The University of NSW Scholarships Office has awarded the 2018 Skilled Medical Award for Advancement in Indigenous Health to Megan Torpey, a first-year medical student at UNSW. Megan is from the Bellarine Peninsula in Victoria and moved to Sydney with her young family to study medicine at UNSW. Her desire to pursue a career in medicine stems from her Aboriginal grandmother’s personal story of removal, loss and reconnection.
Prior to studying medicine, Megan worked in and studied Indigenous women’s health and public health initiatives for over 10 years, supporting families and communities to achieve better health. Megan worked with The University of Melbourne’s, School of Population Health, Indigenous Eye Health Unit and visited Northern Territory communities to gain better insight into the types of promotional initiatives and campaigns Indigenous Australians burdened with disease need. This work included working with Indigenous communities in Central Australia and the Katherine region to develop health promotional material around trachoma and hygiene, now adopted and in use nationwide with Commonwealth government endorsement.
Megan is passionate about improving Aboriginal women’s health and birth practices and creating better Indigenous access to public health services to reduce the high rates of Aboriginal gestational diabetes, hypertension, low birth rates, tobacco and marijuana use, domestic violence and alcohol abuse in communities.
“To be the recipient of the 2018 Skilled Medical Award for the Advancement of Indigenous Health is an enormous honour. This award will provide invaluable support to myself and my young family in our first year in Sydney, having moved interstate to undertake my medical degree,” said Megan Torpey. “Through this support, I will be able to continue to prioritise my studies, with dedication to contributing to the improvement of health for our communities and providing a positive example to my children that through hard work and support, great changes can be made.”
Since 2012, Skilled Medical has provided an annual scholarship in the amount of a $5,000 award to a UNSW medical student selected after undertaking work in their local community or communities more generally, that help to improve Aboriginal health.
“This year, the applications were well prepared and the selection panel was pleased to award Megan Torpey with Skilled Medical’s scholarship,” said Dr David Campbell, Managing Director. “Megan is passionate about promoting positive change in Indigenous public and women’s health and I believe she will make valuable contributions throughout her medical career.”
The Skilled Medical Award for Advancement in Indigenous Health at the UNSW is funded through the company's Social Responsibility Program
2018 Skilled Medical Award for Advancement in Indigenous Health Winner, Megan Torpey at UNSW Sydney