IAHA Student Stuff - April 2016
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Message from the SRC Chairperson

Hi everyone! I hope the beginning of your 2016 year at uni has been positive and you are kicking goals! It only seems like yesterday when I saw many of you at the 2015 IAHA HFTC!

I am a proud Kamilaroi woman, born and raised on Kooma country in St George Qld.  I have lived on Kabi Kabi country, in Maroochydore Qld for the past 9 years.  I am commencing my third year of Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of the Sunshine Coast in 2016 and have been accepted to undertake an embedded honours research project with the Institute of Urban Indigenous Health. 

I’m proud and delighted to be in the role of the 2016 Chairperson for the SRC.  Joining me on the SRC are Celeste Brand (Deputy Chairperson, Social Work), Lauren Hutchinson (Optometry), Kirrilaa Johnstone (Exercise Science), Will Kennedy (Mental Health), Zoe King (Speech Pathology), Mark Mann (Osteopathy) and Nellie Pollard-Wharton (Social work).  We had our first SRC meeting in Canberra in February this year.  Here we had the opportunity to learn about conflict resolution alongside IAHA’s board members.  This was a fantastic experience and the SRC received tremendous support and encouragement from the board.  We also had the wonderful opportunity to have a yarn with Dr Jackie Huggins and Mr Rod Little from the National Congress of Australia's First Peoples.  I’m thrilled to be part of such an incredible, supportive team who strive to use their collective unique skills and ensure you, our student members, have a representative, functioning, sustainable and influential voice at IAHA.  If you’d like to get to know your SRC a little better, please have a look at everyone’s bio here.

As your SRC we are here to support and encourage you, our valuable IAHA student members.  So please don’t hesitate to contact any of us at at any time. Also, we would love for you to send us your stories of achievement and accomplishment so we can share them with our IAHA family and celebrate them with you.

Also don’t forget about the IAHA mentoring program, contact the IAHA secretariat to learn more about it and how you can get involved. 

I’d like to wish you all a remarkable year, stay focused, go after your dreams and keep moving toward your goals.  Follow your passion, work hard, persevere, have faith and belief in yourself, we believe in you. We can’t wait to hear from you and celebrate your stories of success, triumph and insights.  We are right here beside you on your IAHA journey.  Please enjoy our first newsletter as your new SRC, we welcome any feedback.

SRC Chairperson

What it is like to be an IAHA Student Member for the first time

Article by Kirrilaa Johnstone

There is something completely amazing about not being ‘one of the only ones’ or ‘one of the few’ anymore. Most of us are one of the handful of Indigenous students that are studying our profession at each of our universities, so the feeling that comes when you receive your first correspondence from IAHA or walk into your first conference or forum and realise that you’ve got a new team of people to go to for advice and support is the biggest relief I have felt since beginning my degree.

The other students and professionals you meet will be some of the highest achieving and most intelligent Indigenous people you’ll come across during your lifetime. Some of them will have received awards and achieved marks or work that you never could have dreamt of for yourself. While this at first seems a little intimidating, you soon find that they are also the humblest, supportive and encouraging people you’ll ever have the pleasure to have in your support network. The intimidation turns to inspiration, and soon strangers turn into friends and family.

One of the best things about IAHA is how accessible support is. You’re never left in the lurch, and you have access to people that understand what it’s like to be in your situation, because sometimes it’s not necessarily the academic side of uni that causes stress, rather the subtle racism from other students or the lack of knowledge about Indigenous culture from those that are teaching it. Much like we’re taught that Indigenous health is holistic, IAHA appreciates that uni is a holistic experience. You aren’t just a student number anymore, because the IAHA staff most likely have a face to your name and have begun getting to know you.

2015 HFTC & IAHA National Conference Reflection

Article by Tracy Hardy

I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in the Health Team Fusion Challenge (HTFC) and attend the IAHA national conference last year.  The quality of speakers and workshops were excellent, the sponsored HTFC, welcome dinner, gala dinner and other activities provided an outstanding, culturally inspiring atmosphere for IAHA members and allied health professionals, to interact and get to know each other.

