Kulpi Minupa scholarships support medicine students to go rural

Tarran Dun standing next to Adelaide Rural Clinical School banner

Medical student Tarran Dunn, along with six other peers, travelled 300 kilometres north of Adelaide to Port Augusta this winter for a pilot eight-week clinical placement program, Kulpi Minupa, working with local Aboriginal communities.

A partnership between the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the University’s Adelaide Rural Clinical School, the Kulpi Minupa program provides second-year medical students with hands-on learning opportunities. Kulpi means cloud and minupa means doctor in Nukunu language which is closely related to the Narungga and Thura-Yura languages spoken by the First Peoples of the Yorke Peninsula and surrounding areas. The Kulpi Minupa program provides each student with a scholarship of $1600 to cover living expenses for the duration of the program. The scholarship aims to ease the financial pressures on the students who do not get paid for the placement, but still need to cover their Adelaide living expense such as rent and utilities. 

The scholarships are made possible thanks to the generosity of the Hoopmann family. The Hoopmann Education Fund was established with a bequest from Don Hoopmann, to support medical students from and/or traveling to rural areas. 

“As both the son and father of rural GPs, my father was acutely aware of the importance of attracting doctors into the rural setting,” Jill Hoopmann said.

Jill Hoopmann and Kulpi Minupa Program students

Kulpi Minupa Program participants, together with donor Jill Hoopmann, from left to right: Alleah Maywald, Tarran Dunn, Kimberly Walters, Will Rooke, Jill Hoopmann, Lauren Fawcett and Gavin Regan.

“We as a family are delighted to channel funds from my father’s bequest into the Kulpi Minupa program and look forward to following the progress of students who are able to benefit from these scholarships.” 

As one of the inaugural recipients of the Kulpi Minupa Scholarship, Tarran is determined to make the most of this "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity". He is confident the program will connect him with doctors specialising in the field about which he is most passionate - paediatrics. 

“I want to specialise in paediatric surgery. With this placement, our main teacher/supervisor is a retired specialised paediatrician so getting that contact will be amazing.” 

“We will get an exposure to clinical placements earlier, which I’m really excited for,” Tarran said.

Career goals

“My long-term goal is to be a rural specialist doctor or surgeon. I hope to set up my own practice and then sponsor rural kids to get into medicine.”

Tarran, who is the first in his family to go to university, said the placement will provide a good opportunity to increase his indigenous health awareness.

“I’m looking forward to the challenge,” he said. 

The tenacious student, originally from Wallaroo, is used to a good challenge. He didn’t receive an offer to study medicine with the University until a last-minute spot opened up on 10 March 2021. Classes had already begun, and he had to quickly relocate to Adelaide at short notice.

“On day one of university, my first lesson was anatomy. I walked into the Ray Last Laboratories to a room of cadavers. I hadn’t even met anyone yet. It was a humbling experience I won’t forget.”

Kulpi Minupa Program students with Royal Flying Doctor Service plane

From left to right: Gavin Regan, Tarran Dunn, Will Rooke and Alleah Maywald

Health journey inspires interest in medicine

Tarran is interested in paediatrics for personal reasons. “When I was little, I had severe asthma from birth. I spent a lot of time in the emergency room for asthma attacks.

“Being in and out of hospital from a young age, I had a lot of interaction with doctors and nurses, and as I grew up, I had a strong urge to help people.
“All the doctors that were involved in my health journey while growing up are my role models – they inspired me to be interested in health and medicine,” Tarran said.

Message for donors

“This is an opportunity to provide a once-in-a-lifetime experience for medicine students. These experiences will make us better doctors - they help to refine our skills and knowledge for the future. It’s indescribable how grateful we all are to generous donors like the Hoopmann family. Without their financial support, we simply wouldn’t be able to undertake this placement.”Tarran Dunn
Tagged in philanthrophy, impact of giving, kulpi minupa program