I am a Tasmanian Aboriginal woman. After completing medicine at the University of Newcastle in 2003, I am now a general practitioner. I have been affiliated with the Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association (AIDA) since its inception and have been made proud so many times of our organisation and its members. Currently, I am the president of AIDA. I live in Scone, NSW with my husband and three children.
This week is an exciting week: we are hosting our annual AIDA symposium in Canberra. I will be tweeting about the event. The theme this year is “beyond cultural awareness” and it provides us with the opportunity to talk about cultural safety including culturally safe people, culturally safe places for Indigenous medical students, doctors and patients and culturally safe policy.
The symposium will include presentations from AIDA’s Indigenous medical student and graduate members and peer Indigenous health organisations, such as the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) and Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service. At the symposium dinner, we will have a special presentation to award our recently graduated Indigenous medical students and fellows with AIDA painted stethoscopes.
My nan and my mum – both such strong, independent women who taught me that I can do anything that I set my mind too. They are both wonderful roles model for caring, compassion and charity. My mum taught me to value education, and my nans’ experiences with the medical profession were part of my motivation to study medicine. I should also name professor Ngiare Brown, the first Aboriginal doctor that I met, who has continued to motivate and inspire me.
The symposium and its wider program provides an opportunity for us to celebrate the work of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander doctors, to showcase Indigenous leadership, and to provide professional development opportunities for our Indigenous medical students and doctors through members workshops. It also allows us to share stories and space with our colleagues and peers.
I hope to see a dramatic increase in the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander doctors, with numbers spread across all specialities. I hope to see quality medical care provided to my family and communities across Australia. I hope to see AIDA continuing to grow and strengthen their role as the peak body representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander doctors and students. And most importantly, I hope that my children continue to grow and develop to their full potentials.