Advancing women's health
For over 25 years, Flinders University medical graduate and health professional, Dr Lesley Shorne (BA ’81, BMBS ’84) worked tirelessly, using her medical knowledge and experience to support women’s health.
A leading forensic examiner and pioneer of cervical screening, Dr Shorne achieved significant improvements for women in the medical and legal processes relating to sexual assault. As a strong proponent of social justice, Dr Shorne was a committed advocate for the advancement of women, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds. She was a keen campaigner for their rights and for their health and worked to improve women’s health training programs.
In 2010, when Dr Shorne passed away at just 53 years of age, her family chose to create a scholarship at Flinders University to continue her important work in women’s health and advocacy.
The Dr Lesley Shorne Memorial Scholarship assists female, mature-entry Doctor of Medicine students with the costs associated with their courses and supports their study / life balance.
Proud to support her sister’s legacy, Dorothy Shorne says, ‘It is heartening to see the dedication to women’s health, social justice and equity that these students demonstrate. The scholarship benefits not only the recipients, but ultimately the patients with whom they work.’
Associate Professor Alison Jones, Dean of Education for the College of Medicine and Public Health has witnessed the positive impact the scholarship is having on her students. ‘There is much evidence among our students of their commitment to social justice, support for disadvantaged groups, and for giving a voice to those that may not be heard.'
Flinders University would like to thank the supporters of the Dr Lesley Shorne Memorial Scholarship for sharing Dr Shorne’s passion for positive change through advancing women’s health.
Read below the positive impact the scholarship is having on our medical students.
"Advocating for the rights of people within minority communities, particularly women, is something I am very passionate about." - Scholarship recipient, Vanshika Sinh
"Medicine to me feels like a calling. I took a somewhat winding road to get here, but I think that everything happens for a reason and studying at a slightly later point in my life will make me a more adaptable, relatable doc
Having this scholarship funding has allowed me to reduce the number of hours I would otherwise have had to work to help to support our small family during my studies. In has allowed me more time to focus on the amazing degree that is medicine and really be invested in what I am learning.
On a personal level, the scholarship has allowed me financial breathing room that has been absolutely invaluable. It has reduced my stress significantly over the year and made all the difference in being able to get involved in university life. I was able to become involved in the Women in Health committee as an Education Officer, and I was elected as the Flinders Medical Society Education Officer. I am so proud to hold these positions and contribute back to the medical school and know that I would not have been able to do this without this support.
The funds have contributed to many of our living expenses for the semester, including utility bills and I also set aside a portion of the funds to go towards educational costs such as textbooks and a subscription to an online anatomy portal which has been instrumental in assisting with my anatomy learning.”
"Advocating for the rights of people within minority communities, particularly women, is something I am very passionate about and is the reason I applied for medical school," says Vanshika.
"Receiving the scholarship has been a real privilege. It has taken some of the pressure off having to work while studying and has allowed me to instead dedicate this time to engage in learning about the inequality of the health care system for certain groups in society."
Driven by an interest to work within Indigenous communities, next year Vanshika will do her medical placement in the Northern Territory. She says, "I am very excited to have the opportunity work in the Alukura Women’s Health Service in Alice Springs, a centre that is dedicated to supporting Indigenous women and babies."
"Dr Shorne’s hard work and advocacy for women is something I have immense respect for, and her achievements have motivated me greatly.
There were many driving factors that led me to apply for post-graduate medicine. I always knew I wanted to have a job that I care deeply about and hold passion for. Medicine seemed to be an option for me to create connections and trusting professional relationships with others, all the while remaining constantly challenged due to the endless learning and career opportunities. Within this, a major driver for me was my interest in women’s health, social justice and gender equity.
