Bupa scholarships provide support for First Nations future health professionals

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The Bupa Foundation has announced two Indigenous university students, Kealey Griffiths and Rory Woods, as recipients of the 2023 Dr Evelyn Scott Scholarship.

The recipients each received $15,000 to help support their university studies and community work to positively impact First Nations communities' health outcomes.

The annual scholarship was established in 2018 to honour the legacy of Dr Scott, a former resident of Bupa’s Mt Sheridan aged care home and Indigenous leader.

Ms Griffiths, a medical student at the University of Queensland, was recognised for her involvement in numerous First Nations health research papers, including two she authored and her volunteer work mentoring First Nations university students.

“The scholarship will be a tremendous help that will go directly towards my studies allowing me to be a better student and eventually a more well-rounded clinician. I would put any remaining funds towards attending Indigenous and general health seminars and conferences,” she said.

“In recent times, I’ve learned to be unapologetically and authentically myself and in doing so, I’ve been able to become a true champion of equality for the many communities I’m involved with.”

Mr Woods, studying Exercise Science at the University of Wollongong, is the first male recipient of the Dr Evelyn Scholarship since the criteria was expanded. He plans to undertake a Postgraduate Doctorate of Medicine. Also, he hopes to work with the Indigenous Board for the University of Wollongong to help make Indigenous students feel comfortable and culturally safe.

“I aim to be a voice for my community and walk alongside them as we drive for change. On a personal level, I look forward to becoming the 1st generation in my family to complete a university degree,” he said.

“In the coming years, I hope to continue my study into a Postgraduate Doctor of Medicine degree and then specialise in Orthopaedic Surgery and become a Locum Tenens General Practitioner and Surgeon.”

There are also four scholarship runners-up who each received $5,000 in recognition of their high calibre applications and commitment to First Nations health outcomes. They are Rebecca Haynes (University of Adelaide), Scout King (University of Wollongong), Jasmine Tan (University of Wollongong) and Elissa Simmonds (Western Sydney University).

Roger Sharp, chief sustainability and corporate Affairs officer for Bupa APAC, said, “Helping students focus on their studies and realise their personal dreams and ambitions is a vital part of our objectives to advance opportunities for First Nations health leaders and practitioners."