The HTFC and conference not only met, but also exceeded all of my expectations.  The amount and quality of information and knowledge that I gained will irrefutably support me during the rest of my degree and professional career.  Furthermore, the HTFC provided me with the valuable experience and insight into working within an allied health team environment, proposing a culturally sensitive, family and community collaborative, action plan on a hypothetical case, which is potentially often experienced within Indigenous communities.  These opportunities and practice case scenarios are often not availed to us as students during our degrees; therefore, this experience will be extremely helpful for future practice. The conference workshop presenters and facilitators really made a difference in my ability to comprehend the material.  They were always open to questions and ensured we gained the most from the workshops as possible.

Professionally and personally, I had the opportunity to meet wonderful, inspiring people of varying disciplines, who could be future colleagues and friends for life.  It was at the conference where I had the opportunity to connect with Alison from the Institute of Urban Indigenous Health during the conference, who I will now be working with for my embedded honours research project as part of my nutrition and dietetics degree, for this opportunity, I will be forever grateful.  Additionally, I had the opportunity to nominate for the Student Representative Committee for IAHA and I was both delighted and proud to receive the news that I was successful in that nomination and have since been elected as the SRC Chairperson.  I’m looking forward to continuing to grow as an individual and professional by participating in future HFTC’s.

Upcoming Caring For Kids - Our IAHA Student Ambassadors

Two SRC members have been given the opportunity to attend the Caring for Country Kids Conference. The conference aims to promote the work on 'quality healthcare for children and young people living in rural, regional and remote communities across Australia.'

On the 19th of April, we (Celeste and Nellie) will travel to Alice Springs to attend the conference where we will represent IAHA, support the conference organisation committee, assist in chairing concurrent session with our own Kylie Stothers, and network and listen to key papers and presentations.

More information about the conference can be found on their website

We are very excited and look forward to providing feedback about our journey in the next newsletter!

If you're attending the conference come and have a yarn with us!

Profession Reflection:

An insight into Speech Pathology by Zoe King. 

With Indigenous Allied Health Australia including over 20 different allied health professions under their banner there are endless realms to learn about. This month Speech Pathology will be the focus.

Many people do not know what a Speech and Language Pathologist (SLP’s) is, thinking we deal only with stutters, this however is one of many facets of my profession.  A Speech and Language Pathologist’s duty is to help any person, child or adult who has difficulties or disorders that are related to communication. 

This includes the production, use and understanding of both spoken and written language. Some of the main areas that SLP’s work with include; receptive (understanding) and expressive (using) language, speech production, including fluency and pronunciation of sounds, social rules and skills in communication as well as swallowing.

Across the lifespan, many different ages and populations will need speech and language intervention, as a result SLP’s work within many diverse settings and placements. Some of these placements include schools, kindergartens, Queensland health facilities such as clinics and hospitals, private practises and community health groups and organisations.

One such organisation is the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health (IUIH) – they work with many allied health professions in a number of settings including their clinics and outreach programs in schools. As a third year Speech and Language Pathology student I am currently on placement where one day a week is spent delivering our services in clinic at the Murri School. It is a kindergarten – grade 12 school that focuses not only on academic success of its students but cultural education as well. Each week myself and my occupational therapies partner work with IUIH to deliver speech and language and occupational therapy to the students of the Murri School. I am so blessed and lucky to be able to have this experience and will treasure it for the rest of my career.

Self-Care: Five Top Tips

We all know the pressures of balancing assessments, work and life commitments.  Elainah Coffin has generously shared her 'Journey to achieve Self-Care: FIVE Top Tips' with us which she presented last year at the Curtin Career Festival.  Elainah graduated from Curtin University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Social Work. Elainah has been involved with IAHA for two years, participated in two HealthFusion Team Challenges (member of runner up team in 2014, winning team in 2015 & HFTC 2015 Leadership Award winner) and attended the national conference in 2015.

