I think my Christian upbringing and being the recipient of two very generous scholarships that changed the course of my life, I have become very aware and grateful of my life and very much aware of the needs in our community and the global community around us. This is why I feel compelled to give back to our community. Graduating at the top of my year I had the opportunity to become a specialist and as I considered this opportunity, I decided not to and instead pursue my education in a Masters of International Public Health at the University of Sydney. This essentially means developing health care programs for communities in poverty in developing countries, to enable them to reduce sickness and premature deaths and create a pathway out of poverty. My particular interests are in developing nutritional programs, water and sanitation, education of women and general health clinics. As a result of this, I have been humbled to see countless lives saved from the brink of death and the lives of young kids and their families being permanently changed with the hope of a brighter future. I often wonder who benefits most from this work, me or the communities I work with because the personal effects that it has on me is indelible and profound.
For the past decade I have been working in humanitarian development in South East Asia, predominantly the Philippines. I work with communities that live on rubbish dumps the size of Killarney Vale and other communities that are predominantly indigenous, living in mountainous areas of Mindanao. At the moment, for political and security reasons, it is not possible for me to return there to continue the work, so I am always looking for new opportunities to volunteer and work with other organisations to build on the good work they are already doing. As a student I worked in remote NSW with aboriginal communities in Walgett. This reminded me never to forget those in need on our very own doorstep. For this reason, I take patients off the public waiting list so that they can receive timely and high quality treatment.
When I’m out in the field working with communities helping them work towards their goals, it fills me with hope to think that the lives of so many will be so much better off for the future. I like to think that my patients are part of this journey as well because it’s only with the support of my patients that all of this is possible. This is also why the photo of the children on the motorbike is hanging in the centre of my clinic, to remind me and my patients that we are here to help change the world for the future.