Inspirational Aboriginal medical student receives Rural Health Bursary

Danielle Dries receiving her award
28 October 2016

An inspiring final year Aboriginal medical student from the Australian National University is the recipient of the MDA National and Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) Rural Health Bursary for 2016.

Danielle Dries was announced as the Bursary recipient at the awards dinner for the annual Rural Medicine Australia conference, held at Old Parliament House in Canberra on the 21st of October.

Danielle will use the Bursary funding of $7000 to analyse how Indigenous health can be increased and enhanced as a key subject in Australia's medical and other health degrees, as well as ways to boost student learning in cross-cultural communication so as to optimise clinical relationships with Indigenous patients.

The Bursary has been generously provided for a second year by MDA National as part of its ongoing partnership with RDAA.

The Australian Indigenous Doctors' Association (AIDA) continues to actively support the initiative and jointly selected the successful recipient with RDAA and MDA National.

"We are absolutely delighted to be providing this important national Bursary to such an inspiring future doctor" RDAA Presiding President, Dr Ewen McPhee said.

"Danielle is already a respected leader and high-achiever in the rural health sector, and she is passionate about boosting the focus on Indigenous health and cross-cultural awareness in medical and other health studies.

"For the past three years, she has also been heavily involved in the ANU Rural Medical Society's Close The Gap event, which has grown from being a one day event to a significant conference.

"She has been an active Close the Gap Ambassador, worked hard to organise cultural experiences for her medical student peers, has been a speaker at the Future Health Leaders Indigenous Health Forum, and has been the Indigenous representative for the ANU's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee.

"Danielle is a recipient of the International Women's Day Award (from the ANU postgraduate & research students' association) and in 2014 received the Allied Health Inspiration Award from Indigenous Allied Health Australia."

Danielle Dries said: "I have two main goals - one is to increase the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce, and the other to ensure that all Australian health graduates are culturally responsive practitioners.

"We need to improve awareness in the healthcare sector around the diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and I have continued to advocate for this through numerous avenues, including by presenting to the Federal Department of Health, organising cultural experiences for my fellow health students, and by having the small conversations, which are very important, with colleagues.

"I also have an active involvement in rural high school workshops, particularly for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, which promote an interest in healthy lifestyles and encourage them to consider healthcare as a career.

"I am delighted to receive this important Bursary, and look forward to using it to further my passion of improving the focus on Indigenous healthcare and cross-cultural communication in medicine and other health studies to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health outcomes."

The full article is available on the Rural Doctors Association of Australia website: