Our scholarship recipients

Tanya Martin

Tanya Martin

Tanya Martin was born in Bourke, and is a Ngemba woman who still has strong cultural connections to her own country and community. Tanya has a background in nursing and midwifery and has worked in Aboriginal designated positions to improve the health outcomes of her people and to be a strong advocate in voicing her concern over the inequality of mainstream services for Aboriginal people, which are not being delivered in a culturally sensitive manner.

She has been specialising in Aboriginal health for the past 25 years of her career and will continue to do so until the day she passes into the spiritual land of her people. Tanya has a particular interest in miscarriages and stillbirths of Aboriginal woman and making sure that women's requests are respected and treated according to traditional values/protocol


Barbara Lucas

Barbara Lucas

Barbara Lucas is a paediatric physiotherapist with more than 15 years clinical experience and is a Specialist Paediatric Physiotherapist with the Australian College of Physiotherapists. She also has an interest in public and international health and has previously worked in Tanzania in 2006 completing a Masters in Public Health on her return.

Since 2009, she has been working as Deputy Manager of Royal North Shore Hospital (RNSH) Physiotherapy Department and combining this position with her role as a paediatric clinician. She was seconded for six months in 2011 to work with the Lililwan Project – the first case ascertainment study in Australia investigating the prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) in communities in the Kimberley, WA.

She is now back at RNSH completing a PhD connected to this work in collaboration with the community of Fitzroy Crossing, the George Institute for Global Health, the Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health and the Poche Centre for Indigenous Health, Sydney Medical School. Her research is investigating the effect of prenatal alcohol exposure on gross motor skills. She is passionate about improving the health outcomes for Aboriginal children.


Philippa Dossetor

Philippa Dossetor

Philippa Dossetor developed a strong interest in Aboriginal health and improving Aboriginal child health outcomes when she volunteered as a Medical Sciences student by helping the Lililwan Project team with coordination of multidisciplinary health and development assessments for FASD in Fitzroy Crossing, WA in 2011. She was shocked by the “fourth-world” standards of living experienced by families in terms of housing and health and was amazed by the strength, passion and self-determination of women like June Oscar, Maureen and Emily Carter and Marmingee Hand - despite all the difficulties they have had to face in life. The children she met during her visit had, at a very early age endured tragedy and stresses that were beyond my imagination. This was exacerbated by the burden of ill-health and disease that these children had experienced in early life and the high prevalence of chronic diseases, and alcohol use and social disadvantage in elder men and women of the communities.

As a result of her initial trip to Fitzroy, Philippa Dossetor began a Masters of Philosophy at Sydney University under the supervision of A/Prof Alexandra Martiniuk and Prof. Heather Jeffery in 2013 in the School of Public Health at the University of Sydney.

Upon being accepted into a Medical degree (MChD) at ANU in 2014, and so as not to compromise the work she has completed during her Masters of Philosophy, Philippa has decided to expand and transfer her project into a PhD at ANU under the additional supervision of A/Prof. David Harley.

Her project is a component of the community-led collaboration between Aboriginal communities of the Fitzroy Valley (represented by Nindilingarri Cultural Health Services and Marninwarntikura Women’s Resource Centre in Fitzroy Crossing) and The Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health and The George Institute for Global Health at Sydney Medical School, the Lililwan Project. She aims to evaluate health service needs and use by children in the Fitzroy Valley. By comparing available services with international best practice recommendations she will identify service gaps. She hopes to have two papers published by the end of 2014: a literature review on health service use and needs of Indigenous children in remote settings; and a paper examining the lifetime rate and underlying reasons for hospital admissions for the Lililwan cohort.


Suzanne Ingram

Suzanne Ingram

Suzanne Ingram is a woman of the Cowra Wiradjuri (Central West NSW) clans who has maintained a lifelong active involvement with her country and community. Her work in health builds on an extensive background in communication and Aboriginal heritage research. It was a moving encounter with a young man on his experiences with the health system while working on a Streetwize Communications project for NSW Health that began her inquiry into translation of Indigenous health research. As an associate investigator with the Kanyini Vascular Collaboration and Senior Research Fellow at the George Institute for Global Health, Suzanne’s research is focused on understanding communication needs to enhance outcomes from Aboriginal health research. She is a PhD candidate in Science Communication with the College of the Physical Sciences at the Australian National University.

