Elise O’Connor

Elise is a final year medical student from James Cook University. She is currently on placement in East Arnhem Land, Northern Territory. Prior to studying medicine Elise worked as a teacher’s assistant in a remote Aboriginal school. Here she learned of the significant inequities that exist in Australia and the effects these have on health. This prompted her to pursue a career in medicine to contribute to promoting the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The James Cook University medical program attracted her because of its focus on rural, remote and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s health. Since commencing her degree she has gained experience completing placements in rural and remote towns of Weipa and Sarina in Queensland, South Goulburn Island and Nhulunbuy in the Northern Territory and in her rural hometown of Warrnambool in Victoria. She has gained medical experience internationally in Singapore, India and the Palestinian Territories.

Elise has broadened her studies to include a Graduate Certificate in Yolngu Studies through which she is learning Yolngu language and culture, and is completing a Masters of Public Health. She believes the way forward for improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s health is through strong collaboration and listening to the needs of communities. Elise endeavours to embark on her career with a strong focus on health equity and social justice. She is very grateful for the opportunity to participate in the 2017 Advance mentoring program and hopes to learn more about working with communities and how to forge her own creative career path.