25 August 2020

National Study Grant Recipient Announced

Congratulations to third year Murdoch University student Sariah Oui, announced as the ACA’s National Study Grant Recipient for 2020, for dedication to chiropractic and her community.

The National Study Grant Scheme is available to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people who are studying a chiropractic degree in Australia. This ACA initiative is in partnership with Indigenous Allied Health Australia (IAHA) and is designed to encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students studying chiropractic to complete their studies and join the allied health profession.

Even though very deserving as the recipient of the National Study Grant Scheme, Sariah was very surprised to have been announced as such, only applying for the scheme on a whim after receiving an email from the university. After losing one of her two jobs due to the impacts of COIVD-19, as well as supporting her family by helping to care for her three younger siblings, the support of this scheme will no doubt have a great impact on Sariah and her studies.

“I didn’t realise going into it how intense the chiropractic degree is. There is so much you have to learn from the theory to lots of practicals, so having that financial support has already been such a benefit to me in reducing some pressure and being able to completely focus on my studies.”

Sariah comes from a Torres Strait Islander background and is not aware of any other Indigenous person studying chiropractic, thus feels an extra sense of determination to complete her studies and begin to give back to her community. She hopes by completing her studies and working in her community she will help encourage other Indigenous people to not only seek out healthcare but to study it as well.

“I think it’s very important that we continue to have incentives, like this Scheme, available for future students to give them the opportunities that I have been able to benefit from and help continue the cycle of education for the next generation of Indigenous people.”

With a passion for both healthcare and giving back, she is committed to being an active member of her community and even has the long term aspiration to start up a government-funded mobile chiropractic care service for Indigenous communities and those in lower socioeconomic areas in WA; to be able to easily access care without the financial burden that healthcare can sometimes demand.

“It’s definitely hard for some people to get access to healthcare, so I would love to provide a service that is both easy to access and affordable. I believe having this service set up for them would have such a great impact. I would also like to work in Indigenous specific healthcare centres like Derbarl Yerrigan and work towards having more of those facilities in WA.”

Already experiencing the benefits of this scheme, Sariah is grateful for the sense of relief that this has provided her financially and believes that she is indeed on the right path. She also wishes to encourage other students from Indigenous backgrounds to take advantage of these opportunities.

“Apply for this scholarship and for all the things that you have been given an opportunity to apply for, because it has already been beneficial in my life. It’s really hard to study something you’re passionate about but cannot put your full effort into [due to the varying demands of life], so having the opportunity to apply and receive this scholarship will help you focus on being the best you can be.”

With determination to make a difference and the drive to do so, there is no doubt that Sariah will not only make her community proud but also the profession, as she is a great example of what it means to give back and live to serve through healthcare.