Charles Darwin University Bachelor of Nursing student Stuart McGrath is the 2021 NT Young Australian of the Year, in recognition for his passion for improving health outcomes in his local community.
Mr McGrath, who is an Aboriginal health practitioner in the Elcho Island community of Galiwinku, has just completed the first year of his degree remotely while juggling full-time work and being a father to two young girls.
He received the prestigious award last night in Darwin and will join winners from the other states and territories for the national awards on 25 January 2021.
Mr McGrath said his nomadic upbringing had given him insight into the importance of good health practices in remote Indigenous communities.
He said Yolŋgu people were dying at an unnecessary age, along with their knowledge and wisdom … and that's what inspired him to seek a role in health.
Mr McGrath is set to become first ever Yolŋgu registered nurse when he completes his degree with CDU.
In addition to his studies and full-time job, Mr McGrath also helped produce the “Ask the Specialist” podcast, with the Menzies School of Health Research, to improve communication between health professionals and patients.
Mr McGrath is committed to closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians and said he hoped his passion for helping his community would inspire other First Nations young people to participate in the health workforce, leading to happier and healthier lives for Indigenous Australians.