12 May 2022

Sara Lai found her first Indigenous intern experience with NHMRC in 2017-18 so rewarding that she applied again for the 2021-22 program.

Sara was in her first year of university in 2017 and is now in her final year. The project that she undertook this time around involved interviewing childcare centres in rural and regional Australia as well as Indigenous communities to determine how the ‘Staying Healthy’ resource is used in remote settings. She shares how important the intern program has been to her professional development.

“My research and communication skills have exponentially increased, and I have thoroughly enjoyed being part of a team. I am also now considering pursuing a Master of Public Health in the future as I have seen first-hand how very important primary health promotion is at the community level.” 

Sara’s aim for the future is to be an obstetrician/gynaecologist – which is very different from her career aspirations the first time she spent time at NHMRC. Sara explains that her interest in this field grew after a year-long research stint working in a regional general practice setting.

“Here I witnessed the impact of socio-economic status on access to care and the discrepancies that rural and Indigenous women face compared to their metropolitan peers.”

Sara is interested in both clinical and research aspects of Women’s Health and hopes to continue progressing her skills in this area as a future doctor and researcher.

She explains “I thoroughly believe that to solve the healthcare gaps in Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities we need Indigenous problem solvers and I hope to be able to contribute to this.”