Adelaide PHN co-funds Australia’s first Aboriginal Internship Program

For the first time in Australia, first-year doctors will undergo dedicated accredited Aboriginal health intern placements, to gain a strong understanding of Aboriginal health and to encourage future careers in this specialised area. 

The Aboriginal Primary Health Internship is a collaboration between Adelaide Primary Health Network (Adelaide PHN) and the Northern Adelaide Local Health Network (NALHN) who have jointly funded the $120,000 program. 

“Aboriginal health is a key priority area for Adelaide PHN and we are excited to work with our partners on an opportunity that strengthens the workforce and provides culturally safe and quality health care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” Michelle McKay, Chief Executive Officer, Adelaide PHN said.  

Guided by Aboriginal health practitioners, five interns will rotate through NALHN’s Watto Purrunna Aboriginal Health service, to gain in-depth knowledge on culturally appropriate health care, connection to country, and the barriers to health care for First Nations Australians. 

The Watto Purrunna Aboriginal Health service provides comprehensive, primary health care including heath assessments, chronic disease education and management, men’s and women’s health, mental health care, occupational therapy, and cardiology. 

It includes a residential service for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who travel to Adelaide for complex medical treatment. The service also works closely with NALHN’s Aboriginal Emergency Department Access Team, Kumangka Padninthi. 

Watto Purrunna Aboriginal Health has four locations, including Maringga Turtpandi at Hillcrest, Muna Paiendi at Elizabeth Vale, Wonggangga Turtpandi at Port Adelaide and Kanggawodli at Dudley Park. 

We are excited to share that the first cohort of interns have started their placements at Watto Purrunna Aboriginal Health from 16 January 2023. We look forward to providing more updates about the program and the experiences of the interns in the future.  


Aboriginal health is a key priority for Adelaide PHN. You can learn more about the services we commission to improve health outcomes and accessibility of primary health care for Aboriginal people here.

The Aboriginal Internship Program is supported by funding from Adelaide PHN through the Australian Government’s PHN Program.

20 January 2023