Torres Strait Islander medical student T'Kido Titasey was awarded the 2023 Australian Medical Association Indigenous Medical Scholarship on Wednesday.
The scholarship, which has been running since 1994, provides $11,000 per year to Indigenous medical students for the remainder of their degree.
Mr Titasey said the scholarship alleviates pressure and will enable him to stay connected to family, further supporting his dreams of establishing a healthcare service and/or charitable foundation in the Torres Strait.
After starting his career as a registered nurse, Mr Titasey is now in his third year of study and showing an avid interest in cardiology, ophthalmology and rural generalism.before pursuing a medical degree with the University of Queensland.
Mr Titasey grew up on Thursday Island and witnessed firsthand the disparities that his community faced due to the lack of culturally appropriate healthcare. This experience made an impact and shaped the person he has become, who is determined to make a difference to his people and address inequities.
"As a child growing up on Thursday Island in the Torres Strait, the longstanding inequalities in access to culturally safe healthcare was normalised," he said.
"My drive is to go back to my community to address those health issues and hopefully make a difference.
"My grandmother had to leave the Torres Strait because she had a heart attack and required a quadruple bypass, and I could see the impact it had of taking someone like her, a notable figure, away from their community."
The scholarship was presented to Mr Titasey on Wednesday night in Brisbane, by AMA President Professor Steve Robson, who made headlines in August when the AMA signed an significant partnership with the Australian Indigenous Doctors Association (AIDA).
Professor Robson has previously told National Indigenous Times of his ancestral ties to the Torres Strait Islander community and of his childhood growing up in remote Queensland which has influenced a commitment to improving outcomes for First Nations people.
Presenting the scholarship on behalf of the AMA Professor Robson said: "I have been struck by T'kido's profound sense of community and desire to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples."
"To begin closing the gap in health outcomes for First Nations communities, it is vital to have Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples designing and delivering healthcare models that are culturally appropriate and accessible in all areas of the country," he said.
"Initiatives like the AMA Indigenous Medical Scholarship are so important to help grow the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce, which we hope will lead to improved equity and access, creating better health outcomes for their communities" he said.
The AMA are currently taking new applications and have announced that a second AMA Indigenous Medical Scholarship recipient will be announced in early 2024. Donations to support the scholarship can also be made via the AMA website.
For enquiries about the Scholarship, contact the AMA: phone 02 6270 5400, or email [email protected].
Mr Titasey joins the following current and former recipients of the scholarship
2023 - T'Kido Titasey and Kahile Lockyer
2022 - Malissa Hodgson and Cameron Howard
2021 – Destiny Kynuna
2020 - Lloyd Diggins
2019 - Nikki Kastellorizios
2018 - Pirpantji Rive-Nelson
2017 - James Chapman
2016 - Darren Hartnett
2015 - India Latimore
2014 - Wayne Ah-Sam
2013 - Ngaree Blow
2012 - Glenda Brown
2011 - Murray Haar
2010 - Karen Taylor
2009 - Terence Morich
2008 - Gemma Johnston
2007 - Sarah Dunn and Michelle Fraser
2006 - Felicity Chapman and Beth Kervin
2005 - Clare Patterson and Amy Rosser
2003 - David Hall and Sean White
2001 - David Nichols
1999 - Angela Jillamen
1998 - Clinton Smyth and Neil Wilmet
1997 - Gavin Williams and Kelvin Kong
1996 - Jacqueline Whap and Clare Patterson
1995 - Alex Brown and Marlene Kong