Dr Catherine Pendrey is a New Fellow of the RACGP and completed her FARGP with an advanced skill in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. She has worked across the Northern Territory, providing chronic disease, primary health and emergency care services.
Despite growing up in Melbourne, Catherine was always attracted to rural and remote health.
‘I’ve always been very interested in connecting with people from different backgrounds.’
‘A lot of rural and remote communities struggle to recruit and retain general practitioners, so can face challenges accessing primary healthcare. It’s quite motivating to be working in an area where you have the opportunity to improve access to healthcare.’
In medical school, Catherine undertook an extended rural placement, participated in the John Flynn Placement Program and completed a medical elective in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. In 2017, she moved to the NT to undertake GP training in Alice Springs, Katherine and the remote Central Australia region. Catherine obtained her Fellowship of the RACGP in 2019 and FARGP in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health in 2020.
‘ People experience their health as a whole person, and in general practice you have the opportunity to provide holistic care from the cradle to the grave.’
The more time I spent working in hospital, the more interested I became in helping people stay out of it. People would prefer to be healthy and living their lives …. As a GP, you’re able to form relationships with patients and get to know them as people. You have the opportunity to focus on preventative health and work with people to help them achieve their health goals.’
Catherine sees it as a privilege to be able to live and work in remote Aboriginal communities and learn from First Australians.
‘Having the opportunity to connect with and learn from Traditional Owners and healers has been a really special experience in my medical training.’