HOPE4HEALTH is a non-profit organisation and registered charity coordinated by Griffith University students. Our aim is to improve health outcomes for local, rural, indigenous and international communities.
This aim is primarily achieved through awareness raising activities for more than 600 members. We also coordinate major corporate fundraising events for the health and business communities of South East Queensland
Claire Walter is the 2010 Indigenous Health Representative for Hope4Health (H4H), a non-profit organisation and registered charity founded by Griffith University medical students in 2006. H4H aims to improve health outcomes for local, rural, Indigenous and international communities through coordination of awareness raising activities for members, including guest speaker seminars, rural health trips, teddy bear hospitals and much more. Claire is a second year medical student, and during her first year she attended a trip with H4H to undertake a Teddy Bear Hospital and Health Careers day in Cherbourg, an Aboriginal community 250km northwest of Brisbane. This trip inspired Claire to become more involved in the club, particularly in activities around Indigenous health.
This year was the third year that H4H student members have organised the Teddy Bear Hospital and Health Careers trip to Cherbourg. The benefits, both for students at Cherbourg Primary and for students from Griffith University, are evident. In small groups, early primary school students participate in the Teddy Bear Hospital, which consists of hands-on stations promoting healthy lifestyles. This includes exercise, healthy eating, brushing teeth, what to expect when teddy visits the doctor, poisons and who to call in an emergency. Each station is hosted by health students acting as “teddy doctors”, which is a fun and rewarding experience.
The Health Careers Day is designed for students heading to high school. By being able to play with medical equipment and practise scenarios, students can normalise the idea that continuing school and becoming a doctor, nurse, physiotherapist, dentist or any other health professional is within the childrens’ reach. Much like the structure of Teddy Bear Hospitals, there are stations where students can practise bandaging and sling making, putting on a gown and mask, blood pressure measurement, using stethoscopes, CPR and plaster-cast making. Each station is coordinated by a health student, and participants discuss various career pathways.
The trip to Cherbourg also includes a visit to the local hospital, medical clinic and the Ration Shed Museum, which broadens the experience and understanding of the medical students about Aboriginal Australia and the health experiences of Indigenous people. Local traditions, the history of Cherbourg (which was originally an Aboriginal reserve), the Stolen Generation and other important historical and cultural issues are explored and discussed by people from the museum together with the students. This year, one student commented, “you don’t get taught that in school”, emphasising the importance of increasing awareness about Aboriginal culture and history to improve the students’ future patient relationships and create better health outcomes in the future for Indigenous Australians.