Sat. Jul 13th, 2024

Two $10,000 scholarships have opened applications for local health students.

For more than two decades, the Barwon Health Alliance and Gwydir Cotton Growers Association (CGA) have supported rural university students with the Dr William Hunter and Healthy Communities scholarships. Second year medical, allied health and nursing students from the Moree Shire, Warialda,
Bingara or Collarenebri districts are eligible to apply for the 2024 scholarships, which will provide two years of funds to assist with accommodation, textbooks and other university costs.

“I was actually really shocked when I got it,” 2023 Healthy Communities scholarship winner Natalie Young said.

“The interview process was really good and I found it quite easy to talk to the panel.”

Studying a Bachelor of Social Work through Charles Sturt University, Natalie lives and works in Moree. She is passionate about rural health and bringing more health professionals to the area, and hopes to work in oncology or mental health. The scholarship funds will help her complete her university placements.

“I really appreciate the scholarship and it’s being put to good use,” 2023 Dr William Hunter scholarship winner Will O’Donoghue said.

Studying medicine at the University of Queensland, Will said the funds were a relief considering the high cost of living.

Retired GP and namesake of the Barwon Health Alliance scholarship Dr William Hunter said this was more important than ever with shortages of medical professionals in country areas. Encouraging students to bring their skills back to the region, scholarship winners agree to undertake placements in Moree, Warialda, Bingara or Collarenebri. Both the past winners say it helped them see the need for rural health services.

“Working in Indigenous communities opened my eyes to the massive need for rural health services,” Natalie said.

“I can see how much worse it’s getting and how quickly, even in my lifetime. It’s getting harder and harder to see someone,” Will said. He is eager to return to the country and is most interested in the rural generalist pathway.

Chair of Gwydir CGA Mick Humphries said the scholarships increase opportunities for locals pursuing medical careers.

“A partnership between Gwydir CGA and Barwon Health Alliance means that students can fill out just one application to apply for both scholarships.”

Applicants must be Australian citizens in their second year or above of an undergraduate medical, allied health or nursing degree at any Australian university, and cannot currently be receiving payments from another scholarship.

A two-week student placement in Moree, Bingara, Warialda or Collarenebri and a second in a rural/regional town will be required for successful applicants.

To learn more or receive an application form, email barwonha@gmail.com or call 6752 7196.
Applications for the 2024 scholarships will close on October 13, 2023.

Top image: Healthy Communities Scholarship winner Natalie Young with Gwydir Cotton Growers
Association committee member Liam Winter and chair Mick Humphries.

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