Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Travelling the remotest parts of our State and witnessing first-hand a lack of medical expertise and resources available to many communities was the catalyst for suburban Perth teenager Aldric Ratnasekera to study medicine at The University of Western Australia.

The high achieving 17-year-old has chosen to pursue his passion of medicine after travelling to the Kimberley region and seeing the pressures to provide medical care in regional and remote communities.

Aldric applied to UWA’s Doctor of Medicine pathway after participating in Fairway UWA - one of the University’s outreach and equity programs providing support for students completing high school under challenging circumstances.

He said that taking part in Fairway had helped smooth the way into the idea of university study, and introduced him to many new friends.

“I can’t imagine how nervous I’d be feeling if I was starting my course at UWA alone,” Aldric said. “Fairway comes with a strong sense of community, which is more akin to family.

“The UWA Doctor of Medicine is one of the best in the country, and it was a no-brainer to pick the course as my first university preference.”

The school trip to the Kimberley that ignited Aldric’s passion for medicine saw him helping in primary schools and aged care centres, and realising for the first time the healthcare problems faced in many regions.

“Aged members of the community, who are the most vulnerable to health issues, would rarely seek regular medical check-ups due to the distance and isolation in the region,” he said. “For them, taking care of their health meant a long and uncomfortable bus ride to the hospital.

“I thought, if I can contribute in any way to solving this growing problem - I should, which ultimately sealed the decision to study medicine and enrol at UWA.”

Aldric graduated from St Norbert College, a participating Broadway UWA school, with the school’s top ATAR score of 99.45.

Through outreach programs Fairway, Aspire and Broadway, UWA staff and students visit WA high schools to raise aspirations for higher education and to provide support for students with high potential but limited means and opportunity.

As part of this program, Head of the UWA Medical School and St Norbert College alumnus, Dr Brendan McQuillan, visited St Norbert College in 2019 to share his personal story and answer questions about careers in medicine for aspiring medical students.

Aldric said that he was excited to start his professional journey at UWA and was looking forward to participating in student activities like clubs and societies, meeting people and making industry connections.

Image credit: Examiner Newspapers

Media references

Nicholas Smith (UWA Media Officer) 08 6488 1888 / 0411 644 492


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