First Nations health top of Teneal’s to-do list

Improving health outcomes for Ipswich’s large First Nations population is a cause close to the heart of new junior doctor Teneal Hutchin.

A proud Wiradjuri woman, Dr Hutchin has seen first-hand the challenges associated with First Nations healthcare.

Now, having joined West Moreton Health as one of 38 new interns this year, the 24-year-old is determined to use her experiences to make positive change in the local community.

“Being a proud Indigenous woman, I’m very motivated to promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health to the wider community and encourage Indigenous people to prioritise their own health,” said Dr Hutchin, who moved from Stanthorpe to Brisbane after high school to study at the University of Queensland.

“My father’s side are Wiradjuri, and my great-great-grandmother in particular was highly impacted by the stolen generation.Junior doctor Teneal Hutchin

“With this, my family found it very hard learning about our culture when we were young because it was taught to our grandparents not to speak about our culture and our identity for many reasons.

“This is a very personal topic for me, many of the details hit very close to home. Mental health and chronic disease have always played a role in our family and those close to us.

“This is why I’m looking forward to making a difference as a doctor, in particular, to helping Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mob.”

Having started her rounds in urology at Ipswich Hospital in January, Ms Hutchin said progressing from humble beginnings to a career in medicine was proof anyone could achieve their dreams.

“I don’t consider myself an overly academic or smart person. I don’t come from a wildly educated background, and I think anyone can study medicine and become a doctor if they want,” she said.

“It is hard, but as long as you want to do it and are motivated to do it, you can absolutely do it.

“It wasn’t one major thing that got me interested in medicine. It was a process for me.

“I started studying pharmacy because I thought I could do well in that, but after starting, I realised there’s a lot more about the patient than the medications we use, and I care more about that.

“I wanted to be involved more with the patient. I’m very preventative healthcare-oriented and I like the concept of helping a community.

“I like the idea of integrating health prevention into a community and encouraging patients to work on their own health.

“I look forward to the role I will play as a healthcare professional at Ipswich hospital in this space.”