Skylar Alucia

Candidate: Skylar Alucia

Rural Health Club: SHARP

Discipline: Allied Health

Please provide summary of why you are interested in the position, your ability to fulfill the position and your previous experience related to the position. (Word limit: 300 words)

Growing up in rural Australia with family working in Indigenous health, the health of the Indigenous Australian population has always been close to my heart. As I have seen the impact of the healthcare gap on many friends, and the broader Indigenous community, my interest in this position is simple; I believe it is an opportunity to make a difference to the health of Indigenous Australians by engaging with passionate health professionals, organisations and students and advocating on a national level.

I believe I can fulfil this position as over the past few years I have studied, worked, been involved in research projects and community organisations concurrently. This has allowed me to gain skills in effective time management and prioritisation. Moreover, living in rural Australia, and being involved in healthcare allowed me to develop respect, admiration and appreciation for the Indigenous cultures in Australia. Currently I work as a disability support officer in the greater Illawarra region with several families of the local Indigenous Community.

Over the past three years, I have been actively involved in our rural health club as the Allied Health Officer in 2018, secretary in 2019, and currently have the privilege of presiding over our rural health club. One of the key goals of my presidency has been to improve engagement with the Indigenous community for our club in general and our members as healthcare students. More recently, I have acted as a representative of the Student body on the UOW Reconciliation Working Group, designed to help address the accomplishments and shortcomings of our university in regard to Indigenous reconciliation in Australia

Please provide a response to the Key Selection Criteria. (Word limit: 1000 words)

In order to fulfil a roll as a member of the NRHSN executive, it is vital to have ability to maintain communication (through phone, e-mail, and internet) throughout their term, and the ability to travel to attend meetings with key stakeholders, NRHSN events, and meetings. Both of these criteria are essential to maintain an active involvement within the NRHSN which I am happy to say I can fulfil, as my past experiences demonstrates.

Since the beginning of 2018, I have been a member of our rural health club (RHC) SHARP (RHC of The University of Wollongong). In 2018, I was the Junior Allied Health Officer. In 2019, I was elected as our secretary and took on a more prominent role in engaging with students and the day-to-day administration of the club. During this tenure, I attended the second NRHSN Council Meeting for 2019 and represented our RHC. Following this, I was elected as the president of SHARP for 2020, representing SHARP again at the NRHSN council, raising funds for Indigenous  health in Central Australia, and revising our rural high school engagement activities in a world post-COVID outbreak.

On top of my leadership experiences with SHARP, in conjunction with a dear friend, I founded and presided over the Medical and Health Sciences Association at UOW in 2019, which provides pastoral care to undergraduate health students. Subsequently I stepped down as president to take up my role in SHARP but have still been actively involved in assisting my successor.

My previous leadership experience has also required me to meet with key stakeholders and as the Publicity Officer of Rural Appreciation Weekend (an event hosted to highlight the vast opportunities for health students in rural Australia), I have demonstrated my capacity for communication with media. Additionally, the NRHSN conferences, SHARP events, presentation of research undertaken as a summer project, and my role as an ambassador for the Science, Medicine and Health faculty at UOW have demonstrated my capacity for professional communication.

My interest in rural health has been a prominent force in my life, living the first six years of my life at the Broken Hill Base hospital residences, growing up in rural Australia (Broken Hill, Jindabyne, Tumut and Albury), and working as a disability care I have seen and experienced the healthcare differences caused by the maldistribution of healthcare workers.

I understand that the role of the Indigenous Health Officer of the NRHSN Committee is highly varied and broad as outlined by the NRHSN Committee guide for 2021. This includes the requirement of one to provide national leadership and support to RHC’s, students and the NRHSN committee, while acting professionally and appropriately representing NRHSN, its members, and its viewpoints. As a position on the NRHSN committee, maintenance of regular contact with the RHCs allows us to represent the collective views of rural health students and seek out their viewpoints and adequately represented in NRHSN documentation and communication. I understand that the requirements for this position are broad, including progressing the annual NRHSN Business Plan, chairing working groups, reporting on the activities of RHCs and stakeholders and attending and participating in NRHSN Executive, Council, and regional RHC meetings. Additionally, I understand the importance of ensuring appropriate review processes are followed for NRHSN reports, policies, and general representation on behalf of the NRHSN while also contributing to the NRHSN publication and communications.

