Aboriginal woman Aunty Ali Golding is the inaugural Elder in Residence in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of New South Wales - the first time any medical school in Australia has made such an appointment.

Mrs Golding will advise on and contribute to Indigenous activities at UNSW Medicine.

"Appointing Aunty Ali Golding demonstrates UNSW Medicine's commitment to an authentic and practical relationship with our local community, and the importance of this in the support of medical students generally and in the training of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander doctors specifically," said the Dean of Medicine, Professor Peter Smith.

Aunty Ali is a Biripi woman who grew up on the Taree Mission in NSW. She took up study at Nungalinya College Darwin and graduated with a Diploma of Theology.

In 2010 she was awarded the National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) Elder of the Year (Female).

The Governor of New South Wales, Professor Marie Bashir, congratulated UNSW Medicine on the appointment.

"Mrs Golding will be a unique source of knowledge and cultural wisdom which relate to the First Australians, this continent's Indigenous people.

"I have known Mrs Golding for many years and believe that she will provide another dimension of enrichment in the academic team as well as with the students who interact with her.

"The University and the Faculty are to be applauded for this unique appointment which I hope will become a model for other academic institutions across our land."

Professor Lisa Jackson Pulver, Chair of Indigenous Health at UNSW, says the appointment is a significant step towards empowering Aboriginal people who want to become health professionals.

UNSW Medicine has established itself as the national leader in the training of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander doctors. In 2010, 27 Aboriginal students were enrolled in the six-year undergraduate program.

Read the full story at the Faculty website.

Media contact: Maria Backlund, UNSW Medicine, 0409 996 294