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Indigenous doctor aims to improve men’s healthcare through research  

[by Tiahna Fiddling]

Already a qualified general practitioner (GP), Dr Justin Gladman chose to undertake his Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) with CQUniversity to research how men can become more engaged with healthcare services. Image: CQU

The cliché is true: men really don't like going to the doctor, but CQUniversity research student Dr Justin Gladman is driven to change this attitude and encourage young men to be more engaged with healthcare services.

Already a qualified general practitioner (GP), Dr Gladman chose to undertake his Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)  with CQUniversity after two years of refining his research goals and scope from observations in his medical practice.

“Through my clinical work, it started to become apparent that young men often attended clinics or health services driven by external factors rather than personal health concerns.

“Bridging the gap between healthcare and communities is a difficult task, but my research aims to establish how health services can reach and develop a link with young men to encourage engagement,” he explained.

Coupled with his work in the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS), the Broken Hill resident understands first-hand the challenges of regional healthcare which has proven to play a role in his research goals.

“I completed my intern and resident year in Tamworth before my wife and our four children decided to settle in regional New South Wales.

“Being exposed to different isolated communities through the RFDS gave me a better understanding of the complexities of healthcare in rural areas,” Dr Gladman explained.

“Expected research outcomes could create a large impact for men’s health outcomes in rural areas - we need to improve existing health service to be receptive to community’s needs, be approachable and deliver a real service.

As one of only a handful of CQU’s Indigenous male PhD students, the descendant of NSW’s Wiradjuri people is paving the way for future First Nations peoples interested in research with the support offered by the Office of Indigenous Engagement.

“While I am situated outside CQUniversity’s traditional footprint, the quality of supervisors and the establishment of Indigenous research support groups drew me to CQU.

“The support structures are available and accessible to help men both academically and personally - if you have a passion for a research topic they can assist you,” he said.

CQUniversity’s Deputy Vice-President Indigenous Engagement, Professor Adrian Miller explained that specific support is currently being developed for First Nations Research Higher Degree (RHD) students.

“Thanks to the Indigenous Student Success Program (ISSP) funding from the National Indigenous Australians Agency we are able to and have been developing a new cohort strategy.

“Dr Gladman is one of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students who has been linked up with the First Nations RHD team and other Indigenous RHD students,” Prof Miller said.

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