The AIDA board in 2003History

In 1997, Indigenous medical students and doctors attended a conference at Salamander Bay in New South Wales. This was to prove to be a defining moment in the development of AIDA, which AIDA founding members, circa 1997 was registered as an incorporated body the following year. In April, 1998 the AIDA Secretariat opened in Canberra to support and expand AIDA’s activities and representation.

AIDA received support from influential Australians attracting a number of eminent patrons including former Governor-General Sir William Deane, Professor Lowitja O’Donoghue, the late Mr Jimmy Little and former Australian Democrats senator, Mr Aden Ridgeway.

In 2002, AIDA’s website was launched to further expand its reach. In the same year we held our first annual conference in Sydney.

In 2008, AIDA was registered as a company and became a signatory of the government’s Close the Gap Statement of Intent.

In January 2010, the AIDA Secretariat moved from Barton to Old Parliament House, a move which was emblematic of the growing importance of the organisation.

In 2013, we launched AIDA’s Cultural Safety Position Paper and Research Agenda.

In 2014, we launched the AIDA Mentoring Program and delivered the inaugural AIDA Research Masterclass in conjunction with Wardliparingga Aboriginal Research Unit, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI).

AIDA has held an annual conference every year since 2002, except for 2012 when we hosted the 6th Pacific Regions Indigenous Doctors’ Congress (PRIDoC), of which AIDA is one of seven key international organisations. Our annual conference provides networking, professional development and cultural engagement, while celebrating the success of our students and doctors.

AIDA has entered into collaboration agreements with several key medical organisations, including Medical Deans Australia and New Zealand, the Confederation of Postgraduate Medical Councils (CPMEC) and the Committee of Presidents of Medical Colleges (CPMC). These agreements were first signed in 2005, 2012 and 2013 respectively.

AIDA has also been represented on numerous government and non-government committees, including the Australian Medical Association’s Taskforce on Indigenous Health, The National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Committee, Close the Gap Indigenous Health Equality Steering Committee, the National Health Leadership Forum, and the Social Determinants of Health Alliance.

Since its establishment, AIDA has consistently grown as a strong and influential national body representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander doctors and medical students. AIDA is in a central position to influence Indigenous health, education and health workforce and is committed to working with a wide range of stakeholders to produce positive, practical, sustainable and tangible outcomes for our people.