Doctor reflects on the women who inspire her
THE Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service was keen to highlight the leadership role Indigenous women play within the organisation during NAIDOC Week.
South Burnett born doctor, Linda Stewart, works as junior house officer for the Toowoomba Hospital.
Now in her second year out of medical school, Dr Stewart hopes to inspire other young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to achieve their best, whether that's graduating from high school, going to university, completing a degree or another qualification.
"I did well at school and medicine was a pathway that I was interested in,” she said.
It was her family who inspired her to follow a career in medicine after she grew up seeing firsthand the effects of chronic disease on a family unit and community.
For Dr Stewart, maintaining her culture is important and she regularly returns home to the South Burnett to visit family in Wondai and Cherbourg.
Dr Stewart is sharing her story as part of the Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service's NAIDOC celebrations.
Events were held in 23 locations across the Darling Downs, Western Queensland and the South Burnett from July 4-20.
The 2018 NAIDOC theme is "Because of Her, We Can”.
"Women play an important role in teaching the youth and passing on the traditions,” Dr Stewart said.
"For that reason, this year's NAIDOC theme resonates with me. I'm extremely close with my mother and aunties.”
Dr Stewart hopes, as her career progresses, to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people more directly to help improve health outcomes and to work towards closing the gap. DDHHS Executive Director of Medical Services Dr Martin Byrne said more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women than ever before were working in DDHHS hospitals, aged-care facilities, and in corporate or support roles.
"The aim of the NAIDOC Week events is to encourage community members to visit their local hospital or health service, breaking down the barriers which may ordinarily stop them from accessing health services in their time of need,” he said.
"This year's theme has also allowed the health service to celebrate some extraordinary women who work for us and are making a positive difference to the health and well-being of their communities.”
NAIDOC Week celebrations are held across Australia each July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.