How will I contribute to improving Indigenous health as a qualified medical practitioner or health worker?
My name is Isobella Kruger and I am second year medical student at Monash University. I have chosen to study a Bachelor of Medical Science/Doctor of Medicine because I am extremely passionate about helping people, inciting social change and diminishing injustices in the world today. As a proud Kobumerri and Ngugi woman from the Gold Coast (Yugambeh language) region, I have grown up on country and seen first-hand the damaging health implications on individuals in Indigenous communities of trans-generational trauma and cyclic abuse. Consequently, I have come to discover about myself, that I am a very empathetic person who has always had a desire t improve the situation of mental and physical health discrepancies for Indigenous people in Australia.
Thus, in 2019 I made a very difficult decision to move away from my family and community to study medicine at Monash University and pursue my aspirations of being an Indigenous health advocate in the medical field. My goal in my career is to be part of the solution towards closing the gap in Indigenous health and I believe that I have been taking proactive steps throughout my studies so far to learn more about the underlying reasons behind the health discrepancies in Australia and on a community level and understand how I can achieve my aspirations of creating systemic change in the Australian Indigenous health community
Over the course of 2019, I have begun to start my journey as a young Indigenous advocate for the improvement of health outcomes and amelioration of health literacy in Indigenous populations across Australia through my involvement in several communities and organisations I have connected with and served on the Clayton 2019 subcommittee for WILDFIRE (committee for Indigenous and rural health advocacy), where I have stepped into the President position of this subcommittee for 2020. As well as been accepted as an AIDA member, been accepted as a participant in the John Flynn Placement Program and performed (in my native language) at a nationally televised Australian Music Education Board(AMEB) event promoting national and Indigenous music and language programs that promote mental health and development for children. These connections have allowed me to have a large platform to share my knowledge of my own understanding of Indigenous health discrepancies in Australia, as well as learn from other role models around me and be supported to grown as an advocate in my own community.
Current Progressive Report
Over the last 6 months, I have completed my first two rotations of fourth year, Women’s Health, and Children’s Health.
This semester, I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to be involved in family’s labours and pregnancy journeys. It has been a huge privilege to be able to assist in births and I have loved every second of the opportunity. This experience made me recognise my love of obstetric medicine and has now made me more interested in pursuing O&G in the future. Within my Paediatrics rotation, I loved the experience of being more hands-on in my medical course and reassuring and supporting concerned parents and their kids whilst they navigate the health system. As well over this last year I have started tutoring second year medical students through the Indigenous Unit at Monash. This has been a fantastic experience as I have gotten to know so many new students and have enjoyed helping and supporting them through their journeys in medicine.
As well, I have been doing a lot in volunteering and advocacy spaces this year so far. I have been on my student executive committee for Monash medicine (MUMUS), in the position of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Vice President. In this role I have been working with VACCHO and AIDA to start learning more about cultural safety and how we can integrate this into our curriculum at Monash. As well, I have been working with the MNHS faculty to review and re-assess our current Indigenous health curriculum and see how we can improve this. I hope to continue this work next year. I have also been working with the Australian Medical Students’ Association to develop a policy around Indigenous health in medical curricula and now on their reconciliation action plan. I will be presenting this policy at the AIDA conference later this year.
Over the mid-year break I had the opportunity to visit home and meet my nephew for the first time. This was one of my favourite experiences this year, as living interstate I often forget the importance of having my family and community around me. This experience and having my nephew now in my life has definitely made me reflect on whether or not I will move back to my community after I graduate next year.