Indigenous Health Scholarship 2019
University of Newcastle, NSW
Bachelor of Medicine
Scholarship Awarded 2019
Rotary Club of Gloucester
How will I contribute to improving Indigenous health as a qualified medical practitioner or health worker?
I am a Yuin man from the Bodalla mob on the south coast of NSW. My great grandfather was John Pittman the King of Bodalla. My father and grandmother moved from the mission in Batemans Bay after the second World War to find work in Nowra and this is where I was born and grew up.
The reason why I decided to study medicine was that I have seen and experienced much inequality in the health of my people and wish to make a difference. Like myself my brother had a career change late in life to become a GP and is now working in Nowra Aboriginal Medical Service which is what I intend to do on completion of my studies, to give back to my community.
Indigenous health is very close to my heart as I have had many relatives and members of my community die or suffer from chronic illnesses at much higher rates than the non-Indigenous community. Particularly in relation to chronic and communicable diseases, infant health, mental health and life expectancy.
My role as an Indigenous doctor will be one of providing the necessary medical health care to the Indigenous community I will be living and working in. This medical care needs to be delivered in a comfortable and culturally appropriate setting. This is something that I believe to be very important as a lot of the elders believe that hospitals are a place of dying. That is why Aboriginal Medical Services with Indigenous doctors need to be supported and are crucial in the ongoing care of the community.
I see my future role as a GP as an opportunity to continue being a role model and mentor for others in community. A lot of my people are coming from broken homes and may be lacking some positive guidance. By leading by example and offering support, encouragement and advice when needed, I hope to make a significant difference to the communities.