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Two University of Melbourne students are the recipients of funding from Bellberry Limited and GlaxoSmithKline, which both students say will go towards supporting Indigenous health.
Shayne Bellingham, whose family are Wotjobaluk people now located in the Horsham region of Victoria, was earlier this year appointed as the inaugural Bellberry Indigenous Health Research Fellow, for his work on genetics for diagnosis and understanding of Alzheimer’s and Prion diseases.
The fellowship, valued at $200,000, means Dr Bellingham can continue his research, which he hopes will translate into meaningful outcomes for Indigenous communities. 'I know within my community the conversation regarding Alzheimer’s has not really begun,' said Shayne. 'I would like to be able to begin this conversation with my family, Wotjobaluk people, to then translate this into positive outcomes for Aboriginal people suffering from dementia in Australia. My ultimate goal is to incorporate a diagnostic approach within the Aboriginal community.'
Raelene Nixon, A Gurngarri woman from Mitchell in South East Queensland, also based at Melbourne University, shares a similar conviction towards improving Indigenous health.
Ms Nixon was recently awarded a $20,000 capacity building grant from the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline to support her Masters of Health Social Sciences. The funding will support her thesis, which has been developed out of a specific issue within Indigenous communities in Shepparton in country Victoria, that sees numerous youth disengaging from education and sport.
Ms Nixon’s research will investigate the barriers and enablers for young Indigenous people engaging in sport and education. She says the support from GlaxoSmithKline is crucial to her research, which she hopes will be used to tailor programs to improve retention in these areas. 'It will be contributing to the construction of valuable knowledge that will assist the community to better support kids in sport, but also in education and life,' she said.
Source: University of Melbourne