Kahlie Lockyer Awarded AMA Indigenous Medical Scholarship

Kahlie Lockyer Awarded AMA Indigenous Medical Scholarship

Kahlie Lockyer, an accomplished artist and medical student at the University of Western Australia, has been awarded the prestigious Australian Medical Association (AMA) Indigenous Medical Scholarship. The scholarship recognizes her dedication and commitment to improving health outcomes for Indigenous communities. Kahlie Lockyer Awarded AMA Indigenous Medical Scholarship

The scholarship will be formally presented at the AMA-AIDA Taskforce on Indigenous Health meeting on Friday, held on Ngunnawal land in Canberra. This event will bring together health leaders to discuss strategies aimed at enhancing health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly is set to address the taskforce, which will include representatives from the AMA, the Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association (AIDA), and the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO).

A Focus on Early Intervention

Ms. Lockyer has a particular interest in developmental paediatrics, focusing on early intervention for health issues in young Indigenous children.

“I believe our children are our future, and if we can start with managing preventable diseases in young Indigenous children, then that can lead to them having a better education and better outcomes for their future,” she said.

Lockyer highlighted that many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are being missed by the health system in diagnoses of learning disabilities, neurodivergence, and other conditions. This gap often results in lower education and health literacy, reduced employment rates, and higher incarceration rates.

“This is all intertwined, and I believe the childhood years are where the biggest impact can be made,” Lockyer emphasized.

A Journey Inspired by Community

The 35-year-old, who belongs to the Ngarluma and Karriyarra people from the Pilbara region and the Yawuru and NyulNyul people from the Kimberley region, grew up in Port Hedland, WA. Her interest in health was sparked during her childhood, influenced by her mother, a nurse who taught first aid and health courses in various communities.

“My interest in health started in my childhood as my mother was a nurse. She would go out and teach first aid and health courses in different communities, and I would always be the kid that would tag along and help her,” Ms. Lockyer recalled.

Although Lockyer has had a successful career as an artist, she felt a stronger calling to medicine, particularly after her second son was born with congenital complications.

“Wanting to be in health really did come from my childhood and seeing what our communities really need. The challenges I’ve faced with my kids and myself in the health system made me realize that we need more Indigenous doctors,” she said.

The Importance of Support

Lockyer emphasized the significance of the AMA Indigenous Medical Scholarship, noting that it provides more than just financial support.

“The importance of the scholarship is more than just financial support. I felt that a significant organization like the AMA investing in my studies on a national level has enhanced my confidence and reinforced that I am on the right path,” she said.

AMA President Professor Steve Robson expressed his admiration for Lockyer’s story and her dedication to early intervention in First Nations communities.

“The AMA has a long history of supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to become doctors, with this scholarship now running for 30 years,” Professor Robson said.

“Ms. Lockyer is already making a huge difference by being a role model to young Indigenous children, and I have no doubt she will go on to achieve great things in medicine.”

Moving Forward

The AMA Indigenous Medical Scholarship, valued at $11,000 per year for the remainder of a student’s medical studies, plays a crucial role in supporting Indigenous medical students. Applications for the 2024 scholarship are now closed, with a record number of applications received. A panel of taskforce members is in the process of finalizing the review process.

As Kahlie Lockyer continues her journey in medicine, her story stands as a testament to the importance of supporting Indigenous voices in healthcare and the powerful impact of combining cultural knowledge with medical expertise.

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Source: https://nit.com.au/07-06-2024/11839/indigenous-medical-student-awarded-ama-scholarship

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