Volunteer of the Month, March 2023
Please share a brief overview of yourself:
Hi, I am Dr. Aayushi Bagga, a dentist from India and a public health enthusiast, currently in my final semester of the Master of Public Health. I envision creating a healthier future with community awareness through my passion in the field of healthcare. I strongly believe that public health is a powerful tool that can bridge the gap between healthcare access and disparity and lead us all to the path of equity.
What inspired you to become a LiverWELL volunteer?
When I learnt about the LiverWELL organisation I was inspired by their community outreach programs especially their initiatives to spread awareness amongst multilingual communities. Being a first-generation immigrant and an oral healthcare professional, I understand the lack of knowledge and gaps especially related to liver diseases and viral hepatitis in ethnic communities.
Stigma and discrimination create additional barriers to the treatment of such diseases. Hence by the commendable work done by LiverWELL, I was inspired to be a part of the change in this movement. As a public health enthusiast, I strongly believe that
“Be the change you wish to see in this world”
Do you have a particular interest in liver health?
Yes, as I belong to a middle-income country India, I acknowledge that liver diseases such as viral hepatitis is a serious public health problems putting huge social, economic, and mental health burdens on the individual affected.
In South East Asia alone, 100 million people are estimated to be suffering from hepatitis B and 30 million from hepatitis C.
After arriving in Australia, I realised that it is a significant public health issue even in developed countries. There is a lack of awareness of information gaps, lack of interpreter services and plain language statements, particularly for ethnic communities that further widens the gap between patients and healthcare providers.
I want to ensure and cultivate good health in my community.
Please describe one of your favourite LiverWELL experiences or moments.
The most memorable experience will be working with Pippa (the Community Engagement Coordinator) and Alain (Health Promotion Officer) on the Universities Project – it is such a “for purpose” project to be able to connect to university students and spread awareness on liver diseases that too in an engaging and a fun manner!
What tips do you have for new volunteers?
Be consistent and enjoy the journey more than the destination, if your purpose is close to your heart, it will always take you to the right path!
What’s next for you?
I am looking forward to completing my Masters in Public Health from the University of Melbourne by June this year and hopefully getting a step closer to my dream of envisioning a healthier society by working in a for-purpose organisation and bringing small changes every day through my work and passion!