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The new head of a unique program at Charles Sturt University (CSU) to increase the size of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health workforce has ticked more than a few boxes in 2011.
Faye McMillan, a Wiradjuri woman from central west New South Wales (NSW), joined CSU in April as Director of the Djirruwang mental health program.
She took up the position 11 years after graduating from the University as its first Indigenous pharmacy graduate.
Ms McMillan will soon oversee the largest number of Bachelor of Health Science (Mental Health) graduates to complete the Djirruwang program at CSU. (Djirruwang means 'light' in the NSW south coast Tharawal language.)
'Ever since this program began at Charles Sturt University in 1984, its role in increasing the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health workers has been crucial,' said Ms McMillan.
'Our graduates are capable of working in any Indigenous or non-Indigenous environment.'
'They are mental health professionals but their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage gives them empathy and understanding of cultural issues within their own communities.'
Also joining the Djirruwang program in 2011 is the new clinical coordinator Cheryl Davis, a Noongar woman from Perth.
Source: Tracker magazine (NSW Aboriginal Land Council)