A NSW Government website


Graduate program encourages future Indigenous leaders

District's Graduate Health Management Program helped Walter Towney give back to his community. 

SydneyConnect Video: Graduate Health Management Program participant Walter Towney

For Walter Towney, pursuing a career in healthcare is all about improving outcomes for his community.

Walter, a proud Gamilaroi man, is the Director of Performance Reporting and Clinical Services Support for RPA Virtual Hospital, the first virtual hospital in New South Wales.

“I lead a diverse group of amazing teams to support our clinical services to find technology to support our clinical teams not only virtually but also face-to-face,” he said.

With a Bachelor’s Degree in Business, Walter kick-started his journey towards a leadership role in healthcare by completing Sydney Local Health District’s Graduate Health Management Program.

“As an Aboriginal man it’s very important for me to give back to our communities. Going through the program and working in a range of roles has enabled me to give back to the community and improve health outcomes for Indigenous people,” Walter said.

The District also established the Sol Bellear Scholarship in partnership with the Aboriginal Medical Service Redfern to encourage future Aboriginal leaders in healthcare. Scholarship holders also complete the Graduate Health Management Program.

In 2019, Karinya Bellear was the recipient of the scholarship, which is named in honour of her uncle Sol Bellear, a Bundjalung man, who served as a long-time chair of AMS Redfern.

Karinya is now the Acting Manager of the District’s Executive Support Unit.

“Our District is committed to delivering high-quality, equitable and accessible healthcare for everyone in our community. To achieve our vision, it’s important that we strive for diversity in leadership,” Dr Teresa Anderson, the District’s Chief Executive, said.

“The Graduate Health Management Program and the Sol Bellear Scholarship are key to ensuring that our District’s leaders reflect the patients we serve and that we are best-placed to meet their needs,” Dr Anderson said.

Students enrolled in the program earn a Masters of Health Policy through the University of Sydney while undertaking work experience placements with leaders across the District over a two-year period.

The Masters degree covers the core principles of management and leadership and the work experience allows students to work closely with executive mentors and to get an insight into different aspects of the public health system.

The program is run by the District’s Centre for Education and Workforce Development and its Director Lesley Innes said the qualification helps graduates achieve career success.

“Walter and Karinya’s hard work and dedication have translated into career success and have made both of them a real asset to the District. Their career progression is evidence of how far our graduates can go with this qualification and experience behind them,” Lesley said.

Walter and Karinya are grateful for the opportunities that the program has given them.

“If you’re thinking about the program, I encourage you to get in touch and have a conversation today,” Walter said.

Applications are now being accepted for Sydney Local Health District’s Graduate Health Management Program.

To learn more and to apply, visit https://www.slhd.nsw.gov.au/jobs/graduate/default.html.

Applications will close at 11.59pm on Wednesday 17 August 2022.