IAHA Student Stuff - August 2015
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Exciting News about the National HFTC!

2014 IAHA HFTC winners to compete in National competition

We are proud and excited to announce that G-MACK, the winning team from our IAHA 2014 HealthFusion Team Challenge (HFTC), will be competing as a wildcard entry into the National HFTC on 17 September 2015!!! This is the first time that an all-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander team will compete at the mainstream national event. Click here to read more. Good luck team!

Study Productivity Tips and Tricks

How to ensure you're getting the most out of your study time

Here are some helpful tips to keep you on track through the coming months so you don't get banked up come the end of the semester.

Try and find a nice space to study in if you can, somewhere quiet and as much away from disturbance as possible. Some people choose to go to a library or even a park or somewhere in the sun outdoors. Some like to burn their favourite incense or have music playing.

Work out what time of day you are most productive; morning, afternoon or evening, and plan to put in some good hours around those times - you'll find that you will get more done. 

Study every day, as you will be constantly reviewing things and then less likely to cram at the end of the semester, as this can be very stressful and overwhelming. You might need to cut back on a few activities and prioritise study over some social activities for the short term, but you don't have to be a hermit. Finding a balance that suits you to keep up with your study load and still see family and friends is important too.

Make a plan of action. It can be helpful to map out your workload and keep up with the study guided timetable that recommends the time allocated to each topic. 

Map out your assignment. This can be useful when breaking it down to introduction, body and conclusion, then allocating a word amount to each section can help to break it up and appeal less daunting.

Take regular breaks, do some exercise and eat healthy. This will help keep you refreshed and energised and save any sugar and caffeine crashes. Getting good sleep is also very helpful, so if you can get into a routine and stick to it that will help you keep motivated and productive.

If you get stuck on something talk with your fellow students and/or lecturers. There is always someone who will be able to talk things out with you. And just remember you are not alone, sometimes a yarn and some fresh air can help clear any mind blockages and get you back on track.

Good Luck and keep up the great work!
Devinia, SRC Member and social work student at Deakin Uni

Celeste's Leadership Reflection 

on the IAHA Leadership Workshop held in Alice Springs, February 2015

I felt extremely empowered after I attended the workshop, I had a sense of direction and guidance to leadership in my life. I enjoyed listening about participants’ leadership experiences, skills, and journeys, some were inspiring!

We had a group of emerging leaders and accomplished leaders, including our presenters, Edward Watkin & Lenora Thaker (check them out if you haven't heard about them). It was great to see how everyone engaged depending on their leadership journey and skills. 

One concept I remember from the workshop, which I have used several times since, is WHY, HOW and WHAT. WHY is leadership required in my (work/uni/study) life, HOW should I lead to achieve my vision and purpose and WHAT actions are required to achieve my vision and purpose. I found myself using this approach throughout my recent 14 week practicum as I found that many qualities of a leader are similar to the qualities of my profession. A key quote that I wrote down during the workshop was 'good followers bring out the best in good leaders'. This shows that as a leader who is well recognised and supported will achieve more with the support and encouragement from their 'followers'.

SRC member and social work student at Curtin University

Get Involved in IAHA Events

Including the National Conference and Health Fusion Team Challenge (HFTC)


A message from Di - IAHA Board Director (student), SRC member and occupational therapy student at James Cook University

I would love to see more student members compete in the IAHA HealthFusion Team Challenge each year. I know the members who have previously come to the challenges over the last couple of years have had a great time, learnt a lot and made heaps of friends.

The IAHA HFTC is a fun and interactive learning experience for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health students. You work together in interprofessional teams to solve problems, determine the best care for a person with complex care needs and present your teams’ management plans.

I have had a few students say to me, ‘but isn't it shame?’ Well, for some of you it might feel a bit shame, or even scary at first. However, you will soon be able to see that presenting in front of one another is not as difficult as you may think. It's actually quite a lot of fun!  Participating in the IAHA HFTC is a great learning opportunity as well as an opportunity to network and meet like-minded people.  

The challenge can also provide an opportunity for students close to their graduation to build on resumes and job interview skills.

So how does participating in the HFTC assist me with my job interview skills you may ask?

By using examples from within your teams you should be able to demonstrate in an interview how you 
  • were culturally responsive 
  • worked effectively in your teams
  • obtained research materials and used evidence-based practice 
  • applied clinical reasoning skills
  • collaborated to complete your presentation 
  • worked to a deadline
  • presented in front of peers and or to a larger audience within the conference/forum.
IAHA aims to hold a HFTC each year and in 2015 it is in Cairns prior to the IAHA National Conference. 

Podiatry Placement in the Torres Strait


An article by Maddison Adams - IAHA Student Member, and Podiatry student at Queensland University of technology

I am a Wulli Wulli woman from Brisbane and a final year Queensland University of Technology podiatry student. In June, I had the privilege of travelling to Thursday Island in the Torres Strait to complete 3 weeks of placement. I was fortunate enough to receive a SARRAH remote placement scholarship, which enabled my 3 week adventure.

Getting to Thursday Island is a journey in itself; in one day I flew from Brisbane to Cairns, Cairns to Horn Island and travelled by ferry from Horn Island to Thursday Island. The Torres Strait is a beautiful part of Australia and thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent up there.

The issue of accommodation was a large hurdle and did provide some uncertainty initially. Thanks to the combined efforts of QUT, JCU and the director of allied health on Thursday Island, I managed to secure exceptional housing at the JCU medical accommodation. Living in a share environment with other medical and allied health students provided an excellent orientation to the island and enabled me to settle in quickly.

