My name is Gabriella Smith. I'm a second-year student studying a Doctor of Medicine (MD) at the University of Melbourne.
My passion for rural health and public health advocacy was cultivated during my upbringing in the rural towns of Broken Hill and Griffith. Growing up, I didn’t fully understand the problems in the healthcare system in the towns I came from. It wasn’t until I moved to Melbourne and volunteered in the Emergency Department of the Royal Women’s Hospital that I was exposed to the reality of gaps in the rural healthcare system. This fueled my decision to study in a rural setting, along with the collaborative opportunities and one-on-one learning support.
My interest in equitable healthcare matured as I connected with rural communities through my involvement with the charity organisation, Halad to Health. As a board member, I was able to make an impact to rural communities – both at home and overseas in the Philippines – by providing free education for the community.
In the future, I plan to continue my social work with Halad to Health and become a rural generalist in a small town to develop longitudinal and meaningful relationships with patients as their primary point of care. I also hope to promote better health on a community level, engaging with local government and public health campaigns.