Jesse Aldridge
Jesse Aldridge

Jesse Aldridge

Indigenous Health Scholarship 2023

University of NSW, NSW

Bachelor of Vision Science/Master Clinical Optometry
Scholarship Awarded 2023

Sponsored by:
Rotary Club of Botany Randwick

Indigenous Health Scholarship Program

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

I am a proud  Indigenous Wandiwondian Yuin man of the South Coast of NSW that has been blessed with the opportunity to grow up on my country and form strong connections to my community. I have a solid support network within my family and my community, and this allowed me to develop a strong sense of self and comfort in my identity, and it also gave me a solid sense of responsibility towards my people. While I come from a community with a high Indigenous population, I was the only Indigenous male in my year to finish their HSC. My family always supported my endeavour into further education, and with their support I was able to live out this dream completing my first degree, a Bachelor of Public Health (Health Promotion) at the University of Wollongong in 2020.

I chose to study in the health area because far too many of our people are dying early from preventable disease.   I have made the choice to break this cycle and do everything in my power to help our mob break their generational traumas.

While my journey to my first degree showed me the importance of developing and implementing prevention strategies to address the inequitable health outcomes our mob face, I struggled working isolated in an office and not face to face with our mob. I believe this is my strongest quality, I draw my inspiration and determination from my people, and I believe I would be better suited in clinical treatment.

The decision to study Optometry came after I had troubles with my own vision. At the time I was scared and genuinely thought that I was going to lose vision in one of my eyes. The optometrist was very dismissive and treated me as though I was silly. It left me furious and the thought of our Elders experiencing this, was painful. I know I can provide better care for mob than what was offered to me in my time of uncertainty and I felt as though I had a duty to obtain this qualification and serve my mob.

My vision is that in 5 years’ time I will be a qualified optometrist that will be able to treat mob in a culturally safe way. My 10-year plan is to give back to my community by helping establish/promote pathways for mob thinking about a career in health. Then when I have established myself, I want to open my own Allied health clinic, along with other Indigenous Allied Health professionals, to deliver a range of culturally appropriate health services.

Support Us