As this was my last major practical, I treated patients as the primary clinician with the supervising podiatrist observing and completing clinical notes. This enabled me to refine my clinical skills and really cement my own routine when treating.

I was based at the Thursday Island Community Wellness Centre as a member of the multidisciplinary allied health team. I had the opportunity to complete cultural orientation, home visits, work in the dialysis unit at the hospital, and visit health centres in other areas of the Torres Strait. The variety of clinical settings made for a very diverse caseload, which students don’t often get to experience in an urban setting. 

The Torres and Cape Health group is very different to the rest of Queensland Health due to its geographical layout; there is one podiatrist to cover the Cape and all 14 inhabited islands of the Torres Strait.
Throughout the duration of my stay, I experienced many different aspects of podiatric care. The diversity in clinical tasks certainly made for a very interesting stay.

Thursday Island has a very welcoming community vibe. Whilst I was there I experienced a major celebration for the Christian community and the State of Origin decider game. I was also welcomed to the weekly yoga class and volleyball training. Participating in activities outside of work made me feel like a real member of the community.

I would highly recommend a rural or remote placement to any health student. I believe my remote placement has been extremely valuable for me heading into my last semester of study. It has been a transformative experience as I have developed on both a professional and personal level.

Stay True to what Drives You


A message from Trevor Ritchie - IAHA Board Director (graduate), and occupational Therapist (ot)

Hello students my name is Trevor-Tirritpa Ritchie. I am a Kaurna man with cultural ties to Ngarrindjeri of the lower Murray River area, Wirangu on the west coast of South Australia and Dunghutti on the north east coast of New South Wales. I am also an Occupational Therapist (OT) and completed my degree in 2013.

Firstly I would like to congratulate you, your family and supports on being able to attend University to further your education. Like many of you, I would not be in the position to have done this without these supports and the pathways others have carved out who went before me.

For me when I attended University it was a story of firsts. I was the first in my immediate family to go to university; I was the first and only self-identified Indigenous person in my degree at the time. It was in this space that I continued to grow my supports. I found lectures and tutors who I could easily relate to. I engaged with my local University Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander support unit. This became my home away from home.  Finding these likeminded people helped feeling less isolated and overwhelmed.

Although there was periods where I did feel like throwing the towel in. The supports and with the belief of what contributions I could make to not only my Indigenous community but Indigenous communities across Australia gave me the strength to stick it out.  It allowed me to go to that next lecture after I received a bad grade. It gave me strength to manage all of the other commitments in my life.

For you students who are now studying I would advise you to stay true to what drives you and the reasons why you signed onto your degrees. If it’s not the same, revisit them and find out more about yourselves. The best relationship you’ll have is the one with yourself.

Five Reasons to Become an IAHA Student Member

1. Student  Representative Committee

2. Online Mentoring Program

3. HealthFusion Team Challenge

4. Scholarships and Cadetships

5. Student Support


“Being on the SRC has been an awesome experience and one that has enabled me to work towards developing better support processes and outcomes for Indigenous students in allied health degrees.”
— Nathan Canuto


1. Student  Representative Committee

Do you want to build your governance skills?
Do you want to build your leadership skills?
Do you want to extend your learning experience?
Do you want to know more about how an Indigenous organisation works?

The Student Representative Committee (SRC) was established in 2014 to build a strong Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander allied health student network and value add to IAHA support. The SRC advises the IAHA Board of Directors on issues and strategies affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander allied health students. It’s a great way to gain experience and develop skills in leadership and governance, as well as affecting positive change within IAHA.

2. Online Mentoring Program

Would you like an experienced person to discuss your allied health or life journey with?

Then consider the IAHA Online Mentoring Program. The IAHA Online Mentoring Program is designed to empower you, the mentee, by providing a culturally safe and supportive relationship with an experienced mentor. By learning from and sharing experiences with your mentor, you will gain valuable skills and knowledge that support and guide you in your personal journey as a student and into the workforce as a graduate. 

3. HealthFusion Team Challenge

Do you want to grow your professional networks and make new friends from across Australia?

This annual event provides IAHA Student Members with a truly uniqe educational experience ­— the IAHA HealthFusion Team Challenge (HFTC) is an extra-curricular, immersive and fun interprofessional learning experience for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health students designed to educate the nation’s next generation of health care professionals in collaborative client care. The HFTC uses competition to motivate students in the health sciences to work together for improved patient outcomes.

4. Scholarships and Cadetships

Indigenous Allied Health Australia encourages all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are interested in a career in allied health to investigate the support options available to them. We keep a list of allied health-related scholarships and cadetships on our website ( under the ‘Allied Health Careers’ tab.

5. Student Support

The IAHA Secretariat is available to members for advice, guidance or just a yarn when you need it. We encourage all members to actively participate in building a strong and collaborative organisation.

Become an IAHA Student member today!
Phone: (02) 6285 1010

Click here to join the IAHA Student Network Facebook closed group exists to connect IAHA student members who are studying in health across Australia. Ask the group questions if you're needing information, study assistance or just to start a conversation. This group is a place to get together and support each other.

For Aboriginal leaders, the social and moral obligation that comes with community leadership is life-long. Those who lead, who have authority, must care for and look after those who come behind." — PATRICK DODSON

This Newsletter is brought to you by the IAHA Student Representative Committee (SRC). We value your feedback and input!! If you would like to contribute to the newsletter or would like to contact us for any other reason, please email us at
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