For Dr Tatum Bond the theme for next week’s NAIDOC Week celebrations is exciting.

“The theme of Because of Her, We Can! is especially important because the way the world is changing we’re finally championing the female leaders and role models across the world,” the Indigenous Advanced emergency medicine trainee says.

NAIDOC Week 2018 will be held across Australia from Sunday 8 July and continue through to Sunday 15 July.

Under the theme – Because of Her, We Can! – the week celebrates the essential role that women have played - and continue to play - as active and significant role models at the community, local, state and national levels.

“I think the important thing to note is a lot of Indigenous cultures are actually more matriarchal than patriarchal. So females in a lot of Indigenous backgrounds have always been strong leaders but on worldwide or Australia-wide scale they may not have been recognised as strongly as their male counterparts,” says Dr Bond, who is from the Bundabuarra Yidi clan on Yidinji Nation in the tablelands rainforest region southwest of Cairns.

“So I think in particular just putting these wonderful female leaders up and celebrating them and their achievements that have been going on for years – we’ve got so many amazing Indigenous professors, doctors across the board, not only in emergency medicine – that’s why this year’s NAIDOC Week is important.

“NAIDOC Week as a whole is important to get involved in because at the end of the day you are getting the chance to learn about the culture and connect and celebrate the First Nations’ achievements. And I think the important thing about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture is it is not a single one-size-fits-all culture. There are a lot of different backgrounds and a lot of different stories and history across Australia.”

Get involved

Members are urged to find out more about NAIDOC Week and events they can get involved in and around their local community. Members are urged to use the hashtag #NAIDOC2018 to share with us their activities.

Opportunities in emergency medicine

In 2017 Dr Bond was awarded the ACEM Foundation’s Joseph Epstein Scholarship for Indigenous Advanced Emergency Medicine Trainees. The scholarship, which aims to encourage and support Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Māori doctors undertaking Advanced Training in the FACEM Training Program, is open all year round.

Dr Bond is also a member of ACEM’s Reconciliation Action Plan Steering Committee.

She says being involved in the College means she can help ACEM in its efforts to encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medical students and graduates to consider emergency medicine as a career.

“As medical students there were a couple of us who were ED trainees, and we’ve always had this idea in the back of our minds that we want more people to love ED just like we do,” Dr Bond says. “At the conferences that we try and attend we try to scope out the medical students and the junior doctors who have that personality for emergency medicine and encourage them to join us.

“As early as our student years we’ve always known this is where we’ve wanted to go, and I think we do some informal mentoring – alongside the formal process of the Steering Committee – to get people to love the ED.”

And her message for those thinking of pursuing a career in emergency medicine?

“I think one of the biggest things about emergency medicine is that it has one of the most flexible training programs,” Dr Bond says. “Which is a huge thing especially for women in medicine in general because you can take time off at any point in training to have a family or pursue other life goals rather just focusing on a career.

“On top of that, with the shift work I actually find it easier to maintain a day-to-day life. You are not working 9-5, Monday to Friday.

“The College is very supportive in terms of designing your pathway through training, which is another big drawcard.”