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July 2007 Issue
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Young professional of the year


University of Adelaide academic Dr Eleanor Parker has been named Australia's 2007 Young Professional of the Year by Professions Australia.

Dr Parker, 29, is a lecturer in the School of Dentistry who previously worked as a clinical dentist in Port Augusta and was involved with teaching and research through the Spencer Gulf Rural Health School in both Port Augusta and Whyalla.

She lived in Port Augusta for a number of years after graduating from the University of Adelaide in 2000 and played a significant role in establishing a dental service for the Aboriginal community within the Pika Wiya Health Service.

"I went to a public high school in Whyalla and shared classes with a number of Aboriginal students. I became aware of a number of the issues they face and had an idea that this was an area where I could get involved and achieve something," Dr Parker said.

"After I completed my dental training I found out that the local Aboriginal community really wanted a dental service and that motivated my decisions."

Dr Parker returned to the University of Adelaide in 2006 and is now the co-ordinator of first year clinical practice. However she still has strong links with Pika Wiya through her research and assists the current staff with planning and recruitment.

She said she was "very flattered" by the Young Professional of the Year award, which she hoped would be shared by the many dentists who were working in remote areas of Australia. "I have been lucky to work with some very committed people," she said.

Dr Parker was nominated by the Australian Dental Association and was chosen from what the President of Professions Australia, Mr Frank Payne, described as "a particularly strong field".

The award is intended to encourage and recognise the achievements of young professionals who have demonstrated a noteworthy commitment to excellence and innovation and worked to promote their profession as a whole. Professions Australia is the business name of the Australian Council of Professions.

Story by Nick Carne

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