Indigenous Health Scholarship
University of Queensland, QLD
Doctor of Medicine
Scholarship Awarded 2018-2019
Rotary Club of Toowong
How will I contribute to improving Indigenous health as a qualified medical practitioner or health worker?
I am a proud Indigenous woman, and during the last few years I have pursued deeper spiritual and cultural connections to my Indigenous heritage. My journey began in 2015 at the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health, where I was tasked with undergoing research development and proposal planning, assessing the health and well-being of incarcerated Indigenous mothers and their children in the Queensland Prison System. This experience highlighted the disturbing gap in healthcare access, and the poor treatment of Indigenous women and children within the penitentiary system.
When I started Medicine, I looked for ways to appreciate my sense of self further, and so I became a member of the Australian Indigenous Doctor’s Association (AIDA). Attending their annual conferences and becoming a member of the Student Representative Council is just one of the ways I have decided to give back to the Indigenous population, because it is AIDA who taught me the importance of resilience in personal and cultural development. I believe that if you truly understand and respect yourself and your origins, you are able to extend your gaze towards others and relate to them. This concept will serve as the foundation for my practice as a health professional and will allow me to positively contribute to the health and well-being of Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander people.
With a deeper appreciation for my patients, particularly those whom I share cultural heritage, I will be able to provide a higher multi-system standard of care where cultural, spiritual and mental health is just as important as physical ailment. I promise to always see my patients as people, not treating them as a number or a case to be solved and for my patients to always feel involved in their own health care. Importantly, I will respect the cultural bounds by which Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander view the health system and will advocate for their needs by increasing mainstream understanding of cultural safety and sensitivity within the health workforce.
Current Progressive Report
Now that I have come to this realisation, I feel empowered to make significant changes to my mindset to positively cycle my thoughts and emotions. It will take considerable effort to reroute my nervous energy, but I am committed to making this work. I wanted to share this experience with you because it’s often an unspoken “taboo” topic amongst health professionals, and I refuse to be another doctor who can’t admit they are struggling. Admitting your weakness doesn’t make you weak, it takes incredible strength and courage.
I wanted to add to this report by focusing on moving forward in 2019. This will be my last year of study in the MD program, which is both nerve wrecking and equally exciting. Many questions still remain, such as, will I get an internship? Where will I be located? Am I intern ready? I do hope that clinical placement this year focus on developing critical skills that will serve as a foundation for our practice here on out. I am very much still working on my psychosocial wellbeing at this time, and I do hope this becomes a strength for me this year.