As a disability support worker who has been actively engaged in various healthcare initiatives and studying as a healthcare student, I have first-hand experience in understanding the necessity of a multi-disciplinary approach to healthcare in rural and remote areas.

As President of SHARP and a member of NRHSN council in 2019 and 2020, I have actively reviewed several NRHSN publications, resources and position papers and understand the requirements of the Executive Committee to update, revise, and expand upon these publications.

As the Clubs and Societies Representative on the Student Advisory Council at UOW (a student body convened to advise, consult and make recommendations to the university on behalf of students) and an ambassador for UOW Science, Medicine and Health faculty, I have represented the interests of my fellow students and the university to ultimately improve the quality of life experienced by my peers.

Throughout my adult life and in particular during my higher education, I have managed to maintain a busy lifestyle of studying, working, and also leading community initiatives both on and off-campus. Being an active student and community member has often meant that I was required to meet specific timelines and assist those working with me in a team environment to reach team milestones in a suitable timeframe. This falls at the heart of the requirement of professionalism in one’s endeavours.

One of the most important criteria for any potential leader is the ability to work coherently in a team. Having worked in retail, hospitality, and disability care, as well as being an executive member of two societies at UOW (and an avid cricketer), I have been required to work with cohesively with individuals from various backgrounds and have learnt the importance of knowing one’s limitations and being able to both seek assistance from those who are more experienced, while also supporting team members who need assistance to accomplish their goals.

Through my roles in our RHC, SHARP (as highlighted above), I have worked with members of the NSW Rural Doctors Network, as well as the administrators of our RHC at UOW and representatives of other RHCs throughout Australia and look forward to continuing to do so in the future as an active member of the RHC’s and potentially as the Indigenous Health officer for the NRHSN.

Please provide your Curriculum Vitae. This can include a summary of specific previous experiences you have had related to rural health and leadership (events, courses, positions held, relevant previous or current employment). (Word limit: 500 words)

Student Health Alliance for Rural Populations (SHARP)
2018-present
SHARP is the Rural Health Club for The University of Wollongong. The goal of this organisation is to improve access to healthcare in rural Australia by fostering an interest in rural practice amongst healthcare students, while also engaging with school age students in rural locations to get them to consider a career in healthcare. Over the past three years I have been an actively involved in rural high school visits, event planning, and represented SHARP as a member of the Executive Committee each year.
Position: Junior Allied Health Representative (2018) • In 2018, I was elected to this position and primarily acted to increase engagement of Allied Health Students in our Rural Health Club.
Position: Secretary (2019) • After being on the executive committee for SHARP in my first year, I was elected as secretary. In this role I represented SHARP and UOW at various events in rural Australia. In this role I began to take on much more responsibility even representing SHARP at the NRHSN council.
Position: President (2020) • Currently serving as the president of our Rural Health Club I have advocated strongly for health in rural Australia. In this role, I have supported health students at UOW, contributed to our local community and raised funds for The Purple House in Alice Springs and with the help of an amazing team, devised a format for Rural High School session in the era of COVID-19 which allows us to reach many of the more remote schools around Australia.

Medical and Health Sciences Association (MAHSA) of UOW
2019-present
Positions- Founder, President (2019), Senior Advisor with an Open Portfolio (current) As a second year student at university, I noticed there was not a voice amongst the student body for students studying allied health degrees and so in conjunction with a small group of friends, I founded MAHSA; a society on campus dedicated to providing professional opportunities and pastoral care to healthcare students.

Student Advisory Council of The University of Wollongong
2020-present
Position- Clubs and Societies Representative. In this role, I have advised, consulted and made recommendations to the university on academic matters, as well as representing the interests of the various clubs and societies, particularly with the transition to online learning.

ZestCare Support Services
2018-present
Position- Support worker
My current employment is providing support to clients in various ways; currently I am working closely with a team of interdisciplinary professionals to support several Aboriginal families within the local Illawarra region including one in the rural Shoalhaven area.

UOW Science Medicine and Health Ambassador
2019-present
This role has given me a breadth of experience in communicating as a representative for a large organisation.

Publicity Officer/Team Leader for Rural Appreciation Weekend (RAW)
2019-Present
In my role as Publicity Officer for RAW I was responsible for promoting the event to health students from all around Australia. Additionally, during the event I assisted in ensuring the event ran smoothly with a major focus being on attendee safety.