Popular Flinders Northern Territory medical student Ian Lee has won the Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association (AIDA) Indigenous Student of the Year Award.
The third-year student at Flinders’ Darwin medical program was recognised for his contribution to encouraging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation in training to become remote doctors via the University’s NT Medical Program and other programs.
Mr Lee commenced studying medicine in 2011 as a mature student in order to support health outcomes for people in rural and remote areas of the NT.
“I’ve already got my eye on a few remote communities I’d like to go to work once I’m finished,” he says, adding he enjoys also being chair of the AIDA Student Representative Committee and a director on the AIDA Board .
“I like to encourage any Indigenous person who wants to study medicine. I have encouraged a lot of people to apply to do it, including my niece, and then encourage them to continue on.
“We are hoping that as more come through, then more will stay in the Territory and not interested in going anywhere else.
“Many of our students do an internship at Alice Springs and look at different communities they’d like to work.”
Ian, who previously completed an information technology degree at the University of Canberra, moved back to his Larrakia homelands in order to be close to his family and roots.
“I needed to return to country in Darwin and my sister told me about the opportunities for Indigenous people through the NT Medical Program,” Ian says.
At the AIDA annual awards last week, the President of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Phillip Truskett also presented awards to Bond University Associate Professor Dr Bradley Murphy (Indigenous Doctor of the Year) and University of Western Sydney Professor Jennifer Reath (Associate Member of the Year).
Attracting Indigenous applicants is a major focus on Flinders’ NTMP. The Indigenous Entry Stream is available to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander graduates who want to study medicine in either Adelaide or the NT.