Rachel Farrelly is set to become the first Indigenous female surgeon. Her journey was not easy and being a Gunu woman who was raised on Wiradjuri country, moving from a small rural community to a city university had its challenges. However, her dream of contributing positively to the health inequality in rural and regional NSW every day pushed her to where she is today. After graduating from University of Western Sydney, Dr Farrelly spent her intern and registrar years at several NSW hospitals. She will finish her doctor training at Prince of Wales Hospital in Randwick and plans to specialise in hand and upper limb surgery.
For Rachel, coming from a rural town, being separated from family and community, and also being homeschooled since year 4, university was a complete culture shock initially. But because she made a big effort to make friends and to reach out to others on campus, and it has resulted in valuable friendships that have followed her through her training.
Rachel hopes to create a future where equity and diversity are normality. She says “I think as healthcare workers, we should look for opportunities to champion women within medicine. This means asking women how you can best support them. And as a woman, working to create a better future for my female colleagues. Ai also believe that supporting young Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander people to be active participants in their own health, and encourage those that are interested towards careers in medicine and healthcare so that they can empower their own communities.”