A Charles Sturt University academic and former Trangie resident, Dr Faye McMillan recently graduated from a prestigious and competitive program that will see her travel to Oxford University in 2019 to help drive positive social change.
Dr Faye McMillan is the CSU Director of the Djirruwang Program and Associate Professor in the School of Nursing Midwifery and Indigenous Health at Wagga Wagga campus.
She was humbled and privileged to join the the Atlantic Fellowship program that was only open to 15 people.
Dr McMillan is a Wiradjuri woman and grew up in central west, NSW at Trangie with four siblings and a very committed mother and Grandmother.
She said it doesn't matter where you come from and that if you want to be somewhere you’ll make it happen.
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The memories of growing up in a rural town was “amazing” Dr McMillan said, who also says that Trangie will always be her be home.
“The lifelong friendships that are still maintained to this day having left 20 odd years ago, are still there and I can still go back and feel like that’s my home,” she said.
“Anywhere I go I take it with me. I’m always a Trangie girl at heart.”
Pursuing the mental health industry wasn’t a conscious thought, Dr McMillan said, rather it just seemed to happen.
Her journey in the mental health sector began when she worked as a dispensary assistant in Trangie pharmacy many years ago before moving away to become a pharmacist.
Afterwards Dr McMillan worked in various communities and it was while in that role she was asked to become an academic.
Dr McMillan said she started working with colleagues in the mental health department and has been in the Indigenous health sector ever since.
The Fellowship foundation began with the bricks and mortar investment but has evolved, and today the focus is on people and connecting with Fellows, she said.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders are invited to apply for the intensive 12-month Atlantic Fellowship program to undertake 91 days of face-to-face teaching and travel across Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and to the United Kingdom.
Dr McMillan said acceptance into the program was competitive, with donor organisations putting forward leaders from across Australia and New Zealand who if selected were invited to apply for the program.
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“I’m most definitely looking forward to being in a room with people who value the human experience and what that means for each of the different hubs,” Dr McMillan said of going to Rhodes House at Oxford University in July next year.
Dr McMillan has also been working with the Melbourne Accelerator Program to develop a smartphone app that will allow people to connect with their family, friends.
The app is called ‘I Care for You’ and aims to address the loneliness people can feel when they are disconnected and isolated.
“In a world of connected society we’ve become disconnected form each other,” Dr McMillan said.
She said the app is about making sure you maintain contact with the people who you love and who you love , particularly during times of vulnerability.
“I think it reminds us we are in relationships and like any relationship we need to work on them,” Dr McMillan said.
“But that includes being confident enough to reach out when we need them to support us as we would be there to support them if they needed to reach out to us as well.”