AT JUST 22-years-of-age, Skye Kinder is a proud advocate for rural health services.
Ms Kinder, who was named Bendigo’s Young Citizen of the Year Thursday, is the University of Melbourne Rural Health Club president.
The medical student has travelled to the USA to complete a medical research internship with a Harvard University professor and an internship with a senior Obama adviser.
Ms Kinder said her passion for medicine had a personal touch.
“I’ve always had an interest in the health field,” she said.
“My dad’s also been quite ill.
“When I was young that spurred me on a little bit.
“The more I got a taste for it, the more I liked it and it sort of snowballed.”
Ms Kinder, who also sits on the National Rural Health Students’ Network, said there were issues with rural medicine she wanted to address.
“I think that there’s a lot of work to be done,” she said.
“But there a lot of great initiatives working on it, for example, the Rural Health Workforce Australia.
“They support the Rural Health Club at the University of Melbourne and all other rural health clubs across the country to get young people to rural areas.
“The Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine has been creating opportunities to get young medical students out into medical practices in rural Australia.
“So there’s work to be done.
“But it’s improving.”
Ms Kinder attended Weeroona College and is in her second year of medical training and sixth year of university.
She said she wanted to address issues with hospital placements.
“Internships are a huge issue for Australian medical students,” Ms Kinder aid.
“The government has committed to creating more internships so we can finish our training and a lot of those internships are going to be in rural areas.
“If we can't finish our training then we can’t be the doctors the community needs.
“I am really interested in rural health workforce issues.”
Bendigo mayor Barry Lyons said there had been a strong field for the Citizen and Young Citizen of the Year awards.
“They’re a couple of worthy recipients,” he said.
“We had quite a capacity field for both.
“They’re great candidates, a very difficult selection.”
Cr Lyons said Ms Kinder was a role model for other young people.
"Her passion for rural healthcare and a desire for all people, regardless of where they live, to have access to good quality healthcare is important,” he said.
“There is no doubt Skye will continue to campaign on this important issue.”