IAHA Student Stuff - April 2017
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This edition of the IAHA Student Stuff has been brought to you by the 2017 IAHA Student Representative Committee (SRC). Find out more about your SRC here.
In this Issue
SRC Chairperson Message | Members in Action | Insight into Dentistry | Insight into Exercise Science | Postcards from Members | Yarns with the IAHA Board | HFTC 2016 Reflections | Avoiding Burnout | SRC Experiences | Quote | Mentoring Program | IAHA Sale: Hoodies |

Message from the SRC Chairperson

Welcome to 2017! The fact that we are already a few months in is low-key terrifying so please bear with me while I write this in the foetal position from the corner of the second floor at the University of Wollongong library.

I know some of you may be recovering from the shock that my name isn’t actually Keeks (yes, I’m a fraud), ​
it is in fact Kirrilaa; a name that has provided me the opportunity to test out many different café and boost juice names over my uni life (thanks Mum & Dad).I’m a Ngiyampaa-Barkindji woman that was born in Broken Hill – my fave place on this earth, I grew up in Canberra and for the past 3 years have lived in Wollongong studying Exercise Science. This year I’ve decided to transfer into a Public Health degree majoring in Indigenous Health because fortunately I think I’ve finally found my ‘thing’. Another fun fact about me is that for 2017 I am the person lucky enough to be the Chairperson of the IAHA SRC. This is something I’m 10/10 excited for, but honestly my excitement for 2017 mainly stems from the fact that I get to spend this year working with eight of the coolest people I’ve ever met.
So let me introduce to you, your 2017 IAHA SRC members: Nicola Barker (my right hand chick and SRC Deputy Chairperson – Social Work, ACU), Kate Thompson (Social Work, UQ), Jed Fraser (Exercise and Movement Science, QUT), Tracy Hardy (Student Board Director - Nutrition & Dietetics, USC), Troy Crowther (Mental Health, CSU), Zoe King (Speech Pathology, QT), Lauren Hutchinson (Optometry, QUT) & Will Kennedy (Mental Health, CSU), such a rad A team (don’t worry, as far as I’m aware those are their real names). Each of them brings something different to the team and I have no doubt that the content they produce and the way they represent IAHA this year will be both entertaining and flawless, simply because they are some of the smartest and funniest people I’ve come across. While I’m giving a few shout-outs, I’d really like to recognise the efforts of the SRC last year, in particular, the efforts of Mark Mann, Nellie Pollard-Wharton and Celeste Brand who are moving onto bigger and better things this year but still find the time to be actively involved in IAHA, you guys really are #lifegoals at the moment.

2017 is bound to be a big year for all of us, so I really urge you to get involved with IAHA. We can only provide you with as much assistance as you ask for but have so much to give. Be sure to check out our Student Bursaries, Mentoring Program & new RFDS Scholarships for Rural and Remote placements. In addition to the awesome things just mentioned, we also have our biennial conference in Perth this year, this includes our annual HealthFusion Team Challenge which I know all your horoscopes have said you should be involved in (of course I’m kidding, they didn’t; but you should). The opportunities with IAHA will support you to grow both personally and as a professional, so take chance, put your hands up and give it a go. 

On behalf of the 2017 IAHA SRC, I’d like to wish you all a fab year at uni, whether it’s your first, last or somewhere in-between.

Kirrilaa (Keeks or as the man at Espresso Warriors thinks, Jordan) Johnstone

2017 IAHA SRC Chairperson

Members in Action - University of the Sunshine Coast

Thank you to our student members Jenna Perry & Justin Chilly for representing IAHA at the University of the Sunshine Coast’s O-week festivities. Jenna is one of our newest members (studying Nutrition/Dietetics at University of the Sunshine Coast), was excited to represent IAHA at the University’s O-week festivities & shared with us her thoughts on the experience.

