Smoking Ceremony

Lifestyle Medicine in East Arnhem Land

East Arnhem land has the highest rates of preventable deaths in Australia and we invite you to help us with the challenge of turning this around and closing the gap. The socioeconomic determinants of health and the effects of colonisation have a huge impact on the biological-psychological-social-cultural-spiritual health of Aboriginal people in the region.  Listening deeply and responding to Aboriginal people’s voices is a vital step in working together to improve health in these communities.

Miwatj Health Aboriginal Corporation is one of the largest Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations in Australia which provides primary health care services to about 8000 people in some of the most remote areas in the country.  There are seven health centres, located in Nhulunbuy, Gunyangara, Yirrkala (all within 20mins drive of Gove District Hospital), and the more remote communities of Galiwin’ku, Milingimbi, Ramingining and Gapuwiyak. We match people in a culturally safe and responsive manner to the most appropriate location to suit their preference, qualifications, skills and experience.

In East Arnhem land the Yolngu people have strong culture and language and visitors are welcomed to experience the Yolngu world. As a health practitioner for Miwatj Health you will be working with a team of skilled Aboriginal Health Practitioners, Remote Area Nurses, GPs and staff, and the Remote clinics are supported by experienced doctors in retrieval medicine with expert medical advice a phone call away.  Specialists and allied health professionals visit the communities regularly.

The medicine is challenging, interesting and rewarding with a strong focus on Chronic disease management and preventive health. Whilst our health care workforce was reduced during Covid resulted in dealing primarily with acute and urgent presentations; our recovering workforce can now focus on acute health care, chronic disease management and preventive health care. We are expertly supported by our Public health teams, with nutritionists, environmental health, tackling Indigenous smoking and health promotion staff working in the communities. Miwatj health also has NDIS and Mental Health teams and has an active Research program.

Miwatj Health is working with Australasian Society of Lifestyle Medicine to incorporate Medical Yarn Ups (Shared Medical Appointments) into our practice and to explore alternative ways to improve health care consultations and ultimately health outcomes for the people of East Arnhem land. Active encouragement of lifestyle medicine across the life cycle is critical to improving health and wellbeing and we face the challenge to develop better ways of delivering it!

Consider working with Miwatj Health and come with an open mind, an open heart, a sense of adventure and a love of providing health care to empower Yolgnu peoples. Very flexible work options are available.

Contact Recruitment by email on


This article was written by Dr Lou Sanderson, MBBS, MFM(Clin), Grad Cert in Yolngu Studies, General Practitioner, Director of Medical Services, Miwatj Health Aboriginal Corporation.

Images supplied by A/Prof John Stevens.

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