Global Voices scholarship to help Melissa make a difference in rural communities

Published:26 April 2019

CQUniversity Bachelor of Paramedic Science student Melissa Speed is one of four Global Voices scholars representing Australia at the 72nd session of the World Health Organisationā€™s World Health Assembly.

CQUniversity Bachelor of Paramedic Science student Melissa Speed will shortly set off to Geneva, Switzerland for the 72nd session of the World Health Organisation’s World Health Assembly (WHA).

As one of four WHA Global Voices scholars, Melissa will hear from international experts in public health, health promotion, and development, through a range of agenda items from May 20 to 28.

Inspired by the recent heartache in her hometown of Emerald, Melissa was delighted to find out that her Global Voices application had been successful.

“Last year, the Emerald community experienced heartache when several young people took their own lives. These events highlighted to me the importance of broadening mental health awareness in rural communities, and formed the foundation of my application," Ms Speed said.

"I spent most of my time researching and reading journal articles about young people and suicide, and Australia’s current mental health services and where these are offered."

Melissa said she hoped to gain a variety of skills and knowledge during this once of a lifetime opportunity.

“I’m keen to expand my knowledge of the intersection between foreign policy and domestic policies, health technology, and Australia’s major health priorities and how we plan to address them,” Ms Speed said.

“In addition, I think this opportunity will help me become a more efficient and conclusive health care professional.”

As part of the Global Voices Scholarship Program, Melissa said she recently attended a Pre-Departure Briefing in Canberra.

“The trip was fully-booked with interesting meetings. I had the opportunity to meet my fellow scholars, who are all from different disciplines and backgrounds, and have such inspirational stories and ambitions,” Ms Speed said.

“During the briefing, we were given an overview of how to write a policy paper by senior policymakers. This was very exciting as it isn't something covered in my degree, and I believe it’s a step in the right direction to achieving my career goals.

“I am now in the process of developing an individual policy paper on a topic related to the delegation agenda - Mental Health and Suicide Prevention in Rural and Remote Australian, with a primary focus on young people.

"The paper will include key recommendations for domestic policy implementation, and will be published in the Global Voices online journal."

Another CQUni student, Renee Cremer, will also travel in May with Global Voices. Ms Cremer has been selected among six scholars representing Australia at the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Forum in Paris.

*Global Voices is offered to CQUniversity students as part of the CQUGlobal Outbound Program. Global Voices is a not-for-profit organisation that identifies and develops the next generation of Australian leaders by providing practical experience in foreign policy and international relations. Thanks to university partners including CQUniversity, Global Voices places are provided at minimal cost to the delegates. Details via