FIRST NATIONS HEALTH GRADUATE LEADS THE WAY

Written by on 23/04/2024

Teegan Wattam makes history as she steps across the graduation stage this week at CDU.

It will be the first time a First Nations graduate has received Bachelor of Health Science/Master of Speech and Language Therapy at Charles Darwin University (CDU).

A proud Larrakia and Wadjigan woman, Ms Wattam has her sights set on addressing healthcare challenges in the Northern Territory, particularly in helping Territorians who have speech and swallowing difficulties to communicate and manage their conditions effectively.

“I think there’s such a shortage of allied health professionals up here, and because of that there are long wait lists, which is probably the biggest impact as well, that we have a really high turnover of staff,” she said.

“I think people don’t realise the wider impact that allied health professionals have in the areas we can work in. Like, for example, a lot of people just think speech pathologists help people to talk.

“But we do a lot more than that. We help them with swallowing, to communicate in all different ways and in learning.”

Ms Wattam started her healthcare education at a university in Sydney, but when CDU opened places for a double degree in health science and speech pathology, she jumped at the chance to return home and be part of the first cohort of the course.

“I chose to study at CDU because it’s close to home. I’m a Territory girl born and raised,” she said.

“The biggest factor for me growing up was that there weren’t always the opportunities to study here. And most often than not, you had to leave home to access those opportunities.

“So having CDU open up this course, and being in the first cohort to graduate, was a really big thing for me.”

Ms Wattam is graduating with hundreds of fellow students this week at the CDU Casuarina campus.

Read the full story here

For the April Graduation Program – click below:

CDU Casuarina graduation program April 22-24

Main Image: CDU graduate Teegan Wattam is the first First Nations student to receive a Batchelor of Health Science/Master of Speech and Language Therapy.

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