Indigenous elder Doseena Fergie has been awarded a prestigious Churchill Fellowship to further her research into Indigenous health.
Dr Fergie works in the School of Nursing and Midwifery and Paramedicine at the Australian Catholic University’s Melbourne campus.
She was among 106 Australians announced as recipients of a 2016 Churchill Fellowship.
The Fellowship provides an opportunity for recipients to travel overseas to conduct research in their chosen fields.
Dr Fergie will spend several weeks travelling to Finland, England, Canada, Hawaii and New Zealand next year where she will meet Indigenous elders, researchers, academics and health service providers.
“I hope to visit these Indigenous nations to find out the relationship between their intergenerational trauma through colonisation and culture and how they have managed to rejuvenate a sense of belonging and identity within their communities because we know the health disparities are just huge in all Indigenous Nations,” Dr Fergie said.
“I see a need to build relationships between the Indigenous communities I will visit and the Australian Indigenous community.
“We need to share our cultural ways and learn from each other and by doing so we can overcome the barriers of geographical isolation.”
Dr Fergie completed her PhD thesis on post-natal depression among Victorian Aboriginal women.
“If you have a passion for our own people and you’ve seen the needs out there, this passion should be expressed in a place of influence. I think academia is an important place for this work of advocacy,” she said.
Dr Fergie will be presented with her Churchill Fellowship at a ceremony at Government House in Melbourne in January.