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Destiny Kynuna awarded AMA Indigenous Medical Scholarship

A medical student who has seen ‘too many funerals’ and the devastating impact of intergenerational trauma in her community is the recipient of the 2021 AMA Indigenous Medical Scholarship, as applications for the 2022 scholarship open.

Destiny Kynuna is a proud Koko-bera and Wunumara woman who grew up in Yarrabah Aboriginal community, 50 kms east of Cairns.

Initially believing studying medicine was beyond her reach, Destiny went into nursing, with the goal of easing the burden of kidney disease in her community. She is now half way though her Bachelor of Medicine at University of NSW and simultaneously working as a psychiatric nurse at St Vincent’s hospital.

“Working in psychiatry, I see many Aboriginal people facing a loss of identity and culture, I see the importance of treating health holistically and seeing my people over represented within the mental health system has further fuelled my passion to become someone who can make a difference,” said Ms Kynuna.

Having seen the effects of trauma and mental health issues in her community and in her own family, Ms Kynuna wants to specialise in psychiatry after completing her medical degree.

“I knew greater healthcare amongst my mob was essential. Death and funerals almost weekly in my world was normal, I later realised this was foreign to my Anglo-Saxon counterparts, something they had barely experienced.

“I want to go back home and serve my community and ultimately help them to heal,” Ms Kynuna said.

The 2021 award was presented by AMA NSW President, Dr Danielle McMullen on behalf of President Dr Omar Khorshid.

“Destiny’s commitment to combining culture and care really shines through and she has already contributed a great deal through her nursing and natural affinity connecting with people,” Dr Khorshid said.

“The AMA’s Indigenous Medical Scholarship is part of our efforts to grow the Indigenous medical workforce, but much more is needed to provide the culturally appropriate care that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians need and deserve,” Dr Khorshid said.

Applications for the 2022 scholarship are open, and close on 18 February 2022. More information about the scholarship is detailed below, and information on how to apply can be found here.

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