UNSW Medicine is helping to lead a campaign calling on Australian governments to close the life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians within a generation.

Close the Gap is Australia's largest campaign to improve Indigenous health. Supported by more than 40 Indigenous and non-Indigenous organisations, including UNSW Medicine, Oxfam Australia, NACCHO and ANTaR, the campaign calls on federal, state and territory governments to commit to closing the life expectancy gap within 25 years.

Statistics show Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have an average life expectancy 17 years lower than the general community.

UNSW's Muru Marri Indigenous Health Unit, in conjunction with the Faculty of Medicine, will mark the National Day of Action - on Tuesday September 18 - with a public forum to discuss the practical steps to address the wider Indigenous health crisis.

The forum will be opened by Professor Peter Smith, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine. Speakers will include:

A seven-minute Oxfam video, featuring the Shalom Gamarada Ngiyani Yani Scholarship program - as featured in the ANTaR's recently published booklet Success Stories in Indigenous Health - will also be showcased to highlight some of the practical solutions to the crisis.

WHAT: Closing the Gap public forum - ALL WELCOMEWHEN: Tuesday September 18, 1pm - 2pm WHERE: Biomed E Theatre, Wallace Wurth Lecture Theatre, Upper Campus, UNSW

For more information on the National Day of Action and the Close the Gap initiative go to the website

MEDIA CONTACTS: Lisa Jackson Pulver, 0404859989, Steve Offner UNSW Media Office, 9385 1583 or 0424 580 208.

Date issued 13 Sept, 2007: