The First Peoples issue of Health Check featured two outstanding alumni who have made extraordinary impacts in their chosen professions. We reconnected with Brisbane GP Dr Samarra Toby and Toowoomba dentist Dr Michael Baker to ask them about their journey to being remarkable.
Dr Michael Baker
Inspired by a desire to make a difference to First Peoples health, Michael Baker was nationally recognised for his efforts even before completing his studies in both business and dentistry at Griffith University.
Michael and his brother David, also an award-winning alumnus, were instrumental in setting up a free dental clinic in remote Cherbourg through Hope4Health and now run a successful dental practice in Toowoomba.
Acknowledging the importance of quality education and a solid business plan, Michael has worked hard and smart to achieve his goals.
Q: What are your proudest achievements to date?
A: One of my proudest achievements to date was being accepted into the School of Dentistry and Oral Health after successfully completing my Bachelor of Business degree with Griffith. Another was being nominated and selected as one of four state finalists for the Young Australian of The Year Awards 2015.
Q: How did your education set you up for success?
A: My eight consecutive years of full-time study at Griffith helped me grow and shape me into the confident person I am today. The training I received during my studies at Griffith dental school was of a high standard and prepared me for the real world of dentistry.
Dr Samarra Toby
Dr Toby is an Indigenous GP who graduated from the Griffith School of Medicine in 2008 and established a career in rural health.
When her son, Arty, was diagnosed with autism Dr Toby moved to Brisbane and not only focused on ways to help her own child but also to create affordable resources for others.
The result was www.theautismtoolkit.com and provides resources including an app for children living with autism and their families.
Q: What are your proudest accomplishments so far?
A: Graduating with a medical degree and being an autism mummy. My studies gave me the research skills to make life better for Arty and having a child with autism has allowed me to meet the most amazing autism parents all over the world.
Q: How else did university help you become remarkable?
A: Griffith provided a rigorous medical and surgical training program with culturally appropriate and inclusive learning and support. I was blessed and would like to acknowledge Uncle Graham Dillon for his role in supporting me through my studies. Without Griffith and my medical degree the amazing life I have now would not have been possible.