Medicines Australia helps Young Indigenous Australian reach her dream of becoming a Doctor

Laura Fitzgerald, one of four indigenous medical students sponsored by Medicines Australia through the Shalom Gamarada Ngiyani Yana Residential scholarship program, has reached a significant milestone today – graduating after completing her final year of medicine at the University of New South Wales.

After six years of studying Ms Fitzgerald said it has been a challenging yet a thoroughly rewarding experience.

“It would not have been possible to achieve my goal without the help of my family and the support I received from Medicines Australia and the Shalom College.”

“Without the scholarship I would not have been able to live on campus and would have struggled to complete my studies” Ms Fitzgerald said.

Since 2010, Medicines Australia has committed more than $300,000 over five years to the scholarship program under the auspices of the Special Purpose Fund. Since the Fund’s establishment in 2009, Medicines Australia has contributed more than $1.72m to indigenous health initiatives.

The scholarship program gave Ms Fitzgerald the opportunity to enrich her studies, such as working at the Purple House in Alice Springs, an organisation Medicines Australia supports through the Purple Truck initiative – a mobile renal dialysis unit for remote communities. This experience further cemented her passion to help close the gap for her community and other communities around Australia.

Medicines Australia Chairman, Dr Martin Cross, said Medicines Australia is committed to supporting initiatives that will make a practical difference.

“Medicines Australia commends Laura on her significant milestone. It’s a great accomplishment after years of study, dedication and hard work. We are delighted to have helped in some small way,” Dr Cross said.

“It’s great to see scholarships like this support talented young indigenous Australians to reach their goals and we hope to see many more young people follow in Laura’s footsteps.”

Ms Fitzgerald said, “I look forward to completing my training and working with other health professionals, both indigenous and non-indigenous Australia, to help close the gap on indigenous disadvantage.”

“I hope more indigenous students have the same opportunities I did, to follow their dreams and have access to programs like Shalom Gamarada which changed my life.”

Medicines Australia CEO, Tim James, said contributions towards inspiring programs that support young Australians make a huge difference, not just to the individuals but for whole communities to get behind their talented youth and support them to achieve their best.

Next year Ms Fitzgerald will be completing her internship at St George Hospital in Sydney. She hopes to complete her training and specialise as a GP, working in various areas of medicine in Australia.

Background information about Laura Fitzgerald:

  • Laura grew up in Canberra, but her family comes from Muruwari country in Northern NSW and Southern QLD.
  • In 2011, Laura completed her ILP (Individual Learning Project), which looked at current follow-up practices for trauma patients and their outcomes with the aim of setting up a follow-up clinic for trauma patients at St George Hospital, in Sydney.
  • In 2013, Laura received the Nura Gili Excellence in Medicine Award
  • In 2014, she received the Nura Gili Burbuga Birrung (Rising Star) Award for her involvement with Nura Gili, academic progress and encouragement of other students. She was nominated by her peers for the UNSW Indigenous students for this award, an acknowledgement she was honoured to receive.


Contact Person:

Alexia Vlahos
Phone: (02) 6122 8503