AMA Indigenous scholarship winner has his heart set on tackling chronic disease


A young Aboriginal man who wants to help reduce the high rates of chronic disease in Indigenous communities has won the AMA Indigenous Peoples’ Medical Scholarship for 2011.

Murray Haar was awarded the scholarship in Sydney today by AMA President, Dr Andrew Pesce.

Valued at $9,000 for each year of study, the scholarship provides support and encouragement for Indigenous students studying medicine.

The scholarship was established in 1995 with a contribution from the Commonwealth Government. It has also been supported by the Reuben Pelerman Benevolent Foundation. 

Mr Haar, a third year Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, and Bachelor of Science student at the University of New South Wales, says he would like to work in cardiology or mental health, as these are areas where he feels he can make the most difference to improve Indigenous health.

“The high rates of chronic disease in Indigenous communities, particularly mental illness and cardiovascular disease, is a key area which needs to be addressed in order to close the health gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people,” Mr Haar said.

“As a doctor, I would have a significant opportunity to help improve the health of Indigenous people because cardiovascular disease contributes so much to the burden of chronic disease in Indigenous communities.”

Mr Haar is a descendant of the Wiradjuri people of the Riverina, New South Wales. He says he hopes to inspire other Indigenous children to have similar goals and aspirations to study medicine.

“As a qualified medical practitioner, I will be able to contribute to my community, not just as a doctor, but as a role model to the younger generations of Indigenous people,” Mr Haar said.

Dr Pesce said the scholarship was designed to encourage and support Indigenous students who were preparing for careers in medicine, particularly to work in Indigenous communities.

“The AMA acknowledges the unique contribution of Indigenous health professionals to improving the health outcomes of Indigenous people,” Dr Pesce said.

“Assisting Indigenous medical students to complete their studies is a positive step toward ensuring there are more Indigenous health professionals to serve their communities.”


17 May 2011


CONTACT:     Geraldine Kurukchi                   02 6270 5467 / 0427 209 753