Sachi Nevill
Sachi Nevill

Sachi Nevill

Indigenous Health Scholarship 2023

University of Western Australia, WA

Doctor of Medicine
Scholarship Awarded 2020

Sponsored by:
Lindsay Cozens Aboriginal Education Trust

Indigenous Health Scholarship Program

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

Indigenous health has always been something I have been incredibly passionate about. Growing up in Broome, a rural community in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, I have long been witness to the ongoing disparity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous health and well being outcomes.

In mid 2019, I graduated from my undergraduate degree in Population Health, and Aboriginal Health and Well-being, and was facing a six month period off of study before starting the Doctor of Medicine course in 2020. I wanted to put my degree to use during this time, and being working at the peak body of Aboriginal Medical Services (AMS) in my state as a policy officer, where I did extensive advocacy for Indigenous Health and our AMS’s. I was able to contribute to the planning, development, implementation and evaluation of various Indigenous health policies and programs both on a state-wide and national basis. It was incredibly empowering to be involved in many of the decision-making processes of national and state policy agendas and frameworks that impact on the health and well-being of my people.

Becoming a doctor has always been something I have dreamed of, but it was never something that I thought could be a reality. While m undergraduate studies have built my understanding of Indigenous health, I have always known that I want to do more and have a direct impact on health, and that my learning is only just beginning. Starting the Doctor of Medicine course this year, I feel incredibly privileged to have this opportunity, and I am so excited to continue on this journey.

As a qualified medical doctor, I would like to gain as much knowledge and experience in the health industry, before eventually returning to my community and supporting Indigenous people particularly those in rural and remote regions that often experience difficulties in receiving access to comprehensive, and culturally safe and secure health care. As a qualified medical doctor, I want to do more than just contribute towards helping Indigenous patients when they are sick. My backgrounds in Population Health and Aboriginal Health and Well-being, have built my understanding of treating the patient, rather than just treating the illness -which is so fundamental in a holistic approach t health care. I want to support Aboriginal people and improve their social determinants that often contribute towards ill-health and lead to continued presentations with a doctor.

I rally believe that building a workforce of Indigenous doctors will improve Indigenous health outcomes, as we have this built in knowledge and understanding of the cultural needs and requirements of a patient, and are able to connect with them in a way non-Indigenous doctors are not able to. I believe that with an empowered generations of Indigenous medical practitioners, we can really bridge the existing gaps contributing to poor health, and improve Indigenous health for the better. I am so excited and determined for the years ahead, and I can not wait to progress through on this journey.

Current Progressive Report

2023 has been an interesting year so far. I was supposed to continue on with my studies in semester 1, however, I live in the Kimberley region of Western Australia and my community, and the communities surrounding us were quite affected by flooding at the start of this year. Described as a “once-in-a-century” flooding event, unfortunately this flooding took place at the same time as my university exams. Roads were closed and flights were grounded so I couldn’t travel to the city to sit my exams. I was required to take the semester off as a result and defer my studies until semester 2. This was initially disappointing to me, as I was keen to make some progress in my studies. But my semester away allowed me to work on building my study skills and habits, and further my motivation and reasons why I want to do this.

In the meantime, I worked for the Department of Health in my community which I really enjoyed. I was able to be involved in some really interesting conversations regarding patient care and health incidents that took place, and how we can better our delivery of health care to our patients. It allowed me to further witness the contribution I want to make to my community upon completion of my studies. I am very excited to resume my studies and progress on my journey towards becoming a health professional.

I would like to say a big thank you to Rotary Health and the Lindsay Couzens Education Trust for their continued support throughout my degree. It makes such a difference in my life, and allows me to put my best work into my studies. I cannot thank Rotary enough!

I am very motivated to progress through this semester and to see where my future studies take me.

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