When I was accepted into medicine I was determined to maintain this passion. Throughout my first two years as a medical student I have engaged in the Flinders Medical Students Society as the Women’s Officer and Director. My role has been to provide a platform for women of all diversities to feel safe to use their voice, be respected and feel empowered in medicine, and to facilitate open discussions around issues associated with medicine and gender. I was awarded the FMSS President’s Award in 2018 in recognition for my service in my role as Women’s Officer. Being presented with the Dr Lesley Shorne Memorial Scholarship has made me feel as though my efforts are meaningful and worthwhile, and have encouraged me to maintain my passion and to continue to advocate for women’s rights within medicine."
"My ultimate goal in studying medicine is to help those who are less fortunate. I am passionate about women’s health and trying to overcome the challenges that women face in accessing healthcare.
During my time on the island of Papua I bore witness to incredible amounts of suffering, trauma and hardship, and most often than not the burden was carried by the women.
It is great to be recognised by the community as someone who is willing to make a commitment to make the world a better place."
"It means such a great deal to receive the Dr Lesley Shorne Memorial Scholarship, I have always found myself tailoring my essays around women’s issues, so to win a scholarship for women, because of my passion for women’s rights is very fitting and rewarding.
This scholarship will help so much with supporting me through my degree. Having given up my job to study full-time, but still having to find the money for both children to be in day-care, this scholarship means I can actually afford to buy books or other study support tools that I otherwise wouldn't."
Dr Elizabeth Turtle BParamedicSc ’15, MD ‘19
2015 marked five years since Dr Lesley Shorne’s passing. Her family and friends came together for a special Memorial Dinner which provided a wonderful opportunity to celebrate Dr Shorne’s legacy and to announce the 2015 recipient, Casey Welsh. Passionate about rural health, Casey was thrilled to receive the scholarship to assist her through her Doctor of Medicine degree. She was also looking forward to completing a Graduate Certificate of Remote Health Practice alongside her medical training. This program was developed in collaboration with the Council of Remote Area Nurses and is offered on an external basis through the Centre for Remote Health in Alice Springs.
Dr Casey Welsh MD ’18, GradCertRemoteHlthPrac ‘18
Kim Vandok, Casey Welsh and Katherine Pensa
"I was thrilled and very excited to receive the scholarship. The financial support and networking opportunities have been invaluable. The field of work that Lesley was involved in is very close to my heart so I feel particularly grateful to be one of the recipients of the scholarship.
In addition to the gratitude that I have shared with the Shorne family, I want to make sure they know just how much their support means to the recipients of the scholarship, how privileged we all feel to be involved with Lesley’s work and how inspired we are by her outstanding contribution to her community."
Dr Kim Oates (née Vandok) BHlthSc ‘11, MD ’19
Kim Oates (right) with 2016 scholarship recipient Elizabeth Turtle
The scholarship was awarded to Genevieve in the year she took part in the Parallel Rural Community Curriculum (PRCC) program in Mount Gambier, as part of her medical degree.
"Being awarded the scholarship is a true honour, given how amazing and productive Lesley Shorne was, and continues to be in spirit.
The scholarship has motivated me to keep going with my studies and inspired me to look toward my future as a doctor and the kind of doctor I'd like to become.
I have always been interested in rural health and the PRCC program in Mount Gambier looked really appealing because students get a large amount of hands-on experience and are exposed to a diversity of health issues and clinical areas."
Dr Genevieve Mount BSc ’00, MD ’14
Genevieve Mount with Dr Lesley Shorne’s husband, Dermot Holden
The inaugural recipient of the Dr Lesley Shorne Memorial Scholarship, Katherine Pensa received the support in the final two years of her Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery. Katherine was incredibly grateful for the assistance as she looked to forward to finishing her degree and working towards her goal of becoming a General Practitioner. Katherine valued the warm community feeling the support and mentorship showed the next generation of practitioners.
Dr Katherine Pensa BMBS(GradEntry) ‘13
Kim Vandok, Casey Welsh and Katherine Pensa
Inspire the next generation of women in medicine by donating to the Lesley Shorne Memorial Fund to support the annual scholarship for female, mature-age medical students at Flinders University.
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