Rural Medical Scholarship 2019

Western Sydney University
Bathurst Rural Clinical 
Rotary Inspiration Woman Award (D9675 & D9685)

How would the Australian Rotary Rural Health Scholarship help with my studies at the Rural Clinical School?

When I first started medical school I could not have imagined that I would spend a year in Bathurst.  I’ve lived my whole life in the city as a true-blue city slicker. But when the opportunity to go rural presented itself, I saw an occasion for a new challenge. Rural medicine from the outset seemed distinctly different from the metropolitan medicine that I have experienced so far. For one, there are stark inequities in the health of rural and remote communities in comparison to their metropolitan counterparts. There is the challenge of scarcity of resources, barriers to access and there is the test of generalist medicine and surgery. While the challenges themselves are enthralling, I was also engrossed by the sense of community that is interlaced in rural medicine.

I have found that integrating myself into community has given me greater insight into the context in which medicine operates. Most recently, I have spent time at a Special School in Campbelltown which completely transformed my understanding of the challenges of growing up with a disability and the effects on the family. Similarly, spending time at a Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation facility helped me gain insight into the socio-cultural context in which substance use exists, in particular exposing me to how substance use impacts rural communities. Consequently, I aim to integrate myself into the Bathurst community while on placement to enrich my experience and understanding of rural medicine. Being a part of the local Rotary Club in Bathurst will be one such way to gain a deeper understanding.

Further, in line with Rotary Health’s scope I have a keen interest in research, having already undertaken a project entitled “Evaluation of the Diabetes  Contraception and Pre pregnancy Program (DCAPP) in General Practice” where I have recently subsequently submitted an abstract to the Australian Diabetes in Pregnancy Society. In my year in Bathurst I will also be conducting a project with two other of my colleagues titled “Sun safety practices, knowledge and attitudes in farmers in Central Western NSW.” Through this project I aim to further engage with the community and understand how the rural context informs health and the reasons for the health disparities that exist between rural and metropolitan contexts.

The Australian Rotary Health Scholarship for Rural Clinical Students will help massively to relieve the financial burden of relocating to Bathurst as well as the expenses of living independently. Medicine is a massive undertaking which often leaves little time for other pursuits. This scholarship would provide financial support to ensure my time can be spent engaging in the community whether that is through the Rotary club, attending local Bathurst community events or joining in on local club sport.

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