New Ngalla Bidi Bursary Fund launched to Empower Western Australian Indigenous Medical Students through Connection with Culture

The Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia has launched a new bursary to empower Western Australian Indigenous medical students through connection with culture.

The Ngalla Bidi Bursary Fund was launched this month by The Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia as part of its work to increase the number of Aboriginal doctors delivering healthcare to Aboriginal people in the state.

The Bursary aims to send 40 Aboriginal medical students to the Pacific Region Indigenous Doctors Congress in Adelaide this December.

This Indigenous-led space fosters knowledge sharing, mentorship and community for Aboriginal medical students, and seeks to increase culturally safe healthcare for Aboriginal people in Western Australia.

AHCWA’s PRIDoC Bursaries Program Coordinator Keisha Calyun said the benefit that attending PRIDoC had for Aboriginal medical students rippled into benefits for Aboriginal patients and communities.

“It can get hard throughout the year at university- especially being one of a handful of Indigenous students; but PRIDoC completely recharged my spirit and reassured me that I will get through medical school,” she said.

“PRIDoC reaffirmed to me what makes Indigenous doctors different and that my Aboriginality is my strength.”

AHCWA Chair Vicki O’Donnell OAM said the Bursary offered recipients a life-changing opportunity to attend PRIDoC and embrace global Aboriginal cultures and the spirit of connection, form lifelong friendships, and empower each other through shared learning and experiences of Aboriginal medicine.

“Statistics reveal a scarcity of Aborignial doctors, with fewer than 600 practising nationwide and 4000 Aboriginal doctors required to reach population parity,” Ms O’Donnell said.

“PRIDoC provides a supportive space for the Indigenous faculty to unite, foster community and develop skills to navigate an academic career successfully. We hope this will improve care and outcomes and ultimately increase culturally safe health care for Aboriginal people in Western Australia,” she said.

Your donation to the Ngalla Bidi Bursary Fund will give more Western Australian Aboriginal medical students the opportunity to experience PRIDoC.

Donations are being accepted until 30 September 2024, and bursaries will be awarded in October 2024. All donations can be made at