Time to Reflect and Celebrate

Melbourne Staff and Students

Sydney Staff and Students

One journey is near its destination and another is set to begin for hundreds of undergraduates who celebrated their achievements at ACU’s 2019 School of Allied Health Final Year Student Conference.

Over 200 soon-to-be occupational therapy graduates gathered across Australian Catholic University’s Brisbane, Melbourne and North Sydney campuses to present their final assessments and acknowledge the contributions their peers have already made and will continue to make as graduates.

The event provided an opportunity for students to reflect on their entry into the profession.

 “You are about to embark on an even more exciting journey,” National Head of School of Allied Health Professor Suzanne Kuys said.

 “Regardless of your journey, I believe that every one of you has the potential to change lives and to make an impact.”

The keynote address was delivered by Nicole Turner, a Kamilaroi woman and Chair of Indigenous Allied Health Australia. She spoke about the many issues affecting Closing the Gap policies and challenged the cohort to make a difference.

Ms Turner shared powerful messages, calling attendees to reject racism, to develop culturally responsive and safe practices, and to act to improve health and wellbeing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, and indeed for all.

The conference program was rich in diversity.

Jacob Scott and Patrick Callaghan presented on their project ‘The hangout social group’, a social skills group program for young men with autism spectrum disorder at the Mind and Behaviour Clinic in Bankstown.

“Participants were initially hesitant and reserved upon meeting one another, however as the group progressed, they began to express their own unique personalities, and thrive in a group environment,” said Jacob and Patrick.

Shennae Knight and Claire Comben collaborated with Koorie students, staff members, and the local Koorie Engagement and Support Officer at Elisabeth Murdoch College to ensure the voice of Koorie students is heard.

Their project placement involved creating a resource for teachers to use to increase cultural inclusion for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander secondary students.

“The students provided unique and valued perspectives on the school’s cultural inclusion, discussing their experiences in the classroom and school yard,” explained Shennae.

“It was exciting to see the engagement and interest from staff who were open to making changes and ensuring all their students have the opportunity to grow academically, as well as socially and emotionally,” added Claire.

ACU prepares future occupational therapists with specialised knowledge and skills that support people’s participation in life situations across the lifespan. For more information, visit acu.edu.au.

By School of Allied Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, Australian Catholic University

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