What could you do at your Uni as an IAHA Champion? Contact Judy Bell at or (02) 6285 1010

Insight into Dentistry - Gari Watson

Studied at: James Cook University (Cairns campus)
Current student or graduate: Graduate
Current employment: Royal Flying Doctor Service - Queensland Section
What do you do in your profession:
In my job as a dentist I work in rural, remote and Indigenous communities across Central Queensland and Western Queensland. My roles whilst in these communities is to provide comprehensive oral health treatment, emergency treatments and preventative dentistry. Treatments include fillings, root canal treatments, extractions, scale and cleans, oral cancer screening and in-depth oral health promotion. Read more...

An Insight into Exercise Science - Jed Fraser

IAHA covers a vast range of allied health professions from dentistry to podiatry. Let's explore the unique discipline of exercise science.
When most people think about exercise science, they think of personal trainers, high-performance coaching and strength and conditioners for athletes.  Moreover, the common misconception of exercise scientists is that they studied to become overqualified personal trainers, whom people associate as just massive ‘gym junkies’. Yes, they may like working out, and working with athletes is one area of exercise science, however, there are many other facets that not many people are aware of, especially in careers in allied health. Read more...

Postcard from Members

Yabun 2017 

Nellie Pollard-Wharton (Social Work, UNSW) organised to hold an IAHA stall at the Yabun Festival 2017. "It was an awesome day at Yabun today! Met some great people! Gave out all our IAHA gear by lunch time! Thanks so much to those that helped out Tiarnee Schafer (Psychology and Business, Griffith University), William Kennedy (Mental Health, CSU, Wagga), Nicola Barker (Social Work, ACU, Canberra), Gabriel Kasmero Oth (Exercise Science, CDU, Darwin) & Cohen (Graduate O.T member). Special shout out to the kids for doing so much on such a long day!" said Nellie. 

SRC Initial Meeting 2017

The newly appointed SRC of 2017 met in Canberra in February to attend professional development with the IAHA Board as well as set targets for the year. Students of the SRC received student bursaries sponsored by the Rotary Club of Canberra and IAHA and independent sponsors. They would like to remind students that IAHA offers student bursaries to financially assist students with costs of textbooks, there are 10 available each semester and applications only close once they are all allocated or semester ends - check them out here! 

Yarns with the IAHA Board

Matthew West (Board Member & Podiatrist)

Why do you love IAHA?
I went through uni as the only Aboriginal person in the degree and I felt quite isolated. It wasn't until I attended the IAHA HFTC in 2013 when I realised it felt like all this time I had been holding my breath and IAHA gave me the opportunity to exhale and be myself. 

I was provided with the opportunity to network and speak to like minded people. I was in a safe environment with people of similar experiences and backgrounds. IAHA values the creation of opportunities for students and it was through these opportunities I could operate in my profession comfortably as myself.

Fun fact / embarrassing moment?
75-85 % of the time I have a handkerchief on me. Why? When I was young I went to the beach, had a great day, then as we were leaving I sneezed. It was horrible. There was a French tourist in front of me, the wind was strong, and as you'd imagine, snot went flying and landed on the back of the tourist. My father was apologising profusely to the tourist, then he rushed me up the beach, held onto my shoulders and said "from this day on you will always have a handkerchief" and there you go.

How did you get in Podiatry?
"I got into this because my nan on my dad's side. She was very sick at the time, and had some foot problems. Coincidentally I had an ingrown toenail and was visiting a podiatrist. I spoke to the podiatrist about what my nan was going through, and they spoke to me about what may happen to my nan. I then asked more questions about the profession and this is where my interest for podiatry was sparked. I went home after the appointment and researched it to find out more. I then decided to study podiatry.”

