Jewish College Aboriginal resident becomes a doctor

December 21, 2011 by  
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Dr Josef McDonald, a member of the Awabakal tribe, graduated from the University of NSW as a doctor the 16th December…the 3rd graduate of the Shalom Gamarada Scholarship Program.

Dr Hilton Immerman and Dr Josef McDonald pic: Shirli Kirschner

In January, he commences his internship in Newcastle with the Hunter New England Health Service, which includes service provision to a sizable Aboriginal population.
The program began with one student in 2005.  In 2011, there were 22 Indigenous students living in Shalom College on the scholarship.  In 2009, Beth Kervin, who works at Liverpool Hospital, became its first graduate. Jenna Owen, from Dubbo, graduated with first class honours as an Optometrist in 2010 and now works in Port Macquarie.
Since McDonald is from the Newcastle area, to be able to study Medicine at UNSW, he needed accommodation in Sydney.  As he and his family could not afford this, he was faced with the likelihood of dropping out of university.  He was than granted a scholarship to reside at Shalom College.
When in the 4th year of his studies, “Macca,” the recipient of the Sabina Ross Slater Memorial Medical Scholarship, said:
“Receiving the Shalom Gamarada Scholarship was a life-changing experience for me.  Apart from the advantages it offers my studies, another great benefit of the program is that it offers a racism-free environment in which Indigenous students can live and discuss Indigenous issues and what it means to be Indigenous.  I basically owe everything to the Shalom Gamarada Scholarship.  Without it, it would be impossible for me to study medicine as there is no way my family could afford for me to live in Sydney.”
As part of his studies, he completed rural terms working in hospitals in Wilcannia and Broken Hill and an 8 week term in Psychiatry at Sutherland Hospital.  He conducted research into Indigenous empowerment which involved men exercising better control over their health.
He served as the Shalom College Medicine Tutor-in Residence in 2010 and 2011.

Shalom College is run by the Shalom Institute. As well us running programs on extra-curriculum studies, this Jewish organisation runs a program which offers residency for Aboriginal students studying medicine at the University of New South Wales.


2 Responses to “Jewish College Aboriginal resident becomes a doctor”
  1. I value the article post. Really Great.

  2. Norman Trubik says:

    This is great news. Congratulations to Dr McDonald and Shalom College.

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