Kate Doery

Social Science
Health/Medical Services
Winter 2017

I cannot believe that I have not applied for an Aurora Internship before. The Aurora Internship Program gave me the chance to gain practical and real-world experiences in a sector which I have previously studied both at undergraduate and masters levels. An Aurora internship gives you an insight into an organisation working hard to make a difference for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander; hereafter Aboriginal  peoples of Australia. I would recommend anyone who has an interest and a passion for Aboriginal affairs to apply for the Aurora Internship Program.

I applied for an internship for Winter 2017 and was lucky enough to be placed at the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) in the policy and advocacy team. VACCHO is the peak body for Aboriginal Health in Victoria working with its member organisations to deliver different health programs and policies for Victorian Aboriginal peoples.

Whilst at VACCHO I primarily worked on a research project collecting information and data on various culturally appropriate disability assessment and screening tools, which were seen as appropriate to use with Aboriginal peoples. This project was engaging, and I was able to learn about the different ways disability and cognitive function is defined and assessed. It gave me a sense of importance knowing my work will be highly valuable for VACCHO and their member organisations as Australia transitions into the National Disability Insurance Scheme. I was given a degree of freedom as to how my project was to be presented and the types of tools that I included.

One of the best parts about working in an organisation like VACCHO was the people I was working alongside. I was accepted into the policy and advocacy team right from day one. Everyone in the team was very welcoming and willing to tell me all about their projects and the work they are doing. I learnt all about the frustrations of working in an organisation such as this and having to work [AN1] with different Commonwealth and State government departments. I was lucky enough to be placed next to Aunt who was a wealth of knowledge. Aunt was always willing to share a story and helped me to gain a better understanding of Aboriginal histories and her own experiences as an Aboriginal woman. My experience wouldn't have been the same without her.

I am very grateful for the opportunities that Aurora and VACCHO have provided me.  This experience has sparked a real drive for me to pursue a career in Aboriginal health policy.

Changed this because we wouldn’t want the community work to sound like a frustration