In July 2013, Suzanne will attend the Science Communication residency program at the Banff Centre, Canada. It is an opportunity for Suzanne to align her practical and theoretical understanding and the Poche Centre is proud to support advancing her skills in this growing area of health research.

August 2013: See here for the report that Suzanne has written about the experience.


Simone Sherriff

Simone Sherriff

Simone Sherriff was born and raised in Wagga Wagga (Wiradjuri country) and is a Wotjobaluk woman.

For the past two and a half years Simone has worked as a Project Officer at the Sax Institute on the Study of Environment on Aboriginal Resilience and Child Health (SEARCH). SEARCH is a partnership between researchers, the Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council and four NSW Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services. The Study is collecting information on ear infections, speech development, mental health, injury, environmental health, risk factors for later chronic disease, and use of health services. SEARCH has recruited more than 1500 children and their families, making it Australia’s largest long-term study of the health and wellbeing of urban Aboriginal Children.

Prior to this Simone worked as an Aboriginal Research Officer conducting field work for SEARCH and as a Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Worker in a Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service. Simone has just completed the Graduate Diploma of Indigenous Health Promotion and has been accepted into the Masters of Public Health.



Blake Angell

Blake Angell

PhD Candidate
BEc Soc Sci. (Hons) MPH

Blake is investigating the economics of Indigenous health in Australia. His primary research interests are the economic implications of the social determinants of health and the economic impacts of disease and other health conditions on the indigenous population.

Blake has an undergraduate degree with honours in economics and completed a Master of Public Health degree from the school prior to starting research for his PhD. He has a background working as an economist in public policy in NSW with 3 years experience working at NSW Treasury, the majority of which focused on health policy. Blake currently also works part-time in the Economic Evaluation team of the NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation conducting economic evaluations of programs being funded by NSW Health.


Donna Hartz

Donna Hartz

Donna is a Post Doctoral Research Fellow at the Poche Centre for Indigenous Health, University of Sydney, Midwifery and Women’s Health Research Unit, based at the Royal Hospital for Women, Randwick. She has recently completed her PhD on the NHMRC funded randomised controlled trial of caseload midwifery care- the M@NGO project, the primary outcomes of which are published in the Lancet (2013).

Donna is a midwife with 27 years experience as a clinician, educator/lecturer, midwife consultant and researcher and has worked at a variety of tertiary and metropolitan maternity services and universities in NSW during this time. She was also a hospital accredited independent and homebirth midwife in Newcastle from 1988-2000. In the last decade she has worked closely with Professor Sally Tracy in the implementation and evaluation of midwifery models of care in particular caseload midwifery at the midwifery led service, Ryde Midwifery Group and the large caseload model at the Royal Hospital for Women (RHW).
Her current research projects include the evaluation of urban Aboriginal community caseload models of care.

She believes that childbirth is a monumental moment in the lives of women and their families. Women more than often define themselves and are influenced in life by their pregnancy and birth experiences, therefore it is important that women are supported in the most appropriate and sensitive manner by clinicians during this time. She is a passionate mother (2 born at home) and stepmother of six children and a grandmother to five.


Kate Hunter

Kate Hunter

Kate is a Research Fellow with the Poche Centre for Indigenous Health and The George Institute for Global Health, Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney and has over fifteen years’ experience in injury prevention research. Her research interests and commitment lie in developing capacity within Aboriginal injury prevention research with a particular focus addressing the burden of injury for Aboriginal people. Kate’s experience lies in evaluation of specific programs targeting safety behaviours, knowledge and attitudes and is currently working on developing appropriate resources and avenues to share these findings.
Kate’s current research injury areas focus on child injury, specifically road safety (Driving Change: Buckle-Up Study) and burn injury (Understanding Burns in Aboriginal Children). Understanding Burns in Aboriginal Children aims to work with clinicians, policy makers and community to develop a ‘blueprint’ for reform of services, to ensure Aboriginal children with a burn injury receive appropriate and effective care.
For more information on the Burns Study: http://www.georgeinstitute.org/projects/understanding-burns-in-aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander-children-treatment-access-to


Emily Banks

Emily Banks

Professor Emily Banks is a medically trained epidemiologist with interest and expertise in large scale cohort studies, pharmacoepidemiology, women’s health, Aboriginal Health and healthy ageing. She is currently the Scientific Director of the 45 and Up Study, Head of Chronic Disease Epidemiology at the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health and Chair of the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Medicines. She is a Chief Investigator on the Study of Environment on Aboriginal Resilience and Child Health (SEARCH) and the Centre for Research Excellence in Urban Aboriginal Child Health. The main emphasis of her work has been in using cohort study methodology to identify modifiable factors affecting individual and population health in different settings and in quantifying their effects, to inform improvements in health.


