees and travel related costs (subject to eligibility criteria & availability)
  • design and provision of individualised training and mentoring programs
  • one on one contact throughout the course to assist with project planning and provide individualised support
  • support to identify relevant community projects

Your online learning experience is enriched by interaction with lecturers, tutors and your fellow classmates. You can expect input and feedback from staff as well as regular real-time sessions where you speak with the instructor and fellow students.


Gwenda Freeman

Associate Lecturer in Aboriginal Health Education, Department of Rural Health

Gwenda is of Yorta Yorta descent and has a passion for Aboriginal Health. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) degree and a Master of Business Administration, plus several Diploma and Certificate IV qualifications. She is also a Fellow of the Australasian College of Health Service Managers. Gwenda has experience in community, rural and remote health and in Aboriginal organisations plus mainstream services that provide programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. She has spent the past ten years working in Queensland and the Northern Territory in the provision of organisational and government funded services in areas such as mental health, families and children, youth, justice, and community development. Gwenda, who is a part of the Aboriginal Team at the Department of Rural Health, will be available to provide support to students regarding their enrolment, study planning, well-being, subject content and progress. This may involve referrals e.g. for scholarships, tutoring, counselling etc., accessing other staff where necessary, and anything that will assist students to complete their studies.