Patricia Councillor (Board Member & Health Science - Mental Health) 

Journey into allied health:
Accidently while working my way through the health system and red tape to get help for my daughter , all my research into dual diagnosis for adults with Intellectual incapacity and mental illness became a full time job for me, then leading to completing my degree in Mental Health.
Favourite thing about being a part of IAHA: Catching up with the other members/students/staff and Directors - We are a family
A fun fact about you (that people might not know): I met Channing Tatum while on holiday in California in 2015
If you could be a superhero what one would you be OR what superpower would you like to have: The power to heal.
Quote you live life by: Life’s a dance you learn as you go, sometimes you lead sometimes you follow, don’t worry bout what you don’t know, life’s a dance you learn as you go. (John Michael Montgomery)

Reflections of the HealthFusion Team Challenge 2016

Zoe King

In 2016 I was a 3rd year speech pathology student from The University of Queensland and I was fortunate enough to travel to Canberra to compete in my second annual HealthFusion Team Challenge (HFTC) with IAHA. The case we were given was a culturally and clinically complex case that required input from many professions, some of which were on my team but others who were not. The case was very relevant to me as it included lots of communication and swallowing difficulties for the patient, which enabled myself to feel at home and showcase my knowledge while creating an action plan with my peers.    I was lucky enough to be in a diverse team including occupational therapists, physiotherapists, psychologists and others crucial to the cultural and clinical treatment of the patient. Although we were not finalists in the 2016 HFTC I know we all learnt invaluable skills in team building and problem-solving by participating in the challenge. An amazing experience to build interdisciplinary practices in a culturally safe way and to make professional connections for the future.

Nicola Barker 

The 2016 IAHA HFTC was my first and certainly won’t be my last. I am in my 3rd year of Social Work at ACU Canberra. This activity was a great and exciting opportunity to meet many students from all over the country as well as from a grand range of disciplines. It was stimulating been given a case study and seeing each team member nominate what part their profession would play in ensuring our patient and their family would receive the best care whilst in hospital, upon returning home and future care. I learnt a lot about the roles of what profession plays in cases such as ours.    To be honest for some of the allied health professions I really had either limited or no knowledge of what that discipline did or what role they would carry out with this patient. This exercise expanded my thinking and definitely changed how I will refer clients for important allied health services.
I can not share how significant enough working with multidisciplinary health professionals are to ensure our patients receive the best care physically, emotionally and spiritually. This experience with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander brothers and sisters soon to be graduated health professions was incredible. 

Tiarnee Schafer 

During the HFTC, held in Canberra in 2016 I was studying psychology and business at Griffith University and attended as a psychology student. I really enjoyed my time at HFTC as I got to network with other like-minded Indigenous students and learn a lot more about different areas within the allied health area. It’s not only a great way to practice public speaking but also a great tool to know the process other health professionals go through to get the best possible result for Aboriginal patients and families. I really enjoyed working with the other students and hearing and asking questions to the professional mentors that are already out there working in the allied health area. Don’t be shy, make sure you really go out there and get to know other students and the mentors, you never know when your paths might cross again. 

Ian Lee:

At the end of 2016, as the Student Director of AIDA’s (Australian Indigenous Doctors Association) SRC, I was scheduled to attend the 2016 PRIDoC conference in Auckland NZ.  But due to circumstances beyond my control, I was not able to attend but instead, I was able to attend IAHA’s HFTC in Canberra. I had no idea what was going to happen.  I had no knowledge of the challenge and very little knowledge of IAHA as an organisation. The weekend began with me arriving at the hotel looking to see if I could see anyone that might be attending the conference.  

From the first day of just icebreaker after icebreaker, I knew it was going to be a good few days.  The ice breakers and team building exercises all started before we were even allocated to our team or even told what we were going to do.  As the only medical student I also felt very out of place but at the same time welcomed by all the Indigenous students in the room.

My team was made up of medical imaging - Amy, mental health - Will, exercise science - Keeks, health science - Jade. Our team name was PINK (Professional Indigenous Networking Knowledge). I was so impressed with the experience of the HealthFusion Team Challenge (and not just because we were the winning team) I proposed that AIDA sponsor 4 of their Indigenous student members to attend the HFTC. I believe Indigenous medical students that participate in the IAHA's HFTC will be better doctors. 

