Aspiring doctor paves way for greater representation

The following story was first published by the Koori Mail (opens in a new window).

Gomeroi-Ngarabul man and trainee doctor, Shayne Miller, recently delivered his first baby at Campbelltown Hospital.

“It was an amazing experience there’s a lot we can learn from birthing women: tenacity, courage, strength, comfortability in one’s own limits, the list goes on.”

When he’s not bringing a new life into the world, Shayne is also nurturing Indigenous representation in health care. The 22-year-old is happily into his fourth year of a medicine degree – and he’s calling for others to join him.

“We’re all capable of whatever we set our minds to; after all, we’ve got 60,000 plus years of ancestors cheering us on.”

“When I was in high school, I read a story of a young medical student who was Indigenous. Little did I know that young man lived near me and had a similar story. I thought, if he can do it, I can do it. Here we are a few years later, he’s studying to be a dermatologist and I’m coming close to completing medical school.”

Shayne grew up in a single-parent household in Aboriginal Housing and says the experience, although challenging, grounded him in the real world.

“I know what it’s like to struggle and to see those closest to you struggle. My background has given me a huge amount of determination to create a better future for myself, my family and our community.”

Attending Liverpool Boys High School in South Western Sydney, Shayne studied hard and was the first Aboriginal Captain at the school. His interest in physical education and science led him to enrol in a ‘first aid to medicine’ program.

“Finding this course was a complete game-changer for me. I realised it was possible to go on to further education. So I did alternative entry testing for nursing while I was doing my HSC, and I also sat the Undergraduate Medicine and Health Sciences Admission Test.”

Shayne was offered an interview for the Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery at Western Sydney University. After sitting the interview, he received a phone call from the panel that same afternoon.

“When I got the call I was driving home from being out with a friend and I remember being speechless and thankful. There were shouts of pure joy, a flood of congratulations and many tears. I’ll never forget the smile on my mum’s face.”

Shayne says the work of many, including the Australian Indigenous Doctors Association, is helping increase Indigenous participation in the health care profession but more can be done. He believes increasing representation is one important way to address poor Indigenous health outcomes across the country.

“I believe increasing representation will drastically lift health outcomes by increasing belief and motivation among our people.”

“I’m advocating for a future where it’s not uncommon to be treated by an Indigenous health care professional – be it a doctor, nurse, pathologist, radiologist, physiotherapist, occupational therapist or psychologist.”

Shayne also says spiritual healing and staying connected to the Dreaming are vital for Indigenous wellbeing.

“The Dreaming is a constant state, we are continuously connected to our dreaming and each of us is at a different point in our journey. We must not lose sight of that and who we are. The Dhinawan (Emu) dreaming of the Gomeroi and the Boorabee (Koala) dreaming of the Ngarabul carry me through my life.”


26 May 2020

Media Unit