Image: Demi Cheetham
A young indigenous woman from Cairns who is the first in her family to go to university has been awarded the House Call Doctor Futures in Health Indigenous Scholarship for 2019.
Twenty-five-year-old, Demi Cheetham said she had always dreamt of being a doctor and was determined to prove to her North Queensland community that it was possible.
“I put high expectations on myself. I want to be a positive role model for my community and for me it is more than the clinical aspects, it is the political and legislative side where you can promote health and bridge the gap,” she said.
Ms Cheetham, who is in her second year at The University of Newcastle, admits it has not been easy. She was accepted into medicine at the University of New South Wales after finishing high school but had to defer after three years and return home to Cairns because of family and medical reasons.
At 23 she enrolled in a Bachelor of Nursing Science and with a 6.2 grade-point average was last year accepted to study the Joint Medical Program at the University of Newcastle to continue her dream of being a doctor.
“I can’t begin to describe the immense difference the House Call Doctor scholarship makes. By taking off the financial burden, you can put study number one,” she said.
Nearly 200 medical students from around Australia applied for the House Call Doctor Futures in Indigenous Health Scholarship.
Last year’s recipient was single mother of three, Tanaio Anau who was studying midwifery and living on remote Boigu Island in the Torres Strait.
House Call Doctor General Manager, James Wood, said House Call Doctor recognised there was enormous need for health experts from diverse backgrounds and congratulated Demi Cheetham on her commitment and perseverance.
“We want to thank everyone who applied for the scholarship. Indigenous health professionals account for just 0.3 per cent of our national healthcare workforce and scholarships like this can help increase that number,” he said.
The House Call Doctor Futures in Health Indigenous Scholarship provides $5,000 towards the cost of study. Scholarship applications for 2020 will open shortly.
House Call Doctor sends a home doctor to you and your family when your regular GP is closed at night and on weekends and public holidays. To book a house call home doctor patients should call 13 55 66 or book online or via the House Call Doctor App.