Skip to content

2023 Purple Bush Medicine Leaves Recipients


The Purple Bush Medicine Leaves Bursary Program was established as part of our commitment to the reconciliation and the Makarrata Commission, to encourage and empower female medical Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander graduates and students as they further their medical career and/or leadership aspirations.

The Program continues to grow, thanks to our supporters and sponsors, with four Bursaries awarded in 2023.

We again gratefully acknowledge our sponsors and supporters.


Dr Julia-Rose Satre

As an Aboriginal woman, I have always been passionate about enabling safe birthing on country. I hope to one day obtain my advanced skill in Obstetrics to help achieve this dream. This year, I spoke at the Rotary Centenary Rotary Conference in Brisbane Hall; this gave me a platform where I shared my story and ambitions. I hope my presence will continue to grow, as I pursue my passion of being a fierce advocate for my people.

Obtaining this Bursary would help me immensely with my intentions of attending the AIDA Conference 2023. I believe attending this conference will provide me with a platform to not only learn about the limitations and difficulties faced by healthcare professionals in rural communities but also direct me on the right path to achieve my dreams of eventually being a Rural Generalist, a doctor for my community far out in the bush, where I can spread my arms to nurture the ill back to health on the country.


Dr Alicia Veasey

Dr Alicia Veasey, 2023 - 2023 Purple Bush Medicine Leaves Bursary Recipient attending a new mother in hospitalI am planning to attend the Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association (AIDA) annual conference in November 2023. Every AIDA conference is a special time but especially this year as I will have the honour of receiving my framed painted stethoscope from AIDA in recognition of my Fellowship with RANZCOG – a moment I have been looking forward to since I attended my first AIDA conference over 15 years ago. This bursary will assist my ability to attend this significant event along with my family.

Inspired by my father, who was an Aboriginal Health Worker before becoming an AODS Clinical Nurse Consultant, I have worked in health for over 20 years. Firstly, as an Assistant-in-Nursing, an Allied Health Assistant and then as a Paediatric Respiratory & Sleep Registered Nurse prior to and during medicine. I practice person-centred care, utilising my knowledge and experience to be a technical assistant to patient’s own journey of empowerment and wellbeing.

I aim to use my privileged position as an O&G, doctor and healthcare leader to serve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. This means I don’t know what the future will look like for me. For now, I will continue to work publicly in regional communities where I hope to contribute to innovative, community driven models of care whilst continuing to advocate and work at a systems level for health system reform that places Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander sovereignty and our right to self-determination as core to clinical governance processes.

Ms Megan Shuttleworth

2023 Purple Bush Medicine Leaves Bursary Recipient: Ms Megan Shuttleworth standing beside a light aircraftThe goals of this bursary resonate with my own passions and beliefs, and it provides the means for me to attend an event very close to my heart. Having seen first-hand the long-standing effects of colonisation and intergenerational trauma, I have always strived to make a personal contribution to Closing the Gap and hopes to one day help to alleviate the inequalities in healthcare that is seen today.

All my life I have been keenly involved within Indigenous and rural medical communities, and university has provided me with many opportunities to make a difference.

I have worked with Indigenous high school students through the Launch Into Life program, aiming to support and encourage Indigenous students to pursue future career pathways through tertiary education. I am passionate about raising awareness of the healthcare standards and mental well-being of Indigenous peoples. Through the JFPP ( John Flynn Prevocational Placement Program), I spent 8 weeks in Indigenous health clinics in the communities of Gali’winku, Nhulunbuy and Yirrkala in North-Eastern Arnhem Land. This will always remain a highlight of my career and has inspired me to work in remote medicine. This year, I look forward to additionally working with AMSA as the Torres Strait Islander Representative and am very excited to continue my work in rural communities and leadership programs.

Ms Natalie Gordon

Yuma! I’m a 41-year-old Ngunnawal woman who also comes with Irish/English heritage. My mum Jennie is a proud warrior woman whose sense for social justice can’t be outdone. My Dad is also a very determined man, who watches and observes everything.

Mum grew up in a different time, when being Aboriginal was not socially acceptable. Her father, my Pop, had been told to leave school when he was 8 years old because his education was sufficient for a mixed-race child.

We grew up at home knowing we were Aboriginal, but again, the 80’s and 90’s was not a time to be socially acceptable as an Aboriginal person. We certainly grew up sharing cousins, brothers and sisters, sharing aunties as spare mums and grandmothers always had a say. We grew up knowing but it was not safe to tell many.

I would like to change the way Aboriginal people are taught at medical school.

I’ve seen enough of and lived through enough injustice in the health care system in regional Australia to know that not only Aboriginal people but also country people deserve better. They deserve clinicians that will treat them like they are family, like they matter, and with the dignity they deserve.

But right now, it’s one foot in front of the other, attempting to listen, learn and watch and try new things in the clinical space as a third year medical student who feels like they are the biggest of imposters on the imposter syndrome spectrum and sit calmly in the knowing that this degree is no longer about me just becoming a doctor, but about whole communities of people needing someone who will listen.