Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD) and the not-for-profit organisation Shalom Gamarada have partnered to support an aspiring Indigenous medical student with their studies, with a special benefit for Western NSW.
Minister for Health Brad Hazzard said the funding from the LHD will support an Aboriginal medical student from the region to live at the Shalom residential College while pursuing their medical studies at the University of NSW.
The partnership will support up to two students at any given time, providing support over five years of training. Upon graduation, the students will return to the west for a 12-month internship.
“We hope this support will allow a future doctor to come from the west, return there upon graduation and even further their career in the west,” Mr Hazzard said.
The Shalom Gamarada program has supported 23 medical students since 2009 and several have had placements at Dubbo Hospital.
Mr Hazzard thanked Dubbo Hospital renal specialists Dr Colin McClintock and Dr Jeniffer Fiore-Chapman for their work in developing the new scholarship.
“They both see first-hand every day the health issues of Aboriginal people in Western NSW,” he said.
“Their innovative response with this program is one reason why Dubbo Hospital has a great reputation as a pivotal regional health care provider.”
David Spears, director of the Shalom Gamarada Indigenous Residential Scholarship Program, said there are at least 20 Indigenous students at the college each year and every one of them was a role model for the next generation of student residents.
“Few of our students and graduates have come from “learning communities”. They are often the first among their families and friends to attend university and yet they graduate achieving Credits, Distinctions and High Distinctions along with the other students,” Mr Spears said.
“Which goes to prove that, given the opportunity, there is no reason young Indigenous people can’t make it into the medical – and other – professions.”
For further information about the program please contact: Dr Clayton Spencer on (02) 6369 8072