Name: Haylee Walsh
Pursuit: Environmental Grant – Medical Research
Haylee is a fourth year medical student undertaking a research project in International Health. She is travelling overseas to make a difference in the lives of women in Phnom Penh, the capital of the kingdom of Cambodia. The Advanced Medical Science project is self-funded so the grant money will go a long way to assisting her including getting an interpreter to effectively communicate with the women she is hoping to assist. The goal is to help and empower Cambodian women who use drugs to get the information, services and support they need to look after themselves and their unborn baby if they, intentionally or accidently, become pregnant.
When did you start? I started studying medicine in 2008, after year 12. As part of my course, I am required to complete a year-long research project on a medically- or health-related topic of my choice. I officially began the research in July 2010, and arrived in Cambodia 7 weeks ago to begin collecting data.
Career highlight or biggest achievement? My research project hasn't really got a 'glory' or achievement aspect to it, it's just working quietly away, speaking with the people who are most vulnerable, those who normally don't have a voice, to try to determine the best way to help them, what they need, etc.
What is your dream? My dream in this respect is to produce a report that provides organisations with sufficient information to best help the women in my target group, that is, women who use drugs during pregnancy. For too long women have been overlooked in terms of health care and support, and so I really hope that my report can contribute to bridging this gap. My research is on a very small scale, so I'm not aiming to change the world, but to make a difference in someone's life. If my report can make it better for even just one Cambodian women who becomes pregnant while using drugs, I will be happy.
Who or what have inspired you?
Who's your hero? Anyone who stays to true to what they believe in and encourages others to do the same is a hero in my eyes. It's so easy to just follow the crowd, but the ones who stand out for me are the ones who can see beauty in everyone and who help others to believe in themselves.
Any other special talents? I am currently working towards my black belt in Taekwondo, only two major milestones away (I have my red belt), although I'm not sure if for me that's a talent, it's more about perseverance.
Favourite Music? I like a lot of different sounds, but have a very big soft spot for acoustic live music.
Favourite Movie? Casablanca. And
Favourite TV Show?
Favourite Food? At the moment, I'm in love with all things Cambodian... especially their curries and stir-fried noodles. But I can't live without chocolate.
How the grant will help you/how will you use the money? The grant has helped me to cover the costs associated with the research, including accommodation, transport and living expenses while I'm in Cambodia. It also allowed me to fund a trip to an Indian village, where I was able to experience elements of Primary Health Care at it's best in a development setting. It has also helped me to provide tokens of appreciation to the women who shared their stories with me. The grant has retrospectively lifted the financial burden off my shoulders so I can focus on my research whole-heartedly, not having to worry about money, especially when I return from overseas in a few weeks.
Last words: Quote or Motto you live by? At the moment, I'm in love with all things Cambodian... especially their curries and stir-fried noodles. But I can't live without chocolate.