Avoiding the Burnout - Will Kennedy

When you hear the word burnout most people think of many things entirely different to actual burnout of an individual. I remember as a boy dreaming of one day owning a car and doing a burnout just like my dad and mum would sometimes do in the car park leaving footy. As a student working and studying in health or more specifically Allied Health all I remember from my first week of uni lectures was them harping on about self-care and burning out way before your planned use by date or intentions to retire, change fields or change careers. It is said that the average lifespan of an Aboriginal health Worker is 2 years and this I struggled to comprehend as I was full of passion and there was no way I was leaving after only two years. Read more...

My IAHA SRC Experience thus far…

Kate Thompson

When I received an email from IAHA notifying me that I had been successful in gaining a position on the SRC I was both surprised and humbled. In February, I travelled to Canberra to attend leadership training and the first SRC meeting for the year.

Over the two days, SRC students were provided with the opportunity to meet the board members, build relationships with fellow student committee members, and develop goals around what we as the SRC, and as individuals, want to achieve for the year. Although I have only been an SRC member since the beginning of this year, I have been much more involved with the IAHA community, and I am forever grateful that I have received this opportunity. On Thursday 16th March, I had the opportunity to represent IAHA at a Close the Gap day event hosted at the University of Queensland (UQ) by fellow UQ students. This opportunity allowed for me to raise awareness of Close the Gap and IAHA’s involvement to the students and staff members of UQ. If you are interested in participating in similar events throughout the year, I encourage you to chat to IAHA SRC members or staff members to gain more information on how to do so.

Kirrilaa and Nicola: Close the Gap IAHA Event

On Friday the 17th of March we stood proudly to represent IAHA in joining Allied Health Professionals Australia (AHPA) and its members to recommit to our Allied Health Statement of Intent. We were lucky enough to be given the opportunity to speak on what Close the Gap means for us and the realities of being Indigenous allied health students and future professionals.
This experience for us was an incredible professional development opportunity in terms of networking and really putting ourselves out there, but also was an exciting moment for us as it was the first that have had a moment stand together as Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of the IAHA SRC and do our best to represent you all. The statement of intent means that once we are graduated and working in our professions that our peak bodies hold closing the gap as a priority and are willing to support their members to work together with the aim of making progress. For us, as Indigenous allied health professionals, it means we have a mainstream organisation in our corner that has our back and understands the value of our cultural knowledge and lived experiences. #closethegap

Quote of the day
Not everything that is faced can be changed; but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” - James Baldwin (As Much Truth As One Can Bear, New York Times)

Get involved in the IAHA Student Mentoring Program

‘I’m glad I finally made the step to sign up to IAHA’s Mentoring Program. I’ve had a mentor for a few months now and I’ve found it very helpful. We planned our engagement about what suits us both. I really enjoy being able to bounce ideas of one another and to debrief about cultural issues, it’s really helped me.’  - Celeste Brand

Several SRC members have signed up to IAHA’s Mentoring Program. We’ve found it to be a positive and unique experience!
IAHA’s mentoring program provides mentors and mentees an opportunity to share and develop together. It also contributes to ongoing professional development for IAHA members. IAHA’s Mentoring Program is flexible, and is a great opportunity to develop your knowledge and skills, including cultural responsiveness and responsibility.
If you are unsure who you want as a mentor, the IAHA secretariat aims to match you with someone based on what you want to get out of the mentoring relationship.
For more information about IAHA’s Mentoring Program OR to request a mentor, call Judy Bell on 02 6285 1010.

Join Our Student Facebook Group

Search for the IAHA Student Network group on Facebook. This closed Facebook group is for IAHA student members to connect, support each other and share information that will assist them in their student/professional journeys. 

SALE: IAHA Hoodies only $20!

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