Source: Mardi Sherperd Chair 9820 District Committee
Our Committee thought that District 9820 would be interested to find out how Australia Rotary Health funding has supported young people‚Äôs lives. In 2019/20, 84 indigenous medical, nursing, dentistry and social work students received a yearly $5000 scholarship.   Here is a story about Sachi Nevill who is studying to become a doctor in Western Australia.
Indigenous Health Scholarship 2020
University of Western Australia, WA
Doctor of Medicine
Scholarship Awarded 2020
Sponsored by: Lindsay Cozens Aboriginal Education Trust
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 wellbeing outcomes.
In mid 2019, I graduated with a degree in Population Health and Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing 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 worked at the peak body of Aboriginal Medical Services (AMS) as a policy officer, where I did extensive advocacy for Indigenous Health and our AMSs.  I contributed to the planning, development, implementation and evaluation of various Indigenous health policies and programs on a state 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. My undergraduate studies have built my understanding of Indigenous health, and 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 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 background 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 fundamental in a holistic approach to health care.   I want to support Aboriginal people and improve the social determinants that contribute towards ill-health and lead to continued presentations with a doctor.
I really believe that building a workforce of Indigenous doctors will improve Indigenous health outcomes, as we have 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 bridge 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.
If your club is interested in funding young people achieve their dreams contact ARH for more information
Mardi Sherperd Chair, District 9820 Australia Rotary Health Committee