Indigenous Health Scholarship
Central Queensland University, Qld
Scholarship Awarded 2019
Rotary Club of Mackay North
How will I contribute to improving Indigenous health as a qualified medical practitioner or health worker?
I have a number of goals for the next 5 – 10 years, however the first is to complete the Master of Clinical Chiropractic program in 2020. For six years prior to moving to Mackay, my family and I were living in the Kimberley region of WA. Four of those years I was police officer working in the remote Aboriginal town of Fitzroy Crossing and the remaining two years I was an automotive lecturer teaching mechanics at the Kununurra TAFE. In both roles I was heavily involved in the Aboriginal community and working with disengaged aboriginal youth. As a result, I have extensive knowledge and experience in working with Aboriginal people and dealing with contemporary issues and the social needs of Aboriginal people. A very obvious issue that I noticed while working in the Kimberley was the disparity in Aboriginal health. A desire I have had since witnessing the lack of health services in remote Indigenous communities, is to offer a mobile health service to these remote towns and communities as part of my scope of practice.
There is a large gap in Indigenous health and I believe a lot of the issues may be avoided through early intervention and education. If a person does not have health then they are not able to have a healthy mindset for them self and/or family. There is a large gap in Indigenous health and I believe a lot of the issues may be alleviated through early intervention and education and spreading the message at a grass roots level. I have a passion for education and inspiring people.
Another goal I have once I become a qualified chiropractor is to run seminars in schools across Australia and inspire Aboriginal youth to engage in tertiary study in allied health professions. Indigenous health professionals are hugely underrepresented in the health industry with numbers representing about 0.3% of the national healthcare workforce. I feel if we can get the younger generation involved in the health industry we could have a huge impact in Aboriginal health for future generations.
Current Progressive Report
My name is Brad Morgan and I am in my final year of study at Central Queensland University to become a chiropractor. To give some context to this qualification… the chiropractic qualification is made up of two parts – a 3 year Bachelor of Science (Chiropractic) and a 2 year Master’s Degree (course work) in Clinical Chiropractic. The 5th and final year is spent as a student intern treating real patients in the student clinic. The student clinic is set up to provide valuable experience to the students treating real conditions that patients present with, and also to offer lower cost health care to the general public.
The first term of 2019 has been very busy with university study, treating people in clinic and life in general (with 5 young children, life tends to get a bit crazy!). I have experienced a lot of growth in my development as a chiropractic student this term with treating patients. Treating real patients with actual dysfunction in their body is a daunting experience when treating for the first time. It is also very mentally demanding to try and recall information that we have been studying over the previous 4 years. I must say that I am becoming more comfortable now in the student clinic with just under 200 patient treatments completed for the year so far.
During the first term I (and the other student interns) participated in several outreach programs aimed at treating the less fortunate people who would otherwise not be able to access chiropractic health services. These are community partnership events where there are a range of services people are able to access for free. The services we offered at these events are generally limited to basic physical assessments and soft tissue work (trigger point therapy, taping, stretching, joint mobilisation and massage). While these are limited chiropractic services, people still receive a great deal benefit from the treatment. As student interns we also offered chiropractic assistance at many community sporting events throughout the term. These treatments were also limited to basic physical assessments with soft tissue work provided. Part of our role in this position is to participate in community partnership events where we offer information on chiropractic in general and also information about the CQU chiropractic program.
In partnership with Hands on Health Australia the CQU student clinic offers the full chiropractic service to members of the public who again would otherwise not be able to access these services. The services are offered every Wednesday morning a week for $4 per treatment session. These mornings are a valuable learning experience as we are treating a wide range of people – treating the elderly, the homeless, the socially isolated and the lower socioeconomic groups of people. This is very rewarding for me personally to treat and see people out of chronic pain, and it is also a great way to give back to the community.
During the first part of this year I participated in an indigenous leadership course. This was part of the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation – Milparanga program. The course was divided into 2 sections. The first section was delivered over a week in Shepparton, Victoria. This was very much experiential learning and designed around breaking down personal limitations, barriers to communication and shifting perceptions in thinking around deficit discourse. The second component was delivered over a week in Canberra. This part of the course was more personal growth but more based on information delivery. For me there was a lot of personal growth and development, building relationships and also networking.
Due to receiving this scholarship it has lightened financial burden due to me studying and being on one low income with a family of 7. I was also able to buy resources for study and participate in an online personal development health course that I have wanted to do for some time now. Needless to say, the scholarship has been very welcome and put to very good use!