Cairns-based Elise Witter, 24, is the 2020 winner of the Dr Helen Row prize. In her own words she tells us what it means to win this award:

“My name is Elise and I have been fortunate enough to receive the Dr Helen Row Prize this year. I grew up in Cairns and it was a Zonta Encouragement Award from my local club that provided support to travel to Brisbane and commence university!

 I completed my Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Medicine at the University of Queensland  and I have embraced rural health, undertaking
placements in Toowoomba, Bundaberg and Yeppoon. I am passionate about mental health, paediatrics, women’s health and addressing the disparity between health outcomes in urban, regional and rural areas. This has led me to present research into suicide prevention in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations at the RDAQ Conference and undertake further research into paediatric genetic disorders presented at the British Paediatric Neurology Association Conference this year. I returned to Cairns this year for an internship, my first year of being a ‘real doctor’ and feel privileged to spend my days caring for my local community.

I am utilising this award to further my studies by completing a Master of Public Health. I hope this will enable me to make a difference at a population level as well as to individuals’ health. As the wellbeing representative of our local doctor’s association, I am  also hoping it will help me in developing strategies to promote the wellbeing  of healthcare workers in my health service. I am very grateful for this opportunity provided to me by the Zonta Club and Dr Row’s family and look  forward to continuing to expand my horizons and becoming a better advocate for my patients and the community.“

For more information on the award please follow this link