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Introducing Ms Megan Shuttleworth, 2023 Purple Bush Medicine Leaves Bursary Recipient

2023 Purple Bush Medicine Leaves Bursary Recipient: Ms Megan Shuttleworth

We are profiling the achievements and aspirations of the 2023 Purple Bush Medicine Leaves recipients in the lead up to the 2023 Referendum on the Voice to Parliament. Last week we shared Ms Natalie Gordon’s story, and this week  we would like to introduce you to another of this year’s bursary recipients, Ms Megan Shuttleworth.


Introducing Ms Megan Shuttleworth

2023 Purple Bush Medicine Leaves Bursary Recipient: Ms Megan Shuttleworth bio photo
Ms Megan Shuttleworth is a Yugambeh and Torres Strait Islander woman who grew up on Minjungbal country in rural Northern New South Wales. She is in her final year (4th) year of the Doctor of Medicine program at Griffith University, Queensland. During her studies, she has achieved a Masters of Medical Research, and a Graduate Certificate in Indigenous Research and Leadership, in addition to her academic excellence awards. She also works part-time as a contemporary Indigenous Artist.

Megan would like to use her bursary to attend the 2024 AIDA (Australian Indigenous Doctors Association) conference, which “brings together medical professionals in a safe place to celebrate both medicine and culture”. She has been a long-standing student representative and mentor within AIDA .

In 2024, Megan is looking forward to returning to country, to commence her internship and

give back to her community as a doctor. She aspires to train and work in the field of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, with an additional emphasis on addressing the cultural and psychological aspects of wellbeing.

The goals of this bursary resonate with my own passions and beliefs, and it provides the means for me to attend an event very close to my heart. Having seen first-hand the long-standing effects of colonisation and intergenerational trauma, I have always strived to make a personal contribution to Closing the Gap and hopes to one day help to alleviate the inequalities in healthcare that is seen today.

All my life I have been keenly involved within Indigenous and rural medical communities, and university has provided me with many opportunities to make a difference.

I have worked with Indigenous high school students through the Launch Into Life program, aiming to support and encourage Indigenous students to pursue future career pathways through tertiary education. I am passionate about raising awareness of the healthcare standards and mental well-being of Indigenous peoples. Through the JFPP ( John Flynn Prevocational Placement Program), I spent 8 weeks in Indigenous health clinics in the communities of Gali’winku, Nhulunbuy and Yirrkala in North-Eastern Arnhem Land. This will always remain a highlight of my career and has inspired me to work in remote medicine. This year, I look forward to additionally working with AMSA as the Torres Strait Islander Representative and am very excited to continue my work in rural communities and leadership programs.

Megan is grateful for the support of the 2023 Purple Bush Medicine Leaves Bursary, to provide an opportunity to expand academically and connect with leading health professionals across the country. Megan aims to be a part of the health workforce responsible for developing and implementing programs which are both community driven and aim to improve the health outcomes of First Peoples.



Congratulations Megan! 

The Purple Bush Medicine Leaves Bursary Program was established as part of our commitment to the reconciliation and the Makarrata Commission, to encourage and empower female medical Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander graduates and students   as they further their medical career and/or leadership aspirations.

The Program continues to grow, thanks to our supporters and sponsors, with four Bursaries awarded in 2023.

Readers are also encouraged to review the resources provided in our earlier Resources For The Voice To Parliament Referendum post.

We again gratefully acknowledge our sponsors and supporters.

Dr Lydia Pitcher & A/Prof Deb Colville





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