  1. First the importance of awareness; awareness of you, awareness of your agenda (goals, aspirations), know what you want to get out of your career, know where it fits in with all your other goals unrelated to work, and lastly your awareness and knowledge of potential employers; what they do, how they do it and what your role is.
  2. The second having a sense of responsibility to being aware AND responsibility to communicate “you” and communicate your goals. This is important because you may need to communicate that you need certain support or that you aren’t being challenged OR in many cases feeling overwhelmed and need support.
  3. The next important thing after awareness and practising responsibility is to understand the importance of exercising good interpersonal communication skills. It is so important because to be able to articulate “you”, your needs and aspirations is to value your contribution and you also articulate this confidence and self-value to your employer and peers. Your success in this will mean a good reputation as a future professional and the comfort that you are always trying your best. In addition to this, these communication skills are important to relationship building - which is the fourth key area that I would like you to remember.
  4. Relationship building is the result of your awareness, exercising self-responsibility, and communication skills because no matter which agency or field you are in. It is all about people and what you need to master is people.  This includes ‘others’ but more importantly ‘you’ because it all starts with you. Have a good relationship with yourself, check in with yourself, make sure you eating good food, exercising, socialising, laughing, and be good to you. So it is about succeeding in your chosen career but that is not going to happen or be sustainable if you are not going to value and sustain the most ‘valuable’ asset you will ever have, that is ‘you’!
  5. The last tip is the idea of choice and control, the importance of knowing what you can control and actively CHOOSING to exercise this control in these areas. All it is, is a decision!

Study Tips

So, it’s a new uni year, are you looking to make the most of your study time and improve on your grades? We thought we’d share a few study tips that might help you achieve your study goals for 2016.

1. Set Study Goals
Setting and achieving goals, can not only improve your grades, they can increase your confidence and self-efficacy.  Ask yourself: Are the goals I’m setting realistic?  How hard will I need to work to achieve them?  The work out a study strategy based on your goals.

2. Make a Study Plan
We all know that time is valuable. By creating a study plan, you will optimise your time spent studying and you will gain a sense of achievement that you have spent your time wisely and that no time has been wasted.

3. Take Regular Study Breaks
Study breaks are super important for your mental and physical health.  Going for a walk for ½ hour will clear your mind, help you focus and boost your productivity.

4. Stay Positive
As Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you're right.”  A positive attitude will improve your study impact and effectiveness.  Thinking positively triggers the reward centres in your brain, leaving you feeling less anxious and open to more new ideas. 

Find a place to study that is quiet and with few distractions.  Everyone has their own, unique techniques that work for them, work out what works for you and develop a study strategy and watch yourself kick those goals.  If you have any tips that work for you, we’d love for you to send us your ideas on

IAHA Student Bursary


Applications are open for the IAHA Student Bursary. The bursary is intended to support participation of IAHA full student members experiencing financial hardship, by providing financial assistance through the provision of a $250 voucher for the purchase of textbooks.

For more information and to apply click here. 


Search over 750 scholarships available to Australian Indigenous Students for undergraduate study at Australian universities as well as postgraduate scholarships for study in Australia and overseas.

Student Membership

Do you know someone that is interested in becoming an IAHA student member? Do you to share what all the excitement is about? Are they passionate about allied health, enhancing their student experience and want to be a part of the IAHA family? You can send them to, click on ‘Get Involved’ where they can fill out their details by selecting ‘Join IAHA now’.

If they want to know more, they can also sign up to receive the IAHA newsletter or contact the office and have a yarn with our membership officer, Judy!

Have you Graduated? 

Have you recently graduated from your degree? This means your membership automatically rolls over to a Graduate membership. 

Please let us know so we can update our membership register, by contacting Judy Bell at the IAHA office on or give us a call on (02) 6285 1010

Important Dates and Events

7 April 2016 - World Health Day 2016: Diabetes

8 April 2016 - Applications close for APS Graduate Program 2017

17 - 19 April 2016 - Caring for country kids conference, Alice Springs, Northern Territory

26 April 2016 - Applications Close OXFAM Strait Talk, 26 - 30 June 2016, Canberra, ACT

26 April 2016 - Abstracts close for Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) 2016 Business and Leadership Conference, 26–28 August 2016 in Darwin

27 April 2016 - Abstracts close for SARRAH National Conference for Rural and Remote Allied Health Professionals, 27-29 October 2016 in Port Lincoln, SA.

30 April 2016 - Abstracts close for the 11th Allied Health Scientific Conference Malaysia 2016, 6-7 September 2016, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 

5 – 6 May 2016 - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Conference, Alice Springs NT

15-18 May 2016 - National Conference of Speech Pathology Australia in Perth, WA

Have we missed and important date or event? If so, please let us know so we can include it in the next newsletter.
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.

“If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time.
But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together" — Lila Watson, Aboriginal Academic, Visual Artist and Activist

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
Copyright © 2016 Indigenous Allied Health Australia, All rights reserved.
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