Kelly Reynolds
Kelly Reynolds

Kelly Reynolds

Indigenous Health Scholarship

Notre Dame University, WA

Doctor of Medicine
Scholarship Awarded 2020

Sponsored by:
Rotary Club of Ascot

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

I am an Esperance Nyungar woman from rural Western Australia enrolled in second year medicine at the university of Notre Dame in Fremantle.   I have always strived to continue improving Aboriginal health and wellbeing and am now lucky to do so through medicine.

I began my journey studying a Bachelor of Biomedical Science, during which time I have been working as an Indigenous Dementia researcher, currently creating an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Dementia Research Roadmap and Action Plan to address disparities in dementia care for our mob and improve quality of life and health outcomes not only for peoples with dementia but their families and communities too.

Although I felt I can make a positive change in Indigenous health through research alone, I decided I needed to be more involved on the ground to personally help our mob as patients, which is why I began pursuing a medical degree.  In previous years I have witnessed family members attend a range of doctors and too often my family have had a travel from ru4ral and remote areas to the city for these appointments.  Not only are these visits costly and timely, but they also often failed to provide cultural security for my family.

I hope to become a physician who is able to provide care on Country to our people in order to improve not only their health outcomes, but their quality of life and their spirit.   I want to be involved as both a clinician and a researcher and become an advocate to create policies and campaigns to help my mob, and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Not only do I wish to ensure better access and quality of care for our mob, I also want to be a leader and mentor to build capacity of our mob as healthcare workers and researchers.   Travelling to metropolitan areas away from Country can be culturally isolating, building our Indigenous workforce can ensure more culturally secure care for our mob accessing mainstream services.

Current Progressive Report

Thank you for supporting me throughout my studies at Notre Dame. My four years are almost up! I am in my home stretch of placements and will be heading in shortly to my exams – exciting but scary times!

I have been offered a position at Joondalup Hospital for my internship next year, which was my first position hospital. I spent a lot of time contemplating whether to go rural or city but ultimately decided to spend half my time in the city and do two rotations in the country.

Joondalup hospital is only a 10-minute drive from my house, which will be extremely handy. I will also be spending my rural rotations next year in Kalgoorlie, where I spent the whole of last year. It is quite nice to have some familiarity in both locations, and to spend time both in the city and country.

A high point of my year this year would have to be graduation – which, I know, hasn’t happened yet.

I went directly from my undergraduate which I spent four years into medicine for another four years – eight years straight of university. It’s been extremely challenging for me to see my friends and family working, buying houses, and building families. I know that medicine and my career has been the right choice for me, but it has been a difficult journey which is still only just beginning.

I am hoping to spend a lot of time working in the next year and saving to buy a house with my partner. After being a student for so long and not working during my clinical years of medicine, I’m very excited to start earning some money!

I have had a challenging year in many ways, both in my personal life and university life. One of the simplest challenges has been just getting to the hospitals each day. From any hospital, my minimum commute is 1-hour one way. It seems not too bad but spending 2 hours minimum travelling per day it really adds up. It’s something I have missed a lot about being in the country and living across from the hospital.

I have felt the stress of final year, the assessments that pile up whilst having to be on placement every day, the feelings of inadequacy when unable to answer questions from consultants and having to deal with these whilst keeping family commitments. In saying this, I can’t think of any other career that would be right for me. I love interacting with patients, I love helping people and I hope to make a positive difference to people’s lives.

Throughout my four years, the Rotary Health Scholarship has made life a lot smoother. The support I have been given by you has eased my financial burdens and allowed me to put more energy towards studying. As always, I wish to thank you greatly for what you have done for me during this time, and I hope to keep our relationship as I move on to my professional life.

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