Maya Stasiuk
Maya Stasiuk

Maya Stasiuk

Indigenous Health Scholarship

University of Western Australia, WA

Doctor of Medicine
Scholarship Awarded 2023

Sponsored by:
Rotary Club of West Perth

Indigenous Health Scholarship Program

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

As a proud Minag-Wadjari Noongar woman, I strive to strengthen the representation of Indigenous women in the health field, as building a stronger workforce of Aboriginal clinicians, is essential to providing culturally secure care in Indigenous patients.

Throughout my time in medical school, I have naturally been drawn to the teaching of cultural awareness and cultural safety, particularly through the frameworks of clinical yarning and country healing.   As a medical student, I have dedicated time into projects tat further the education of cultural safety teaching, particularly through my role as a Aboriginal cadet at Fiona Stanley Hospital, and as the Indigenous Chair on the WAMSS (Western Australian Medical Students Society).

Through my work as (hopefully) an Indigenous paediatrician, I would like to focus a large part of my career on the Indigenous youth, looking directly at diseases and inherited disorders that disproportionately affect our Aboriginal children.  In particular, I wish to dedicate my studies and research project in Year 3 of medicine, to studying Rheumatic Heart Disease an its disproportionate effects on First Nations children.    Through my time at Perth Children’s Hospital with the Aboriginal Doctors Immersion program, I met with inspiring epidemiologists and infectious disease specialists who are looking to work with Indigenous doctors and med students to research and ameliorate the outcomes that these disease have on our youth.

Current Progress Report

During the second half of last year, I completed my surgical and Psychiatric rotations. I was placed in Colorectal Surgery and Vascular surgery at SCGH, which allowed me to gain insight into how a surgical ward operates, as well as the chance to scrub in and assist with surgeries.

My Vascular Surgical Rotation was particularly memorable, with a great supportive team that allowed me to observe and assist in an endarterectomy surgery, as well as various toe amputations for diabetic foot ulcers. I was able to observe procedures in the labs and watch very interesting medical testing. I found vascular surgery to be incredibly fascinating and definitely found a specialty I would like to learn more about and gain more knowledge into.

During my psychiatric rotation, I was placed at Royal Perth Hospital, transitioning through the various wards they have for psychiatric patients. I was able to complete rotations within the Consultation-Liaison service, The MHU, and the Emergency Psychiatric ward, which was the highlight of my rotation due to my wonderful team who allowed me to review a wide range of patient’s with incredibly interesting presentations.

I completed my General Practice rotation at Babbingur Mia Coastal Health Service, which has been undoubtedly the highlight of my student medical career thus far. With a particular interest in Indigenous Women’s and Children’s health, the rotation was an incredible experience to further my knowledge in this field, and to yarn and converse with patient’s and witness the multidisciplinary approach taken with regards to management of their conditions.

Dr Milroy and her team at Babbingur Mia were amazing in their ability to build rapport with patients and the way in which they conduct themselves within the practice. It was a pleasure to learn from such amazing fellow Indigenous women in the health field and I gained a tremendous amount of knowledge and wisdom from them which will doubtlessly assist me in my future medical career.

After the year 2 examinations, I was able to go and spend some time on country with some of my friends, which I found to be incredibly relaxing and allowed me to unwind after a particularly stressful year on placement. It was particularly healing for me to be able to spend some time on country in the southern regions of Western Australia, and to further connect to culture.

After year 2 commenced, I was lucky enough to be selected to attend the Perth Children’s hospital Immersion program for Indigenous Student Doctors, which was designed to provide the opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medical students to gain a better understanding with regards to a career in paediatrics. We attend clinical based placements in the morning, learning from fellow physicians in the field, and then attended classes, lectures, and tutorials in the afternoon. I was able to undertake a rotation on the Newborn Emergency Transport Service which runs out of PCH, and this was an absolute apotheosis during my year. I am particularly interested in neonatology, and the opportunity to learn about the work done by NETS was unparalleled. I would seriously consider a future within this field.

This year was an incredible learning experience, allowing me to gain extremely pertinent skills and insight that will facilitate further learning and development throughout my medical career.

This semester has been a semester full of learning experiences and opportunities to gain pertinent and superlative skills that will undoubtedly assist me further in my medical career.

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