Jobs Events Advertise

Indigenous health pioneers working to overcome inequity

Rudi Maxwell -

As a child Kelvin Kong used to help his mum, a nurse, dress wounds and take out stitches and perform other medical procedures on extended family members who would drop in to their home.

When at high school, he realised his non-Indigenous friends would visit a doctor for the same reasons.

It was that early exposure to health care that inspired the Worimi man to study medicine.

Dr Kong, from the University of Newcastle's School of Medicine and Public Health, is now an otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat specialist) and head and neck surgeon.

"I'm extremely humbled to to be able to help communities and certainly when you look at the disparities in ear disease in our nation, it is appalling," he told AAP.

For his significant service to Indigenous health, Dr Kong is appointed a Member (AM) of the Order of Australia on Thursday.

"I see this as an opportunity to shed more light on the critical issues around our country between the haves and have-nots," he said.

"And I strongly believe that every child in this country, no matter who you are, no matter what your postcode, should have equal access to opportunity.

"Part of that opportunity is having access to making sure you can hear, making sure you get an education and making sure you can have dreams and be whatever you want to be."

Kamilaroi woman Gail Garvey is also appointed an AM for her service to Indigenous health.

Gail Garvey left teaching for cancer research after the death of a family member. (Image: HANDOUT/University of Queensland)

She began her career as a teacher but moved into cancer research after her sister-in-law died from undiagnosed cervical cancer, having been turned away from hospital on multiple occasions.

Her research with Aboriginal communities has meant not only closing the gap in how many Indigenous people actually access the national bowel cancer screening program, but also changed the way the preventative initiative is addressed in the broader community.

"We've been able to change the research agenda, now we can co-design research that we're doing with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people," she said.

"It's required leadership and I'm very fortunate that I've been able to do that supported by many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities and non-Indigenous colleagues as well."

Prof Garvey is a National Health and Medical Research Council leadership fellow and Indigenous health researcher at the University of Queensland.

The two professors have worked together researching cancer and both have a deep commitment to improving health equity for Indigenous people.

They are among a number of Australians named on the Honours List for their services to Indigenous communities.

13YARN 13 92 76

Aboriginal Counselling Services 0410 539 905

Rudi Maxwell - AAP

   Related   

Rolfe recorded 46 use-of-force incidents during stint
A Northern Territory police officer who shot dead an Indigenous teenager recorded 46 use-of-force incidents between 2016 and 201...
Neve Brissenden 23 Feb 2024
Man involved in Old Parliament House fire avoids prison
A man involved in a blaze at Old Parliament House that caused millions of dollars in damage has been sentenced to an 18-month su...
Ipswich State High rugby league girls excel in empowering event with Iron Traks
On Thursday, Year 11 and 12 Rugby League girls from Ipswich State High participated in a collaborative event by Iron Traks, Wome...
Joseph Guenzler 23 Feb 2024
Directions hearings continue ahead of inquest into 2021 death in custody of young mum
The latest directions hearings concerning a 30-year-old Yamatji, Noongar, Wongi and Pitjantjatjara woman who died in custody at...
Jarred Cross 23 Feb 2024

   Rudi Maxwell   

Partner sues prisons over Indigenous inmate's death
A woman is suing the NSW prison system and inmate healthcare service over the death in custody of her partner after a coroner fo...
Duncan Murray 15 Feb 2024
Uluru resort could hit the market as owners mull sale
The Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation is exploring options for the Ayers Rock Resort, the only place for tourists to stay when...
Rudi Maxwell 15 Feb 2024
Darlington set for National Indigenous Cricket Championships return
Australian international Hannah Darlington is set to return to the National Indigenous Cricket Championships after being selecte...
Callan Morse 15 Feb 2024
Tasmania to field youthful men’s squad at National Indigenous Cricket Championships
Tasmania has announced a youthful men’s squad for this year’s National Indigenous Cricket Championships, the tournament set to t...
Callan Morse 15 Feb 2024