Closing the gap for Indigenous medical students - Keisha's story
No matter what path she took, Keisha Nash knew she wanted to be a doctor.
The 23 year old medical student has spent her summer interning at Bupa through CareerTrackers, a program building career pathways for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.
Keisha is studying medicine at Monash University in Melbourne, and hopes to work as an Obstetrician on Thursday Island, her family’s homeplace.
A diligent student, and active member of her school community, Keisha served as school Vice-Captain, Athletics Captain, and Debating Captain.
When her ATAR result fell below the tough requirements for initial acceptance into medicine, Keisha was determined to find another way to pursue her dream.
"I've always known my goal and I was going to do everything in my power to achieve this."
Keisha completed a Bachelor of Science, complementing her studies with internships at Bupa and a medical research laboratory.
This cemented her desire to work in the medical field.
After graduating, she was accepted into a post-graduate degree in Medicine through an alternative entry pathway offered by Monash University, which aims to increase the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander graduate doctors.
In 2017, the average ATAR of students who received an offer to study a Bachelor of Medicine at Monash University was 99.25.
Entry requirements often reflect demand, rather than the attributes needed to be successful in the medical field.
With Indigenous doctors making up just 0.4% of people currently practicing medicine, Keisha will be filling an important gap in the medical community.
“Indigenous Australians have the worst health outcomes in Australia, and since the stolen generation there has been mistrust in Australia’s health system. The fear of your child being taken, and a lack of understanding of traditional medical practices prevents many Indigenous Australians from seeking medical treatment today.”
Building employment opportunities and career pathways are key pillars of Bupa’s Reconciliation Action Plan, along with a commitment to ending rheumatic heart disease and publicly supporting the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
Dr Dwayne Crombie, Managing Director of Bupa Health Insurance saw the importance of a community led approach to health care as a young public health doctor, working to end rheumatic fever among Maori and Pacific Islander communities in South Auckland.
“Solving community health problems takes more than just understanding illness and disease. It takes a community coming together respectfully. Growing the number of First Nations doctors and building community partnerships is integral to closing the health gap for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples”
As a 10x10 corporate partner of CareerTrackers, Bupa is committed to hosting a minimum of ten interns each year, for the next ten years.
Keisha is one of 15 CareerTrackers interns who joined Bupa this summer, with nine working towards a career in health and care.
Reflecting on her ambition to be a doctor, Keisha said "I just want young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to know you're in control of your own destination no matter what the journey".