Equality in health care and opportunity

25 May 2020

As a Kaurna Aboriginal woman DRANZCOG Advanced Trainee Dr Danielle Dries is passionate about National Reconciliation Week and what it means for all Australians.

“For a very long time I have felt that as Australians we should be really proud of the fact that we have one of the oldest living cultures in the world, and so with this year’s National Reconciliation Week theme being In this together for me it means all of us coming together and celebrating what we have in Australia.

“As a health professional, it is all about everyone coming together and working together to improve health outcomes for my people and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, thereby improving health and wellbeing for everyone.

“Particularly in these times with the Coronavirus where we are more physically-distanced than ever, it is about making sure we’re innovative, we’re creative and that we continue to work together to support our communities, particularly those living with chronic disease. We know that at the moment there is a reduction of services being provided for those with chronic disease, and when we do go back to ‘normal’ there will be this lag in these services with prolonged impacts, so supporting allied health services and ensuring they remain available is critical.”

Dr Dries says it is also a time to remember that racism and discrimination has no place in society.

“Racism just never helps any situation and we should avoid it in our institutions, workplaces, schools – everywhere,” Dr Dries says. “We all should work on our self-awareness and know what our judgments are, what our attitudes are, what are our values, and then accept and learn that other people may have differing values and beliefs, we can then work together to support and build our communities.”

Passion for medicine, helping others

Dr Dries trained and worked as a physiotherapist before becoming a doctor. She is now training with the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) to become a rural generalist.

It was time spent in Yuendumu in Central Australia – three hours north-west of Alice Springs – during her medical training that inspired her to undertake the DRANZCOG Advanced.

“We had multiple pregnant women in the community, and I found there was a huge gap and barriers to accessing health care when needed, including maternity services,” Dr Dries says.

Currently based in Rockhampton, Dr Dries is clear about the impact she wants to have as a doctor.

“I went into medicine for two reasons: one, to be able to work predominantly in rural and remote locations. Two, to advocate for allied health services in remote communities [Dr Dries sits on the Board of Indigenous Allied Health Australia].

“GP Obstetrics can be taken anywhere. I am really flexible in where I work, but I want to be helping smaller communities.”

Pictures below: Dr Dries during her time in Yuendumu



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