Indigenous Health Scholarship 2019
Australian Catholic University, NSW
Bachelor of Physiotherapy
Scholarship Awarded 2017
Rotary Club of Turramurra
How will I contribute to improving Indigenous health as a qualified medical practitioner or health worker?
For as long as I can remember I have always been passionate about helping others, instilling positive change and guiding people to pursuing a healthier lifestyle. Thankfully, the opportunity ACU has given me to pursue my lifelong career goal builds the foundation for me to achieve these changes I have always wanted to in life by becoming a physiotherapist.
As a future Indigenous physiotherapist, I will use my expertise and skill set to conduct positive health and lifestyle changes within the Indigenous population. After pursuing a Bachelor of Health Sciences degree, I soon came to realise that Indigenous Health remained detrimental to the Indigenous population. With this in mind, I decided to move interstate to pursue a degree in Physiotherapy. My career path will enable me to pursue a lifelong goal of mine, which is to reduce the number one factor contributing to Indigenous mortality – Cardiovascular Disease (CVD). The opportunity to rehabilitate and restore mobility and functional capacity within individual’s as a physiotherapist will undoubtedly contribute to improving physical activity, and hence decreasing the onset of CVD.
Through my mentoring and volunteering experiences with Indigenous Australia I have soon come to the realisation that I can be a powerful voice to conduct change. As the first Indigenous school prefect at Geelong Grammar School I was given the opportunity to mentor my other Indigenous peers in their education and lifestyles choices, ultimately aiming to instill health lifestyles. My volunteering projects, including work in the Northern Territory with the Kata-Tjuta community, and pursuing multiple volunteering positions with National Aboriginal Sporting Chance Academy (NASCA) and the Tranby Indigenous Adult Education & Training Institute has given me a vision and passion for what needs to be done to instill positive healthy lifestyles in Indigenous Australia. In acknowledgement of my passion, promotion and push to improve Indigenous health and education I was elected to be a student ambassador and board member for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Culture and Student Engagement Committee at Australian Catholic University, within my first year of my degree. I hold all my previous experiences mentoring and volunteering close to my heart as they have provided me with a true experience of my ancestral heritage.
Current Progressive Report
After successfully enduring the most difficult semester of the whole degree (semester 1) I felt well equipped to tackle semester 2. In semester 2 of third year, I undertook units in Neurological Physiotherapy (2), Health Care Ethics, and Physiotherapy for Selected Populations (amputees, geriatrics, women’s and men’s health) and Paediatric Physiotherapy.
Each unit had their challenges however with the support network I have, both personally and academically, I was able to get through with quite good results. In particular, I enjoyed paediatric physiotherapy and health care ethics, with both giving me a greater insight in to the vast array of disciplines I can pursue as a future Indigenous physiotherapist.
It is a bit of surreal feeling thinking that I have successfully covered all of the content required to become a physiotherapist. From now, it is just about applying the theory into practice with placement year commencing for 30 weeks of 2019.
I was also provided with the pleasant news as being awarded the ‘Deadly Achiever’s Award’, which is awarded to an ACU Indigenous student based on academia, dedication to their course and who promotes and demonstrates a positive look for Indigenous Australians at university.
I undertook 2 internships with TAL Life Insurance, working in the health services team as a Musculoskeletal Analysis intern. The first internship commenced in the winter break and the second goes from November to February, ceasing just prior to commencing placement. My position at TAL gives me a great understanding in the world of insurance, especially as a physiotherapist in a corporate position.
My duties at TAL have included developing customer and adviser collateral in reference to common musculoskeletal conditions, particularly focusing on shoulder, wrist/hand, knee, spine and ankle/foot pain; supporting and providing medical musculoskeletal opinion to case managers on difficult claims, in order to better assist the case managers in better management of their cases; developing functional capacity evaluation templates for the shoulder, elbow, wrist & hand, hip, knee, foot & ankle; and developing a fracture guides assessment for case managers regarding total hip and knee replacements and simple and complex fractures.
This year I will be covering a lot of km’s thanks to my placement allocations. I will commence a musculoskeletal, cardiorespiratory and neurological placement all within Sydney based hospitals, each going for 5 weeks. I will further be pursuing a private practice placement in Melbourne, followed by an international and rural placement.
As a part of our placement year we were offered the opportunity to apply for an international placement, including Vietnam, Vanuatu, Fiji, East Timor, Denmark and Chile. I applied for one and became successful, being accepted to undertake a 5 week placement block in Chile, South America. In Chile I will be working with Mapuche people (Indigenous Chileans) as well as the general Chilean public, working in an acute neuro ward and an orthopaedic outpatient clinic. I am extremely excited and grateful for this opportunity and can’t wait to share cultural experiences with the people of Chile, especially the Mapuche Indigenous Chileans.
Upon reflection of my previous 3 years studying the Bachelor of Physiotherapy, I must admit that I have had some extremely challenging times – I am extremely proud of what I’ve overcome to achieve what I have to date. I say that with incredible gratefulness and gratitude for the Rotary Club of Turramurra and Australian Rotary Health, helping me achieve my goals of becoming an aspiring Indigenous Physiotherapist. The support, both financially and personally, that the Rotary Club of Turramurra has provided me with is insurmountable. Once again, I am extremely honoured to be selected to represent Rotary Club of Turramurra on my physiotherapy journey and look forward to continuing this relationship for 2019.