Trangie's Faye McMillan receives 2019 NSW Aboriginal Woman of the Year award

RECOGNISED: The 2019 NSW Aboriginal Woman of the Year Associate Professor Faye McMillan. Photo: CONTRIBUTED

RECOGNISED: The 2019 NSW Aboriginal Woman of the Year Associate Professor Faye McMillan. Photo: CONTRIBUTED

The 2019 NSW Aboriginal Woman of the Year is Trangie's very own Associate Professor Faye McMillan. 

A proud Wiradjuri woman, Dr McMillan was one of seven award recipients at the NSW Women of the Year awards in Sydney.

She's had an impressive career focused on Indigenous health, is an inaugural Atlantic Fellow, and a founding member of Indigenous Allied Health Australia.

Dr McMillan said it was "surreal" to have received the award, but thanks the community of Trangie for helping her become who she is today. 

"I didn't expect it at all … I honestly didn't think I had a chance in hell," Dr McMillan said. 

"I'm so proud of where I come from and I know a small community built me.

"I'm still a member of the Lands council out there, I dial in for meetings, because whilst I don't live there I'm passionate about making sure that future generations grow up in a community that was very influential to me."

Dr McMillan is also the Australia's first Aboriginal pharmacist, graduating in 2001. She said one of her main passion lies in the recruitment and retention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people into allied health professions. 

"Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are underrepresented in health and particularly in allied health," she said. 

"Over the previous decades we've seen a push for more Indigenous doctors and Indigenous nurses, but what we need is almost everything in the health sector.

For Dr McMillan it's important to encourage people to pursue and value any role within the health system.

"You can be a doctor if you want to be, in my case I wanted to be a pharmacist and the general conversation was you're smart enough to be a pharmacist, why don't you be a doctor," Dr McMillan said.

"I didn't want to be a doctor I wanted to be a pharmacist. So I think we've got to show value everywhere."

She said it's also important that everyone has access to a high standard of health services, no matter your location. 

"My passion for health is that everybody needs it, we all need to be healthy and that's more than just physical health."

"I think that's why I'm drawn to the mental health, in that it plays such a crucial role in individuals, families and communities and if we can allow people to flourish and be the best version of themselves that they can be then society is a much nicer place and we're kinder and gentler to each other.

"I know I'm a country girl at heart and live in the country because that resonates with me, but I also know we need health professionals in regional, rural and remote areas of this country because everybody deserves to have a high standard of health and you should have health services even if you live in the country."