Scholarship supports talented young doctor through study

Dr Darren Vaotuua was donating his time in a remote community when he realised his dream to become a doctor working in paediatric orthopaedics. 

The physiotherapist was giving back as part of a voluntary medical support program in Vanuatu when a nine-year-old boy came to him for help. 

“He had an obvious fracture of his elbow, but I could do little more at that time than give him a sling, some paracetamol… It was then I knew I wanted to become a doctor,” Dr Vaotuua said.

However, the prospect of leaving a stable job and returning to study was daunting. 

“Talking it over with my wife and kids, we added up the cost of leaving a position as a senior physiotherapist for the student life studying Medicine at UQ,” Dr Vaotuua said. 

“We had a mortgage and two beautiful girls who needed nurturing and support to chase their own dreams and so it didn’t make sense, it didn’t add up, but we just knew it was right.” 

Dr Vaotuua said that despite trying his hardest to balance work, family and study commitments, the crunch came when he started medical rotations in the final two years of his degree. 

“As my studies progressed, going into the rotation years, medicine asked for more of my time. 

Dr Vaotuua said he was fortunate enough to be able to continue his studies after he was awarded the TV Stubbs-Brown Medical Student Scholarship, a scholarship established by Ailsa Munro in memory of her late husband, who was an orthopaedic surgeon. 

“The TV Stubbs-Brown Medical Student Scholarship came in and made such a difference, it was really an answered prayer,” Dr Vaotuua said. 

“Almost the exact amount I would lose in income by having my hours cut was made up by the support received by that scholarship. 

“To the family of Ailsa Munro and Dr TV Stubbs-Brown, my family and I are forever indebted.” “Scholarships like this fuel and support dreams.” 

Darren has since graduated from medicine and is currently completing his internship at Sunshine Coast University Hospital. 

He is well on his way pursuing his long-term goal of working in paediatric orthopaedics. 

By supporting scholarships today, your generosity can fuel the dreams of students and help us bring more compassionate and talented young doctors out into the community.

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