Recipients Of The Inaugural AFMW Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander Purple Bush Leaves Medicine Bursary Announced

Bursary Recipients Announced

As part of NAIDOC Week celebrations, the Australian Federation of Medical Women is pleased to announce the recipients of the Inaugural AFMW Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Purple Bush Leaves Medicine Bursary.

Three exceptional candidates will each be awarded a Bursary of $1000 as a contribution to career, leadership and professional development activities.

Donor Acknowledgement

Our inaugural bursary was planned to be awarded to a single recipient, however with the kind contribution from First Nations businesses headed by Adjunct Associate Professor Colin Saltmere AM, Managing Director of Myuma, and Ms Leann Wilson, Director of Regional Economic Solutions, and Deputy Chair of the Board of The Healing Foundation, the bursary was able to be extended to three recipients. Thank you.

We also gratefully acknowledge the generous contribution of Ochre Health as we begin planning for next year’s Bursary Programme.

The AFMW congratulates the following Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Medical Women

Ms Tia Gordon, Final Year Medical Student

Ms Tia Gordon,  a Ghungalu/Bidjara woman, is completing a Doctor of Medicine with Flinders University, Darwin, Northern Territory, including an elective at Tennant Creek. Ms Gordon has completed a Bachelor of Arts (Indigenous Australian Studies) at James Cook University in 2015, and an Indigenous Entry Stream Bridging Program, with Flinders University, Adelaide in 2017.

Ms Gordon plans to use the Bursary funds to attend the 2021 Rural Medicine Australia Conference in Perth, 2021.

“I’m a Ghungalu/Bidjara woman from Queensland and a final year medical student. I moved to the Northern Territory to study medicine because I knew I was passionate about Indigenous health and rural medicine. I’m interested into going into rural generalism and this has been a great place to see and experience rural generalism in action. The NT has been a fantastic experience so far and this is where I’ve also discovered my love of hiking.”

Ms Tia Gordon

Ms Tia Gordon, Final Year Medical Student, a Ghungalu/Bidjara woman

Dr Kerby Siemsen, Recent Graduate (2018)

Dr Kerby Siemsen, a Wiradjuri woman from Weethalle, NSW, is currently undertaking GP specialist training in far North Queensland. Dr Siemsen is an Australian Army Trainee Medical Officer and completed her medical degree at the University of New England, Armidale.

Dr Siemsen plans to use the bursary funds for a professional development workshop in leadership, including the Australian Indigenous Doctors Association conference and the AFMW Face 2 Face meeting in November.

“I have always wanted to help people and I always wanted to know how things worked so a combination of both could be found if I became a doctor. Currently I am struggling to find exactly what I should be doing in terms of specialty training.

..Every opportunity I’m given is a chance to be better and better represent women, my family, culture and community. I want to be able to influence people to be better and achieve what they never thought they could. I want to inspire.”

Dr Kerby Siemsen

Dr Kerby Siemsen, Recent Graduate (2018), a Wiradjuri woman

Dr Sarah McEwan, Hononary Assistant Professor to Bond University

Dr Sarah McEwan, a Wiradjuri woman from Mudgee, NSW, who studied medicine in Newcastle, and has developed extended and multidisciplinary skills in her practice as a rural generalist in rural and remote Australia and Aboriginal Health.

Dr McEwan already has many post-graduate Fellowships and Diplomas in advanced training already to her credit, including the Masters of Health Adminstration, Flinders University (2020). She would like to complete the Leadership for Clinicians Course, Royal Australian College of Medical Administrators.

“I am incredibly grateful to AFMW for their prioritisation and emphasis on developing opportunities and offerings of support for Aboriginal and/Torres Strait Islander women to pursue leadership avenues, especially in the post graduate space “

Simply by the nature our career paths as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people we are trail blazing in that regard for our families and communities. Due to this we are often thrust into leadership positions whether we feel equipped or not for the roles.

I am proudly one of the first 75 Aboriginal and/Torres Strait Islander doctors in the nation and also the first Aboriginal female to fellow through the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine – such honours of being “the firsts” to do things comes with added responsibility especially in the leadership space.

I’d like to express my gratitude to AFWM for creating this bursary opportunity. I, like many others have had unique social challenges recently which has been further imposed upon with the impact of COVID. 

I am incredibly thankful for strong, powerful women in medicine who desire to create opportunity to lift other strong, powerful women in medicine – so collectively our diverse perspective, voices and opinions can be heard for the betterment of all.

Mandaang Guwu (Wiradjuri for Thanks You)

Dr Sarah McEwan

Dr Sarah McEwan, Hononary Assistant Professor to Bond University, a Wiradjuri woman

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