Aaron Percival is a proud Gamilaroi man from Coonabarabran in North West NSW. In 2015, he graduated from the University of Newcastle with a Bachelor of Physiotherapy. Aaron is an active member of IAHA, having participated in the IAHA Health Fusion Team Challenge as a participant then as a graduate mentor.
A love of sport sparked Aarons interest in physiotherapy. “Since I was four years old, I have played everything from cricket, rugby league, soccer, you name it.”
“I have always wanted to be one of those people who ran on the field with their orange shirts. I think that’s where it started because I’ve always wanted to be involved in sports but never bothered to pursue playing a sport,” Aaron said.
Aaron is also motivated to support people in living healthy lives. “My passions lie in being able to educate people on how to be smarter in the decisions they make in terms of their physical health,” said Aaron.
Aaron says the road to becoming a physiotherapist, although not easy, is worth it.
“I went through my own struggles with course work, where I had to study and neglect life now and again. There is a lot of content studying physiotherapy, and finding a job in a relatively unstable environment with health and public health was a bit of an issue.”
“I went private straight off the bat, which has turned out to be one of the best things I ever did. My student placements at University were mainly in the public sector. Being in private practice allowed me to be more dynamic where I could influence the most change. For me, going into private practice was a gamble, but it paid off,” said Aaron.
Aaron says IAHA has supported his professional development as a student and a practising physiotherapist.
“The support from IAHA has enabled me to improve my knowledge for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health in general, as well as different management strategies for global improvement for Indigenous health. In addition, the partnerships that IAHA has created supported me to attend the IAHA national professional development events, which has contributed to my ongoing learning journey”.
“I feel that IAHA has been supportive when I have needed it. In addition, IAHA has been a good network for me to broaden my health horizons. It helps to have positive connections with people in and around the country for bouncing ideas off, even if it’s physiotherapy or not. I have found this type of inter-professional collaboration to be useful for even general disease management,” said Aaron.
If you want to influence change, Aaron recommends a career in allied health or health more broadly.
“If you want to make a real change, then allied health is where it’s at. Two of the greatest areas where we can improve our people’s health and well-being are health and education. So, if you don’t want to be a teacher, but you want to make a difference, then being a physiotherapist or allied health practitioner, doctor, nurse, or any health practitioner, is a great option,” said Aaron.