Kim Bulkeley

Kim Bulkeley

Kim has joined the POCHE centre to work with remote communities in north western NSW to develop and evaluate allied health service delivery for Aboriginal children and their families. The move into this role builds on Kim's work with the Wobbly Hub project over the past three years, researching and developing models of allied health to improve access to services for people with a disability in western NSW.
Kim is an occupational therapist with over 25 years experience in the community disability sector in front line, management, policy and research roles.
Kim is currently completing her PhD investigating a family centred intervention for young children with autism and is teaching part time at the Faculty of Health Sciences, pursuing her commitment to develop and support future generations of occupational therapists.


Nickalus Saveka

Nickalus Saveka

Nickalus Asera Saveka is a 31 year old Torres Strait Islander student at Cairns JCU. He is currently studying Bachelor of Dental Surgery and is currently in his first year. Before Nick became a dental student, he was just working part time for the council and was in Western Australia working in the mines as a dump truck driver. During Nick’s late teens he was heavily involved in local rugby league at Cairns Brother Rugby League Club and spent 6-8yrs on and off competing in the local league. During this time Nick was lucky enough to win multiple grand finals and unfortunately he lost a few too (Just quietly). On a more personal note Nick struggled with his attitude and accepting that things could not always go his way nor did he realise that majority of things in life were attained with hard work. However, as Nick matured he began to realise that a person’s worth was measured from the inside and having a good attitude was one of those key elements in living a more well rounded life. Once he established and addressed this aspect of his life, Nick began on a positive road that would see him gain his cert 3 & 4 in fitness, which propelled him to strive and seek further education. Nick first enrolled into Bachelor of Sports and Exercise Science when he initially started at University and in his first year he developed an understanding of the more you want something in life it will come to you, but with the realisation of seeking what it is you want first and not waiting for it. Now Nick is having the time of his life with his new friends, although Nick finds studying stressful at times, this is the happiest Nick has ever been in his life and feels a real sense of purpose within himself.


Bujimulla Yanner

Bujimulla Yanner

Bujimulla Balyarinyi Mambalia Mungabayi Yanner is a young Aboriginal man studying Dentistry at James Cook University. He is part of the Gangalidda tribe from Moungibi in the Gulf of Carpentaria. Bujimulla is fresh from highschool only just graduating in 2013 at St Teresa’s College, Abergowrie, an all-boys boarding school west of Ingham. Bujimulla wants to help fix the challenges that his people face in terms of healthcare, he strives to do better day by day, to be a great role model for not only the younger kids in his family but Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People as a whole. Bujimulla realises that doors will not just magically open for him, he knows he must work hard to open doors day by day. The most important thing in life for him is family, making his family and himself proud at his graduation is the ultimate goal.


Cassey Fogarty

Cassey Fogarty

Cassey Fogarty is an 18 year old Torres Strait Islander student at James Cook University, Cairns. Cassey is studying Bachelor of Dentistry and is in her second year. Having completed high school in 2102, Cassey jumped straight into university. Cassey is the Indigenous Representative for the Dental student board of JCU, and is continuously involved in local community events and fundraisers. From a young age Cassey has been involved with improving the health of Inidgenous persons, with her mum working as a health professional within both Queensland and Northern Territory Indigenous communities. With strong roots to Far north Queensland, Cassey aspires to improve not just oral health, but the overall health of the Far North by working closely with the fellow Indigenous students in her degree.


Darlene Rotumah

Darlene Rotumah

Darlene Rotumah is a Bundjalung woman living most of her life in the Tweed Heads region of the Bundjalung Nation and is the mother of two children and grandmother to one.
Darlene enjoys working in her community and works towards getting better health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
She has studied at the University of Western Sydney and Southern Cross University at Lismore to be awarded her Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1997 and Masters of Indigenous Studies in 2007.
Darlene is currently studying to do her PhD with the Sydney University, and is recently employed with the University Centre for Rural Health in Lismore, as the Aboriginal e-mental health coordinator.
Darlene was employed as a generalist counsellor with the Bugalwena Health Service in Tweed Heads from 1997-2014.
Recently, Darlene has been a part of a group which has published the first papers on counsellor perceptions of the impact of cognitive behavioural therapy for Aboriginal people.