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Scholarships provide support for First Nations future health professionals

2 min read

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 aimed at making a positive impact on health outcomes amongst First Nations communities.  

Established during 2018, the Scholarship was established in 2018 and is run on an annual basis by the Bupa Foundation to honour the legacy of Dr Scott, a former resident of Bupa’s Mt Sheridan aged care home and a proud Indigenous leader, who spent her life fighting for the rights of all peoples.  

Kealey, a medical student at the University of Queensland, was recognised for her involvement in numerous First Nations health research papers projects, in a capacity as research assistant and author along with 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,” said Kealey.  

“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.”  

Rory, studying Exercise Science at the University of Wollongong, is the first male recipient of the Dr Evelyn Scholarship since the criteria were expanded.  

He plans to undertake a Postgraduate Doctorate of Medicine and also 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,” Rory 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.”  

In addition to Kealey and Rory, there were four scholarship runners-up who each received $5,000 in recognition of their high calibre applications and commitment to First Nations health outcomes:  

  • Rebecca Haynes, Bachelor of Health and Medical Sciences (Advanced) with a major in Neuroscience: University of Adelaide  
  • Scout King, Bachelor of Pre-Medicine: University of Wollongong  
  • Jasmine Tan, Bachelor of Medical and Health Sciences: University of Wollongong  
  • Elissa Simmonds, Bachelor of Psychology (Honours): Western Sydney University  

This announcement was made following the launch of Bupa’s third Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) for 2023 – 2026. It sets out how it will deepen its commitments to help improve health outcomes for First Nations Peoples in Australia. 

Roger Sharp, Chief Sustainability and Corporate Affairs Officer for Bupa APAC said, it’s a privilege to honour Dr Scott’s legacy by supporting talented students like Kealey and Rory.  

“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,” Roger added.  

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Menchie Khairuddin is a writer Deputy Content Manager at Akolade and content producer for Third Sector News. She is passionate about social affairs specifically in mixed, multicultural heritage and not-for-profit organisations.


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