UQ School of Medicine graduate and Queensland’s first Indigenous doctor Associate Professor Noel Hayman has been recognised for his work in Indigenous health and announced as Queensland’s Australian of the Year.
Associate Professor Hayman was part of the first wave of Indigenous medical graduates and has since paved the way in inspiring many more Indigenous doctors. Ever since graduating, he has been on a mission to improve the life expectancy of Indigenous Australians.
Associate Professor Hayman established and is now Clinical Director of the Inala Indigenous Health Service located 25 minutes from the Brisbane CBD, an area defined as low socio-economic, and with a high proportion of Indigenous people.
“It was there that I felt my combined life-experience and my qualifications could help make a difference. Indigenous health is my passion. It was all I ever wanted to do,” Associate Professor Hayman said.
Over the last decade he has helped increase the number of patients from 12 to 2,500, with Indigenous patients travelling from all over Brisbane to visit the centre. His work is making huge strides in improving the control of diabetes and immunisation rates.
He is also actively working to recruit and train much needed Indigenous doctors, as well as increasing the health community’s exposure to Indigenous health issues. The Inala Health Service has proven to be a great environment for teaching Indigenous health with the centre hosting medical students, advanced trainees in paediatrics and GP Registrars.
“Back when I was a medical student there were few Indigenous doctors and only a small number of black academic role models. In those days medical schools didn’t pay much attention to Indigenous health, but now I give lectures on Indigenous health to packed lecture theatres,” Associate Professor Hayman said.
“I love what I do. A career in Medicine is very fulfilling and I am so pleased it gives me an opportunity to care for my people and to influence Indigenous Health policy.”
The Queensland award recipients will join recipients from the other states and territories as finalists for the national awards. The national awards will be announced by The Honourable Julia Gillard, Prime Minister of Australia in Canberra on Jan. 25, 2011.
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