DR Crystal Pidgeon, who grew up in Longreach, Qld, and now works in Adelaide and at Port Augusta, has been recognised with the 2013 Rural Registrar of the Year Award for her outstanding work in general practice and Aboriginal health.
She was presented with the award at a recent gala dinner at Cairns, Qld, as part of Rural Medicine Australia, Telstra Rural Doctors Association of Australia and the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine national conference.
College president Richard Murray said he was delighted to be recognising a young doctor for her dedication, the inspiration she has provided to others, and her outstanding clinical skills.
"Crystal graduated from the rural medical school at Rockhampton after completing her undergraduate degree in Science and Education at the University of Qld," he said.
"She is undertaking an advanced specialised training term in Aboriginal Health in SA, focusing on chronic disease prevention, as well as a Masters in Public Health and Tropical Medicine.
"She currently spends her time between working as a doctor at the Pika Wiya Aboriginal Medical Service at Port Augusta, and completing a clinical research Fellowship with the Centre for Excellence in Chronic Disease Prevention in Rural and Remote Communities at the University of South Australia, Adelaide."
Prof Murray said the "talented, enthusiastic and committed" doctor, was gifted in patient communication, and a passionate advocate for rural health," he said.
"We are honoured to be able to recognise her contribution, and privileged to have her completing the ACRRM rural pathway," he said.
Crystal says she is thrilled to be recognised for doing something she is so passionate about.
"I always wanted to be a doctor, and I could only ever imagine myself working in a rural area," she said.
"I just love working in Aboriginal health. I am always learning something from working in an indigenous community - their 40,000 years of rich culture is just not something you really grasp doing cultural awareness training.
"I also really enjoy the team environment involved in working with Aboriginal health workers.
"When I finish my GP training, I am planning on moving back closer to home and working in Beaudesert hospital."
Association president Ian Kamerman said Crystal was an outstanding role model for other rural medical students and young doctors enrolled along with her in the Adelaide To Outback GP Training Program.
"Crystal actively seeks out opportunities to share her experience with other registrars in the program," Dr Kamerman said.
"She facilitates sessions and speaks about her experiences working with rural communities, as well as cultural awareness when dealing with Aboriginal or Torres Straight Islander patients in a hospital setting.
"She has made positive contributions to all of her practice placements throughout her training, which have included emergency and retrieval medicine through the Royal Flying Doctor Service, solo general practice, GP surgery and Aboriginal health.
"She also works with the RFDS doing women's health clinics in remote SA.
"Crystal has shown herself to be an outstanding doctor, and we are privileged to have her as a rural practitioner."
*Full report in Stock Journal, November 21 issue, 2013.