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Introducing Ms Natalie Gordon, 2023 Purple Bush Medicine Leaves Bursary Recipient

2023 Purple Bush Medicine Leaves Bursary Recipient: Ms Natalie Gordon

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. This week, we would like to introduce you to one this year’s bursary recipients, Ms Natalie Gordon.


Introducing Ms Natalie Gordon

2023 Purple Bush Medicine Leaves Bursary Recipient: Ms Natalie Gordon with colleagues

Ms Natalie Gordon is a Ngunnawal woman who is in her 3rd year of medical studies at Australian National University. She plans to use her bursary to attend the RANZCP Conference in Rotorua, in September. She had already achieved a B.Arts/B.Ed (Secondary), and M.Arts (Theology), as well as a Dip.Science before commencing medical studies, having worked as teacher, nun, and as an Aboriginal Health Worker with NSW. She would like to become a rural generalist with a qualification in paediatrics/psychiatry and in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.

Yuma! I’m a 41-year-old Ngunnawal woman who also comes with Irish/English heritage. My mum Jennie is a proud warrior woman whose sense for social justice can’t be outdone. My Dad is also a very determined man, who watches and observes everything.

Mum grew up in a different time, when being Aboriginal was not socially acceptable. Her father, my Pop, had been told to leave school when he was 8 years old because his education was sufficient for a mixed-race child.

We grew up at home knowing we were Aboriginal, but again, the 80’s and 90’s was not a time to be socially acceptable as an Aboriginal person. We certainly grew up sharing cousins, brothers and sisters, sharing aunties as spare mums and grandmothers always had a say. We grew up knowing but it was not safe to tell many.

I would like to change the way Aboriginal people are taught at medical school.

I’ve seen enough of and lived through enough injustice in the health care system in regional Australia to know that not only Aboriginal people but also country people deserve better. They deserve clinicians that will treat them like they are family, like they matter, and with the dignity they deserve.

But right now, it’s one foot in front of the other, attempting to listen, learn and watch and try new things in the clinical space as a third year medical student who feels like they are the biggest of imposters on the imposter syndrome spectrum and sit calmly in the knowing that this degree is no longer about me just becoming a doctor, but about whole communities of people needing someone who will listen.


Congratulations Natalie! 

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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