Introducing the Moving Lymph Scholarship Recipient for 2020

Patti-Ann Dodd is a massage therapist and yoga teacher who describes her Central Queensland community as wonderful and inspiring.

Patti was one of many worthy applicants, and I found it really difficult to choose between them. The scholarship application asked for a description of the identified need within the therapists area, and almost everyone wrote about the tyranny of distance, large proportions of elderly people within the community, and being frequently asked for help with chronic oedema.

These issues are ubiquitous to most centres outside the major cities, and the reason the scholarship was established in the first place. Read more at #TalkingLymph.

Another Moving Lymph strategy is to bring courses and workshops to regional centres. If you live in regional Australia and think there is enough interest in your area to support any of our courses, please vote for your region in our Regional Courses Survey.

Applications for the 2021 Moving Lymph Scholarship will be announced in the MLD Newsletter

Deciding on the successful application was harder than I thought it would be, I wanted to give it to everyone! Ironically COVID19 helped me a bit as a few applicants had to withdraw, and I hope they will be in a position to apply again in the future. But it was still a difficult job choosing between the final few as it couldn't be decided on the basis of most need, there is extreme need everywhere...

So I had to look to the other scholarship criteria which included an essay on why the applicant considered themselves an appropriate recipient, letters of recommendation from within the local health community, and a description of how they intend to offer their new skills on graduation.

Patti's application stood out because of her clear prospects for referrals from the health community, and her expressed desire to ensure that vulnerable groups are able to access her services. To achieve this Patti will offer Dr Vodder's MLD treatment at her Palm View clinic, and plans to establish visiting clinics for more remote people affected by chronic oedema.

Patti made valuable connections with the Cancer Council of Queensland and the Leukaemia Foundation during her own experience with cancer, and this is how she first became aware of the need for lymphoedema services in Central Queensland. With only one NLPR listed therapist within 200km of Rockhampton, Patti's scholarship application was supported by her GP whose experience includes Clinical Director of the local Breast Screen service. Dr Kleinschmidt's letter of recommendation described a scarce supply of skilled practitioners to refer to in the private sector, and highlighted the nature of regional health infrastructure which means that even when people have the necessary skills they frequently do not stay long-term, or change roles.

The Scholarship application also asked for a five-year plan, and for Patti this includes training in Oncology Massage. Her current client group spans pregnant women and the elderly. She plans to volunteer in the geriatric and palliative care wards at Rockhampton Base Hospital (after COVID) and to offer some pro-bono treatments to people who may be otherwise too disadvantaged to access treatment.

Patti also wrote about her concerns around the shorter life span, higher levels of disease and injury, and poorer access to health services among Australians living in rural and remote areas, and intends to travel out to some smaller communities as she understands how physically, mentally and financially difficult it can be for people to come to larger towns for treatments.

As a requirement of the scholarship Patti, will post to her blog on light bulb moments and clinical observations as she practices her new skills. I look forward to meeting Patti and reading about her experiences in becoming a qualified Dr Vodder Practitioner.

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