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Recognition for work in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health


Morgan Liotta


19/08/2020 1:08:27 PM

With nominations for the 2020 RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Awards now open, newsGP speaks with two past award winners.

Dr Casey Kalsi and Ms Kayla Ramires
(L–R) Dr Casey Kalsi, recipient of the 2018 Growing Strong Award, and Kayla Ramires, recipient of the 2018 Medical Student Award.

Recently celebrating a significant milestone with the commemoration of its 10th year of operation,  RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health was established to drive the college’s commitment to developing a culturally informed GP workforce, increasing the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander GPs, and advocating for equity in the health system.
 
 For Dr Casey Kalsi, recipient of the 2018 Growing Strong Award, being a role model for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community has always been important to her.
 
Dr Kalsi told newsGP the award not only helped to further her role in supporting the community, but to also achieve some of her career goals.
 
‘Winning this award helped stay focused on the end goal of achieving Fellowship, which I have now done – I finished my exams and passed them all,’ she said.
 
‘I feel very privileged to now be working in a well-supported, fantastic mainstream general practice in Brisbane with a great team.’
 
Dr Kalsi also recently finished writing a curriculum framework for a cultural mentoring program for registrars.
 
‘I really enjoyed doing this. It took me back to my grassroots of education and allowed me to combine my teaching background and medicine in such a meaningful way,’ she said.

She is optimistic about her plans for the future.
 
‘I know my future is bright as long as I surround myself with my family and good friends,’ Dr Kalsi said.
 
‘I am looking forward to continuing to learn each day from my patients and wonderful colleagues, and to having more input in the medical education field.’
 
Kayla Ramires is an Aboriginal woman from the Yuin people, with ties to Budjalung. She was the recipient of the RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health 2018 Medical Student Award.

Since winning the award, Ms Ramires has been continuing her Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery studies at Western Sydney University, where she will be graduating at the end of this year.

Ms Ramires has also been a student representative on the RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Council since 2019.
 
‘This has helped me continue to explore the world of general practice, especially in regards to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health,’ she told newsGP.
 
‘I have also been involved in work with the NSW Rural Doctors Network as a rural cadet which has involved gaining further exposure to rural practice.’
 
Winning the student award opened up doors for Ms Ramires to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health advocates, and helped to pave her career path.
 
‘Firstly [the award] allowed me to meet inspirational Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander GPs, such as Dr Olivia Donoghue and Associate Professor Peter O’Mara, who I am fortunate enough to be on the RACGP Health Council with,’ she said.

‘Through the Council, I have also been involved in reviewing policies and discussing issues regarding the training of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander GPs.
 
‘Secondly, it has continued to encourage me to chase a future career as a rural GP, hopefully one who works in women’s health.’
 
Achieving a career in rural women’s health is looking likely for Ms Ramires through hard work and determination.
 
‘My immediate future will be spent in Orange [in regional NSW], where I will be completing my intern year,’ she said.
 
‘After this, my hope is that I will spend a couple more years in the hospital system, gaining valuable experience, after which I will hopefully start training as a GP.
 
‘During my general practice training I am aiming to gain my Advanced Diploma in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, which will allow me to work as a rural obstetrician GP. After my training, my hope is that I can help women deliver their babies on country, as well as encouraging women to complete and remain up to date with their health checks.’
 
Nominations for the following RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health 2020 awards are open until 4 September:

  • Standing Strong Together Award
  • Growing Strong Award
  • Medical Student Award
The faculty encourages anyone with an interest in general practice and a career in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health to consider applying. Further information and nomination forms are available on the RACGP website.
 
Information about past award winners is also available on the RACGP website.

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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health RACGP Awards



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