Graduate’s thesis leads to $50,000 grant for Indigenous Women’s health

Posted by Virginia on 1 February 2016

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ACAP began 2016 with a special reason to celebrate. Research conducted for her Master dissertation by ACAP Master of Psychology (Clinical) graduate Mary Goslett (pictured) has led to a $50,000 grant to help support Indigenous women in regional NSW.

St John of God Burwood Hospital is funding a program with Waminda South Coast Women’s Health and Welfare Aboriginal Corporation, following Mary’s findings and recommendations.

The funds will go towards organising visits for regular cultural exchange between local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women and Elders and Ngangkari (traditional healers) from remote areas. The personal connections will ensure the valuable ongoing attachment to culture known to bring positive mental health and wellbeing to Aboriginal women and their families.

Mary belongs to the Yuin people, who are Australian Aborigines from the South Coast of New South Wales and considered to be the traditional land owners of the land and water from Merimbula to Port Jackson. Her thesis was entitled ‘Identity, Connection and Wellbeing amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women of the Illawarra and Shoalhaven Areas of NSW’.

Building on prior positive outcomes

In 2014, Waminda held a gathering of local and central desert Aboriginal women, where, in lively discussions, topics on traditional customs, and the impact of non-Aboriginal society, on family structure were shared between participants.

The grant enables Waminda to build on the successes of the 2014 event, by arranging future get-togethers to further strengthen cultural links for its local people. The funding will cover an initial partnership of five years.

Mary’s research attested to a vital, dynamic, and developing culture among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women living in regional coastal NSW. The women are actively occupied in creating a meaningful identity that encompasses the multiple themes of cultural connection.

Senior Lecturer Vanessa Beavan was Mary’s thesis supervisor and is delighted at the news.

“I’m so proud to have been part of Mary’s journey, and I think it is worth celebrating when research gets put into action,” she said.

Find out more about ACAP’s Psychology courses and programs.