BENDIGO woman Skye Kinder first received word she was to be Young Victorian of the Year by letter.
"It was a bit of surprising mail to get," the 28-year-old doctor said.
She was this week presented with the award as part of Victoria Day festivities at the Melbourne Town Hall.
Monday marked 168 years since Victoria officially separated from New South Wales and was formally proclaimed as an independent state.
Dr Kinder was hopeful the recognition for her achievements, which have centred around rural and regional health in Victoria, would enable her to highlight some state-specific issues within the health sector.
Namely, the way in which junior doctors were trained. Dr Kinder said she and her colleagues at the Rural Doctors Association had identified opportunities to change specialty training so junior doctors had greater opportunity to be based in regional centres.
Dr Kinder said a number of factors needed to be present for training to be offered regionally, including government funding, accreditation, and positions being made available in local health services.
Bringing all the parties to the same place was, in her opinion, the greatest challenge. But Dr Kinder believed it was in everyone's best interest to address the issue.
She is in her first year of specialty training in psychiatry through the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists.
Dr Kinder chose to complete her training at St Vincent's Hospital in Melbourne.
"I hope to bring the skills I'm learning here to central Victoria," she said.
Specialist mental health training is an area of identified need within the health workforce, particularly in rural and regional Victoria.
"Mental health as a wider specialty still is underfunded," Dr Kinder said.
She said retention of staff in an under-resourced sector could be challenging, especially for those new to the work and in need of additional support.
She was also the 2019 Scots Day Out chieftain and guest speaker at the Zonta Club of Bendigo's 2019 International Women's Day dinner.
"I never set out to win any of these awards," Dr Kinder said.
She said she hoped being named Young Victorian of the Year, and any of the other achievements she had been able to share with the community, showed young people in central Victoria, particularly young women, they could have the career they wanted to have.
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