A major donation by visionary benefactors will support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medical students.
Set to increase the number of medically qualified Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander professionals working in their own communities, a generous $1 million donation from Mary Calthorpe and George Wong will establish a scholarship for Indigenous students studying Medicine at Flinders University.
The Calthorpe Wong Indigenous Medical Scholarship has been created by the retired ophthalmologists, who have worked at the Flinders Medical Centre, the Repatriation General Hospital at Daw Park, and the Marion Road Eye Clinic.
Annually, four Indigenous medical students will receive $20,000 for each year of their five-year medical degree at Flinders University’s Bedford Park campus or in the University’s Northern Territory Medical Program.
UNDERSTANDING HEALTH CHALLENGES
Dr Calthorpe says, ‘It’s our hope that people will be able to access medical care in their own region from people they identify with, speak their language and thoroughly understand their cultural background.’
‘During our professional careers, we were honoured to have treated the traditional owners of this land,’ says Dr Wong. ‘We sought to understand the health challenges facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Hence, we dedicate four annual scholarships in perpetuity for the education of Indigenous medical students.
‘We place our trust and have confidence in these doctors to significantly improve Indigenous health outcomes.’
IMPROVING MEDICAL TREATMENT IN REMOTE AREAS
Flinders University Pro Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous), Associate Professor Simone Tur, says the generous scholarships are a major step forward in helping to boost the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students able to obtain medical qualifications, and then practise in their own communities.
‘It reinforces the ten years of effort by our Northern Territory Medical Program to improve medical treatment for people in remote areas and help them lead longer, healthier lives.’
Applications for the scholarships will open early in 2022 via flinders.edu.au/scholarships. Recipients will be selected by the five-person Calthorpe Wong Indigenous Medical Scholarships Committee.
Flinders University Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Stirling says, ‘We’re incredibly grateful to Drs Calthorpe and Wong for their determination to make a difference in this practical and meaningful way.’