Allied in health

25 March 2013

(L-R) Bethany Brayne, Simone-Cherie Holt and Timothy Glynn.
(L-R) Bethany Brayne, Simone-Cherie Holt and Timothy Glynn.

Seven Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students specialising in physio, speech or occupational therapy have graduated from the University of Sydney's Faculty of Health Science on Friday 22 March.

The faculty, which boasts the highest number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rehabilitation therapies and community health graduates in Australia will graduate three Masters of Physiotherapy from its graduate entry masters (GEM) program, two undergraduates of physiotherapy, a speech therapist and an occupational therapist.

The GEM program enables students to attain professional recognition within two years, and is designed to deliver work-ready graduates says, Simone-Cherie Holt from the faculty's Yooroang Garang Indigenous Student Support Unit.

"The majority of our GEM students are from all backgrounds, not just those with a health-related bachelor's degree. If you have an undergraduate degree in science, arts, economics or business, you are eligible to apply for a GEM course," she said.

"The programs aim to improve Indigenous health at a community level by developing and mentoring indigenous students into health professionals," says Ms Holt.

All seven graduates are now employed in their chosen professions working in rural and regional centres across New South Wales.

Timothy Glynn, who grew up near Lithgow just on the western side of the Blue Mountains says after leaving high school, he completed a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science before being accepted into the Master of Physiotherapy degree.

The GEM graduate is currently working at John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle on an acute Orthopaedic ward. He says this year his work will consist of five rotations in a variety of physiotherapy fields throughout the hospital, along with two secondments to neighbouring Hunter New England Hospitals.

Fellow graduand Bethany Brayne, originally from Liverpool in Sydney is now part of a new graduate program and is working for the Lachlan Health Service at the Forbes District hospital.

Bethany says she loves the challenge of working in a rural community of around eight thousand people.

"There is a large indigenous population here, and my senior physiotherapist and I have been discussing ways to involve the health service in indigenous education and becoming more a part of the indigenous community. I'm really excited about being board with that," says Bethany.

Professor Kathryn Refshauge, Dean of Health Sciences, congratulated each of the graduates saying Yooroang Garang is an important initiative of the Health Sciences faculty and a centrepiece of the University of Sydney's Cumberland Campus.

"To date the faculty has supported more than sixty Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to graduation in a number of vital allied health disciplines including in physiotherapy, occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, rehabilitation counselling and Health Information Management," said Professor Refshauge.