Demi Cheetham
Demi Cheetham

Demi Cheetham

Indigenous Health Scholarship 2022

University of Newcastle, NSW

Doctor of Medicine
Scholarship Awarded 2020

Sponsored by:
Bowden Brothers

Indigenous Health Scholarship Program

How will I contribute to improving Indigenous health as a qualified medical practitioner or health worker?

My name is Demi Cheetham and I am a third year student at the University of Newcastle. I am currently pursuing a five year Bachelor of Medical Science and Doctor of Medicine degree. I am a proud Indigenous woman of the Tjapukai and Djiru tribes of Far North Queensland.

My father placed an incredible emphasis on the importance of knowledge and education, and where it could take me in life. As a qualified health professional, I would aim to promote the same message to all Indigenous communities. I believe the first step to Closing the Gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous Australians is providing clear information about current issues and providing simple strategies and education on how to improve such issues. I am particularly passionate about informing my peers about the issues surrounding the health and well-being of our Indigenous Australians and advocate for my bellow Indigenous communities. As a qualified health professional, I believe I would have the platform and ability to reach a wider audience with my message.

As well as advocating for Indigenous communities, I desire to work with communities both locally and internationally, to provide the with access to the quality healthcare services, facilities and education that every human should have the right to access. At this stage of my degree, I have developed a keen interest in Obstetrics and Gynecology. With further training upon completion of my degree, I am to provide rural and remote communities with fair and equal access to Obstetric and Gynecological services that they require. The health of our Indigenous communities’ woman and children is a core motivating factor to me. Not only do I strive to provide quality medical services to my community and my patients, but I desire to instill the same drive, passion and determination that was instilled in my and ensure everyone realises their true potential.

Current Progressive Report

The first half of the year has been incredibly busy. I had a jam-packed beginning to my final year of medical school, starting off with 9 weeks of Medical placement, rotating between specialist teams and general medicine teams. It was a completely different feeling to other years of my degree as we are considered to be “pre interns” and are expected to function more independently and focus on the skills we will need as interns next year.

My next 9-week rotation was in Emergency Medicine, Anaesthetics and Intensive Care. This rotation was crucial for myself as at the end of this rotation, I was undertaking my final ever medical school exams/OSCEs, which were focused on these specialities. These exams were essentially testing our ability to be safe interns and again, focusing on the skills and knowledge that will be essential as we begin our journey as qualified doctors. I am ecstatic to say that I passed all of these exams. It was definitely a challenging period leading into these exams as I was attempting to manage full time hospital placement, intern job applications and study, however, the feeling of relief knowing that I have successfully completed all my medical school exams is enormous. I am incredibly proud of myself for overcoming some pretty challenging personal and academic hurdles and I cannot wait to begin my career as a doctor in 2024.

The next 6 months is significantly less stressful for me. I am currently undertaking a 5-week General Practice placement before heading overseas for 6 weeks to partake in a community placement in the USA. I will be working with Native Indian and Indigenous communities in Seattle. Upon returning to Australia, I will finish my medical school journey with a 10-week Surgical placement before graduating in December.

I am incredibly excited and nervous for what the future holds. I cannot wait to continue my journey, now as a doctor.

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