Keisha Calyun
Keisha Calyun

Keisha Calyun

Indigenous Health Scholarship 2022

Curtin University, WA

Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery
Scholarship Awarded 2016

Sponsored by:
Rotary District 9455

Indigenous Health Scholarship Program

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

I have worked in Indigenous health for three years and throughout this time have known that my career will be in this area. During this time, I have dedicated myself to making positive changes in Indigenous health. I volunteer as a member of a national youth health and wellbeing committee which is completely Indigenous youth led, as one of two WA representatives. I work for an Aboriginal health organisation promoting and implementing an Aboriginal youth health strategy with the aim to improve health outcomes for Indigenous young people. I have worked with Aboriginal Medical Services across the state and have met many inspiring Indigenous people working in health, including doctors and medical students. I have seen how having a doctor who is Indigenous working with community can have more positive outcomes. I also work with doctors who advocate and have the power to influence change. These are all people who I look up to, and I knew that being one of those doctors is something I would love to do, but I never thought that it was possible for me. As I met more Indigenous medical students and doctors, I realised that they all have similar stories to me and have come from a similar background and faced the same challenges that I do. These experiences led me to complete the Curtin Indigenous Pre-Medicine and Health Sciences enabling course in 2021 and successfully be accepted to study Medicine in 2022.

At the Aboriginal Health Council of WA, I have worked on a project that highlights the lack of access to services in rural and remote communities. Learning this and having the opportunity to travel across WA to these communities confirmed that I am interested in regional and remote Indigenous health. When I am a doctor, my intention is to work in this space. My goal is to make a positive impact to the health of Indigenous people. I will do this by working as a General Practitioner or Rural Generalist. I will ensure I work closely with the community consistently, and provide culturally secure care.

By working with the community and continuously learning from them, I will identify barriers that exist for people in accessing health services, and will do my best to break down those barriers. I will not work solely with a clinical mindset, but a holistic one, and will consider all aspects of health that are important to Indigenous people. After building my knowledge and experience working with communities, I will advocate for systemic change for Indigenous people and their communities that will truly work to close the gap. I will do through by combining my medical knowledge, my experiences from working with Indigenous communities and my passion for creating positive change for my people. I am committed to studying medicine to achieve my overall goals, to become a doctor and make a positive change in Indigenous health.

Current Progressive Report

This year I have started my second year of my medical degree.

It has been a huge jump from first year, in a lot of ways. At my university, the first year of medical school is very much like many of the other health science degrees. We would do 4 units per semester, and 3 out of those 4 units would be with students studying other health disciplines. This year feels more like proper medical school! We have one big unit that goes across the whole year and all our classes are just medical students.

The two main areas where I feel there has been a huge jump is the amount of content we learn, and the amount of time we are studying. In terms of content, last year in our medicine unit we had 13 case studies across the year which we were examined on. This year we have 35 case studies. In terms of the amount of time we are studying, last year we started in March, finished in November with a 5 week break in the middle. This year we started in February, finish in December with a 2 week break in the middle. It certainly has been challenging to get used to, but I am happy to say I have adjusted and have a set up a new routine for the year.

As time goes on, I can see how everything I have been learning is all tying together and making more sense. It’s quite exciting, I notice more and more how far I’ve come and it makes me look forward to the future. This year has a lot more focus on learning clinical skills, which I love because it’s very hands on. Every week we are learning about how to do physical examinations on patients and run different kinds of tests. It’s been really fun and makes me feel very doctor-like!

In my time outside of university, this semester I was volunteering at a wildlife rescue clinic with black cockatoos. This was a great way to do something I enjoy and make sure I was having a healthy balance between study and leisure. I love animals and wildlife and it has been so good to give back through volunteering. Though in preparation for the upcoming semester, I have decided that I need to invest more time into study. The upcoming exam at the end of this year is the biggest I have ever done, so I want to make sure I am prepared and putting myself in the best position for success. Following your dreams and pursing something like medicine takes sacrifices, and in the end it will all be worth it. I’m ready to take on the next semester and am looking forward to getting the next step closer to becoming a doctor.

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