A $160,000 scholarship fund, designed to support Aboriginal students at the University of Notre Dame Australia’s School of Medicine, will make an important contribution of improving healthcare in the country’s Aboriginal communities.
Announced on 28 May by St John of God Health Care, the fund will support four Aboriginal students throughout their studies at the University’s Fremantle School of Medicine.
Professor Selma Alliex, Pro Vice Chancellor and Head of Fremantle Campus, described this as a “significant gesture of support for our students and a further substantial commitment to help address the chronic shortage of Aboriginal doctors in Australia”.
“Yet again, St John of God Health Care has assisted the University in fulfilling its mission of caring for disadvantaged students. For this support, we are very grateful,” Prof Alliex said.
“Nationwide to date, only 427 Aboriginal students have graduated with a medical degree, with a further 325 currently studying medicine.
“When you compare that number to the 3500 Aboriginal doctors required to reach population parity you begin to understand the challenges associated with Aboriginal heath care,” she added.
The St John of God Health Care scholarships will help build on the School of Medicine’s Fremantle’s achievements in recruiting, supporting, and graduating students.
Recently, the first two Aboriginal students graduated from Fremantle and currently 13 Aboriginal students are among the school’s total cohort of 400.
The scholarships will be provided to students commencing study this year. They will receive $10,000 per year, a total of $40,000 over the four-year degree.
“This level of financial support will make a huge difference to the recipients. Our medicine course is intense and these scholarships will greatly reduce the pressure of having to work long hours to make ends meet,” Prof Alliex said.