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I am a Wotjobaluk woman and was born and raised in Wagga Wagga (Wiradjuri country).

For the past three and a half years I have worked as a Project Officer at the Sax Institute on the Study of Environment on Aboriginal Resilience and Child Health (SEARCH). SEARCH is a partnership between researchers, the Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council and four NSW Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services. The Study is collecting information on ear infections, speech development, mental health, injury, environmental health, risk factors for later chronic disease, and use of health services. SEARCH has recruited more than 1500 children and their families, making it Australia’s largest long-term study of the health and wellbeing of urban Aboriginal Children.

Prior to this, I worked as an Aboriginal Research Officer conducting fieldwork for SEARCH and as an Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Worker in an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service. I completed the Graduate Diploma of Indigenous Health Promotion at The University of Sydney and am in my final semester of my Masters of Public Health.

I love working with the Poche Centre as I’ve got to meet lots of amazing people who are doing great things for Aboriginal communities across Australia. The support I have received from the Poche Centre for my Masters of Public Health has really helped me get to my last semester and everyone there makes you feel very welcome and motivates you to want to achieve the best you can. I am very grateful for the opportunity to work with such amazing people!

Simone Sherriff

Masters of Public Health, University of Sydney

I was born in Goondiwindi and after losing my mother at a young age spent most of my life going from school to school and traveling back and fourth from Boggabilla to Brisbane. I only went to Yr 11 in school because I started working straight from high school and never even gave a second thought to having a higher education.

Now, while working in the communities of Boggabilla and Toomelah where I spent most of my life, I can see the oral health service, which I’ve been a part of, has already made such a positive impact on so many people. Just seeing people who I have known to have no teeth or caries throughout their mouth for most of their life now with clean, healthy teeth – whether it’s because of dentures or because they have changed their oral hygiene or got their cavities filled and received proper oral hygiene instructions to make their smiles beautiful – has really been awesome to experience.

I remember day one in 2014, when myself and the team were unpacking brand new instruments for sterilisation on the floor, thinking I had no idea what they were used for.. Thinking back now on all that has been wonderful and a great change of work and life. To be given the opportunity to work for Armajun, the Poche Centre for Indigenous Health in the Central Tablelands servicing Boggabilla, Toomelah, Mungindi, Moree and Inverell and to be a proud holder of the Poche Rotary Sydney University Scholarship for a Cert IV in Dental Assisting has given me the kick I needed to further my studies and I have already taken a few steps towards doing a Bachelor of Oral Health to become an Oral Health Therapist.

Norma Binge

Certificate IV Dental Assisting, University of Sydney

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