PHYSIOTHERAPY STUDENTS PRESENTATION
Annabelle, Alysha, Anne and Rebecca
On Oct 28th Pat Mitchell and Chris Sitka attended the presentation at Melbourne University of the project that the four physiotherapy students did with Matrix. They have created an educational video for distribution to students in the health professions in which they encourage respect and counter discrimination against lesbians (and other LGBTI people). The star of the video is our own committee member Pat Mitchell!
The student team consisting of three young lesbians and one heterosexual woman (Annabelle, Anne, Alysha and Rebecca) have done a superlative job and created a far reaching resource. Through their hard work in networking with ‘the authorities’ their work will be also taken up by the whole Health Department of Melbourne University and distributed wider to social worker networks and other universities. After their session they were also approached and encouraged to take it to an international conference and distributed it to other South East Asian countries with translation.
This is a remarkable achievement of advancing education of health professionals towards ending discrimination against older lesbians and is probably one of the most beneficial partnerships Matrix has entered into with any other group. It promises to have far reaching positive consequences.
Whilst there I talked to several of the lecturers and there is no doubt that they have a very high regard for our students and the work they have done in collaboration with Matrix. And this work will reverberate far and wide.
Of the 20 groups who presented on the day theirs was far and away the most outstanding. It was a highly emotional experience with the students declaring how much of an honour it was to work with a group of intelligent, activists such as Matrix and how much they appreciated the work we had done in breaking through discriminations against both lesbians and women in general. The presenters were crying, their supervisors were crying and so were many of the other students! They got a heart felt standing ovation from their peers and Pat and Chris got lots of praise, kudos and appreciation.
The difference from the other students, who also did very worthwhile community engagement projects with other ‘minority’ groups such as refugees, disability groups, indigenous groups, etc. was that our project addressed discrimination in an activist way – rather than simply providing a health promotion program (e.g. exercise and meditation sessions).
The deeper quality of our project was a result of the way our students consulted with us and took up our suggestions and then developed them to another level due to their own commitment and unique talents. It is en excellent example of what collaboration between older and younger lesbians can create.
Louisa Remedios who develop the Healthcare in Context subject so that Doctor of Physiotherapy students would learn to relate to the whole person, rather than the mere mechanics of physio treatment, has asked if she can recommend more lesbian students to work with us in the future. As our four students were presenting this video at their final assessment before graduating.
However they would like to get together with Matrix one last time to screen the video, have a discussion and a celebration of the achievement. Hopefully this can happen before the end of the year. I would encourage members to attend to show our appreciation for what we have all achieved.
Our treasurer Pat Mitchell will be world famous for a start!
I found attending the presentation inspiring and a demonstration of just what Matrix is achieving and generating as an organisation. I would encourage more members to become involved in future projects such as this. We are constantly being asked to attend consultations, talk with health professionals and such like.