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The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners will again recognise the work of Dr Josephine Guyer, three years after it commemorated her with a 'Growing Strong' award for her ongoing leadership in the Aboriginal health space.
Shahni Wellington, Mikele Syron

5 Oct 2020 - 5:08 PM  UPDATED 5 Oct 2020 - 5:19 PM

Wiradjuri woman, Dr Josephine Guyer, has been recognised for her commitment to Indigenous health care by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners' NSW/ACT General Practitioner in Training of the Year award.

The honour recognises Dr Guyer's dedication and commitment to GP training.

Dr Guyer said the recent death of her mother, who provided great inspiration for her career, had motivated her to pursue success in the lead up to her fellowship exams, which she will sit to become a fully qualified and practicing General Practitioner 11 years after her medical studies began.

Dr Guyer said her late mother was a child of the stolen generation, where she spent time at the notorious Cootamundra girls home and was later denied the opportunity to pursue a career in nursing in the 1950s. 

“That had a profound impact on me and my journey,” she said.

The Acting President Associate of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), Professor Ayman Shenouda, commended Dr Guyer on her "extraordinary" leadership, strength and resilience, and acknowledged the importance of providing responsive and culturally appropriate care to the Indigenous community.

The latest award follows Dr Guyer receiving an honour from the RACPG in 2017 when she was announced as the recipient of the college's ‘Growing Strong’ award for her 20 years in nursing.

The college acknowledged that Dr Guyer's cultural experience as a proud Wiradjuri woman and said that being a mother to three teenagers will add value to Dr Guyer's care for patients from different walks of life. 

“Taking that sort of attitude to general practice is so important because it will enable her to lead by example and improve the work of those around her for many years to come in what I am sure will be a distinguished GP career,” Prof Shenouda said.

Dr Guyer has undertaken several roles within the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health space. She contributed to the design, development, and delivery of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Training workshops and has been a staunch advocate for culturally appropriate clinical practice.

Dr Guyer has also worked collaboratively with medical educators to deliver an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health cultural awareness and education webinar during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr Guyer is currently employed by Myhealth in the Liverpool clinic, having already completed terms at Tharawal Aboriginal Corporation in Airds, the Primacare Medical Centre in Roselands, and Schwarz Family in Elderslie.

Dr Guyer said she hoped to provide leadership by encouraging other Indigenous people to pursue careers in the medical field. 

“There are opportunities there and they need to be taken. We should do it not only for ourselves in our communities now but also for those that went before us that didn’t have those opportunities,” she said.

“I try to support other Aboriginal registrars in General Practice and encourage other young people to consider careers in medicine and health because that is the only way we can bridge the gap we have in Indigenous health disparity."

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