Triplets on own path

Hills Gazette - - NEWS -

IN­DIGE­NOUS fe­male triplets from Green­mount are trail­blaz­ing a path­way to be­com­ing cer­ti­fied phys­io­ther­a­pists after grad­u­at­ing from a new course at Curtin Univer­sity.

Lau­ren, Roberta and Jac­inta Ramirez-Smith (18) are among 13 grad­u­ates to com­plete the first in­dige­nous pre­medicine and health sciences en­abling course.

The course opens an­other door to ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion by pro­vid­ing an op­tion for in­dige­nous stu­dents who do not com­plete ATAR stud­ies or do not achieve the score re­quired for their study choice.

Roberta said a min­i­mum ATAR score of 90 was a pre­req­ui­site to ap­ply for a fouryear course in phys­io­ther­apy at Curtin Univer­sity.

“Be­cause our ATAR scores weren’t high enough we found an al­ter­na­tive path, which we suc­cess­fully com­pleted,” she said.

“With my fam­ily’s health not al­ways the best, we took it upon our­selves to study health care be­cause we want to give back to our com­mu­nity.”

She said an in­ter­est in physio also stemmed from their shared pas­sion for sport.

“We played a lot of ten­nis and bas­ket­ball when we were younger, but now we fo­cus on net­ball and we’re cur­rently tri­alling for state league teams,” Roberta said.

Sport­ing abil­ity runs in the fam­ily, with the girls’ fa­ther Robert Smith a for­mer WAFL player for Swan Dis­tricts.

The sis­ters at­tended school in Port Hed­land, where Roberta said there was no per­ma­nent phys­io­ther­a­pist, and so they dream of open­ing their own phys­io­ther­apy prac­tice.

Cen­tre for Abo­rig­i­nal Stud­ies di­rec­tor Pro­fes­sor Mar­ion Kick­ett said she was de­lighted to cel­e­brate the suc­cess of stu­dents on the new course.

“The grad­u­ates will be start­ing their un­der­grad­u­ate de­grees next month in a range of health cour­ses at Curtin, in­clud­ing nurs­ing, so­cial work, medicine, phys­io­ther­apy and health, safety and en­vi­ron­ment,” she said.

“We are ex­tremely proud of all the grad­u­ates.”

Deputy vice-chan­cel­lor Aca­demic Pro­fes­sor Jill Downie said the grad­u­ates demon­strated the need for prepath­way op­tions for in­dige­nous stu­dents.

“These grad­u­ates are among the first set of stu­dents from Curtin who will help con­trib­ute to the na­tion­wide ini­tia­tive to pro­vide better health ser­vices to in­dige­nous peo­ple by in­creas­ing the num­ber of in­dige­nous doc­tors and health pro­fes­sion­als across the coun­try,” she said.

Pre-medicine and health sciences grad­u­ates Jac­inta, Roberta and Lau­ren Ramirez-Smith.

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