Aboriginal father, daughter become Queensland’s first Indigenous intergenerational doctors
Photo: Gemma Hayman is now following in her doctor father Noel Hayman’s footsteps (ABC TV News)
Map: Brisbane 4000
A father and daughter from Brisbane, Noel and Gemma Hayman, have become Queensland’s first Indigenous intergenerational doctors.
Mr Hayman made history in 1990 when he was one of two Aboriginal people to graduate in medicine from the University of Queensland.
His daughter is now following in her father’s footsteps.
“I’m so honoured to have another generation of Indigenous doctors coming through,” Mr Hayman said.
Photo: Former prison guard Gemma Hayman has finished postgraduate studies in medicine and is now interning at Logan Hospital. (Photo courtesy of Gemma Hayman)
“When I started, there was only about five or six Aboriginal doctors across Australia.
“Now we have about 250, and about 250 Aboriginal medical students studying.”
Ms Hayman recently finished postgraduate studies in medicine and is now interning at Logan Hospital, south of Brisbane.
However, she was not always sure a career in medicine was the right path.
My father’s been probably my role model my whole life and I’m just grateful that he brought me up right and gave me a good grounding in life.
The 31-year-old has also worked as a prison guard and a police officer.
“I had to try the other things first so I knew what I was doing,” she said.
“I’m glad that I had that experience, but I think medicine suited me as I got a bit older.”
Mr Hayman remembers his own studies, which he began in 1985.
“Gemma was about two years old, and I used to take her to lectures when I went to medical school,” he said.
“Some of my mates still remember Gemma coming with me to lectures over at Herston.”
Dr Hayman said he encouraged his daughter to consider a career in medicine for years and was thrilled when she did.
“It’s a real big buzz for a Dad to see their daughter come through and doing well,” he said
“I’m sure she’s going to do well in the future, because she’s very committed and very passionate about working with the community.”
The medical careers of both father and daughter have stemmed from a desire to help close the gap in Indigenous health.
“I had brothers with diabetes and sisters with diabetes,” Mr Hayman said.
It’s a real big buzz for a Dad to see their daughter come through and doing well … she’s very committed and very passionate about working with the community.
Dr Noel Hayman
“Medicine just seemed fascinating to me, so I just sort of went from there.”
Dr Hayman now runs the Southern Queensland Centre of Excellence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Primary Health Care in Inala, which has over 10,000 registered patients.
“A lot of patients come to me and they say, ‘Look, Noel, we can relate with you much better than what we do with non-Indigenous doctors’, and they say they can open up and explain more about what’s going on,” he said.
“You know there are some predictions that it will take 30 years to close the gap.
“But I can see big benefits just by targeting primary care and keeping Aboriginal people well through their life span.”
Photo: Gemma Hayman was also a Queensland police officer. (File photo courtesy of Gemma Hayman)
Ms Hayman credits her father’s dedication to his work for inspiring her to follow suit.
“My father’s been probably my role model my whole life and I’m just grateful that he brought me up right and gave me a good grounding in life,” she said.
“I think it’s pretty amazing what he’s doing.
“He has a passion for Indigenous health and loves working in the area so it doesn’t make work a chore for him.”
Once she finishes her rotations at Logan Hospital, Ms Hayman is hoping to specialise in forensic psychiatry.
Mr Hayman hopes this may mean an opportunity to work alongside his daughter.
“Hopefully Gemma will come along and maybe do a psych registrar term with us in the community out at Inala,” he said.