Indigenous Health Scholarship 2022
Monash University, VIC
Bachelor of Public Health
Scholarship Awarded 2019
Rotary Club of Glen Waverley/Dr King Gan
How will I contribute to improving Indigenous health as a qualified medical practitioner or health worker?
For the last few years of school, I knew that I wanted to work in the health industry, but I never quite knew where I would fit in and best be able to make a difference. Fresh out of high school I chose to study Physiotherapy. A few months into the course I was unsure of my decision, but after completing one year of study I decided to take a break and find out what I really wanted to do. To be 100% honest I thought I would never return to study physiotherapy.
Two years later, I made the decision to return to study physiotherapy. After a few unique experiences and having the opportunity to work in a physiotherapy practice, as well as having many people support me and say they were on my side, my passion was renewed. I am now returning to complete my degree and to know that once it is finished, I will be able to help others to the best of my ability. I have chosen to pursue a career where I can have an ongoing relationship with my clients, and really have the ability to get to know and care for them.
As we know, there is a large inequality in terms of health outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Although suffering worse health, Indigenous people generally have less access to health care services. There are physiotherapy interventions that exit for some of the most common health problems in the Indigenous community – arthritis, diabetes, kidney disease and health disease, and through increased access to physiotherapy services, we can begin to close the gap in terms of health inequality. There is a real need for preventative physiotherapy, as well as ongoing care of conditions.
When I complete my degree, I would like to work in a regional, rural or remote community, promoting Indigenous health, including preventative care, through education and various programs. I would like to be a role model, and encourage others, as I know that without the support of others I may not have continued in my course. This will increase the number of Indigenous Allied Health professionals and help to address the issue of limited access to Indigenous practitioners and physiotherapy services.
Current Progressive Report
Semester Two 2020 was a challenging semester, with classes continuing to be held online and lockdowns due to Covid-19. Personally, the hardest part of the semester for me was being unable to visit my family, despite them living one hour away due to the Melbourne lockdown and ‘regional ring of steel’.
As for university, I found this semester easier than the first, as I had already completed an online semester, and had a better understanding about what it involved and how to take care of myself. This was reflected in my final results, where I again achieved my best results ever, despite taking difficult units.
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I thoroughly enjoyed health program planning and was stretched learning about Health Policy and Politics. I found epidemiology and biostatistics hard but utilised the tutoring services that my university offered to consolidate knowledge and get help to learn the concepts. Through uni I also had opportunities to work on my public speaking, speaking and volunteering at virtual open day, hosting episodes of the Monash Health Science Society podcast and hosting some CSIRO Young Indigenous Women in Stem Academy events.
Most of my employment was static due to Covid-19, however I continued to work as a Research Assistant for the Monash Centre for Health Research and Implementation. And in December I took on a summer internship at Medibank working in their People & Culture team. A highlight of this has been meeting lots of new people from various industries and getting some work experience with Aboriginal Quitline NSW/ACT.
As mentioned in my last report, I moved out of university accommodation and took on a 6-month lease with some friends from uni. That went well in some respects and not well in others, but all of that comes with share housing. I don’t expect to move back onto campus and am currently looking for a new rental that will hopefully see me out until I complete my degree.
Lastly, I utilised social media and online platforms quite intentionally, and was able to connect with friends new and old. I made some great new friends who I have now been able to meet in person on multiple occasions and have helped me to become more outgoing and confident in myself and my life outside of university and work.
Thanks again for all the support, the scholarship and the regular check-ins. It really makes university easier knowing I have some great support systems and people standing with me.