The Balnaves Foundation has committed $2.9 million over the last nine years to fund nine scholarships for Indigenous students to study medicine. Each scholarship is $25,000 for every year of their six year degree. The grant also includes funding for two annual prizes. One is for academic performance and extra-curricular activites related to Indigenous Health. The other prize is for the best 'Independent Learning Project' based on Indigenous health. UNSW aims to produce high quality Indigenous medical graduates who are committed to improving the state of Indigenous health, mentoring medical undergraduates and acting as role models in their communities. With health conditions in some Indigenous communities at third world levels, and currently only 140 Indigenous medical practitioners, there is an urgent need for more Indigenous doctors. The Balnaves Foundation provides these scholarships as it recognises that one of the main difficulties Indigenous students face is financial, with many having disadvantaged backgrounds and financial responsibilities above and beyond that of non-Indigenous students.
In 2013 the first Balnaves scholar Andrew Julian, graduated.
The Balnaves Foundation donated $1.5 million to build a new centre for Nura Gili. Nura Gili provides student support services for Indigenous students, conducts research into Indigenous issues and also provides courses of study - for all students at UNSW - on Indigenous Australia's people, culture and history. Balnaves Place - Home of Nura Gili provides a central hub for Nura Gili with state-of-the-art technological facilities, a library and study areas. The new centre is an essential part of UNSW's plan to increase Indigenous enrolments to 500 by 2015. There are currently 379 Indigenous students enrolled at UNSW, many of whom have been assisted by the pre-programs and education pathways offered by Nura Gili. These services have resulted in retention rates close to those of non-Indigenous students. Balnaves Place - Home of Nura Gili opened in October 2012.
Neil Balnaves is a member of the Advisory Council and Dean's Circle of the UNSW Faculty of Medicine. In 2010 he was recognised for his service to the faculty with an Honorary Doctorate.
Dec 15, 2014
Indigenous doctors graduate from UNSW: 'An opportunity to give back to the community ... Indigenous and non-Indigenous'
Feb 13, 2014
Dr Julian is the first indigenous student to graduate from the University of NSW on a scholarship from the Balnaves Foundation.