Lending a helping hand

RMIT University and Hands on Health Australia (HoHA) have teamed up to deliver a student outreach health clinic to Indigenous football and netball club, the Fitzroy Stars.

RMIT Chiropractic student Conor Zyskowski with Fitzroy Stars FC player Gary Saunders

HoHA is an organisation committed to delivering quality health care to marginalised communities across Australia through training, education, research and treatment.  The partnership is giving RMIT’s Chiropractic and Exercise Science students important hands-on experience that is credited to their studies, while providing treatment to a community which might not otherwise have access to these key health services.

The partnership was officially launched on April 26 at the Club’s home ground in Thornbury, opening the doors to the first Indigenous HoHA Integrative Clinic. Fitzroy Stars football player Keith Morgan who has been part of the club for over seven years has already experienced firsthand the benefits of the clinic.

“It’s been a great opportunity for the players to receive treatment while being educated about being more proactive in staying on top of our physical health” he said.

The Fitzroy Stars Football and Netball Club focuses on more than just sport, creating a club culture where healthy lifestyles are promoted and reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities is a priority, and this has been a valuable part of the experience for RMIT students.

RMIT Chiropractic student Krissie Dowlin completed her clinical placement at the Fitzroy Stars, and says it is a time she looks back on fondly.

“My time at the Fitzroy Stars not only helped develop my diagnostic and examination skills as a health professional, but opened my eyes to the importance of this club for the broader community,” she said.

“My experience at the club has allowed me to further understand Indigenous culture and has ignited the passion in me to take part in and hopefully even facilitate similar programs in the future.”

CEO of HoHA, Franca Smarrelli praised the dynamic of the partnership,

“HoHA provides the clinic and integrated health model, RMIT provides quality education innovation and collaboration through its School of Health and Biomedical Sciences and the Fitzroy Stars have the opportunity to educate the broader community about Indigenous culture,” Smarrelli said.

“It is a three way partnership that provides so much mutual benefit– we are excited and proud to have formalised this relationship.”

RMIT Discipline leader of Chiropractic, Dein Vindigni is excited for the future of the partnership and its potential to soon offer a wider range of treatments. 

Story: Maddy Pattison

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  • Student experience
  • Indigenous Australia

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