Chris Hince is a qualified physiotherapist who joined Flinders University Rural and remote Health NT in September.
He previously worked as a physio with Bodyfit NT working in remote communities across the Top End for 4.5 years.
Chris joined Flinders as an allied health research project officer and is heading up a co-design research project that will see allied health students complete placement in the Arnhem Land township of Nhulunbuy and surrounding communities of Yirrkala and Gunyangara. The students will form part of a novel student assisted allied health service which is co-designed with Yolngu community members and will provide additional allied health support to the region. The project will help students learn how social and cultural factors affect one’s interaction with the healthcare system.
“This is a unique opportunity to teach students that our western biomedical approach isn’t the only way to understand health, and there are a large number of other factors that impact a person’s health,” Chris said.
“By spending more time with people and understanding their story and how they see things and what’s important to them, students can hopefully learn to provide a more holistic and culturally responsive service, one that is directed by the client and their needs.”
While Covid has created some difficulties for the research project he is hoping to oversee three sets of four students for eight-week placements during the year.
Chris made the 1000km journey from Darwin to Nhulunbuy just as the monsoon settled in across the Top End in January.
He had a memorable trip up the Central Arnhem Highway, where he took the newly purchased Hilux through water crossings and across mud puddles and endless hours of corrugation.
In fact it was a rather slow going, two day 4WD journey, with a stop over at Mainoru Station to get there.
“There was so many buffalo and all kinds of wildlife. If I didn’t have to concentrate so much it would have been quite a spectacular drive,” Chris said.
“The car was not in great condition by the end of it.”