Health care and a forgotten jar of iced coffee


Rocketship Profile: Morgan Lemin

Healthcare and a forgotten jar of iced coffee

By David Gilchrist

Morgan Lemin sat at a table by an window in a café. The café, in the inner-city Brisbane suburb of Newfarm, lays in the purview of prestige car dealers, artisan galleries, gentrified warehouses turned apartments and more cafes. 

Through the window, winter sun warmed Morgan’s face and a breeze stole the warmth. By the window, rests her jar of iced coffee or perhaps it was milky tea. It was almost forgotten, but not quite. Morgan Lemin is absorbed in the work she is doing on a laptop. She is busy doing her work for Rocketship.

Morgan interrupts her work and allows her smile to offer a welcome that carries sincerity, yet gives away a sense of apprehension and a certain curiosity.

There is a particular way about Morgan that makes it unsurprising that she started her professional life as a nurse when she graduated from QUT with a degree in nursing and paramedics in 2018.

As it turned out, her nursing degree was the start of her journey towards working with Rocketship to help provide post-graduate medical training in the Pacific.

Rocketship works to provide heath and medical education in Pacific countries dispersed across dozens of atolls and island groups, covering distances of up to 5000 kilometres, with slow internet, extremely high operational costs as well as infrequent transport links.

While her interest in healthcare led Morgan to nursing, there is something hat drives her to look for ways of helping others. Despite graduating, she needed to find a way of helping disadvantaged communities. Hers was clearly a more global perspective.

The opportunity to meet that need didn’t immediately present itself, so she took a gap year and moved to live in Manchester, England. By June 2020, the Pandemic forced her to return to Brisbane.  However, her desire to find a way to help less fortunate communities still burned. Consequently, she started studying for a Master of Environmental Health Science, with a focus on environmental public health. It’s a study programme from which she will graduate in June 2022. 

 I read about Rocketship, a little light just clicked and I thought it was obviously for me.”

Morgan joined Rocketship early in 2021. She said her attraction to Rocketship was two-fold. “From a selfish perspective it really interested me. But then, the work they are doing is quite unique. When I read about Rocketship, a little light just clicked and I thought it was obviously for me.”

Meet Morgan and you soon get the impression that before Rocketship she was a nascent rebel in search of a cause, after joining Rocketship she had found a sense of purpose that drew on her desire to participate in what she calls her need to “do more.”

She explained her interest. “We take healthcare for granted. There are just so many places around the world that is not the case. There are so many opportunities for improvement. I know that I’m just one person, but I can help in some way. There is an opportunity there, especially with what Rocketship does,” she explained.

Her Masters study has provided her with a perspective on environmental and community health that she believes might be useful to Rocketship. She said that by understanding the impact of climate change on health it is possible to fortify healthcare education and training so that the provision of healthcare can better accommodate the health impact of climate change.

According to World Health Organisation (WHO), disasters related to climate change are disrupting the delivery of health-care services and are increasing the risks of disease and death among vulnerable groups, especially young children, women of reproductive age, older people and people with disabilities.

“I think there is room in Rocketship’s Pacific Island traineeships for building climate change into the curriculum to understand the issues that come from that,” Morgan said.

She said that while working with Rocketship meets her humanitarian and academic interests, it also provides personal satisfaction.

“On a personal level I get to talk and liaise with all these really interesting people that are all trying to make a difference in healthcare in the Pacific,” she said.

With that, the graduate nurse and emerging environmental health professional, left her seat in the cafe window. She had showed more than a hint that she is clearly an advocate or perhaps an activist for change.  In that moment, Morgan Lemin had shown she is determined to help Rocketship bring equity in healthcare to the Pacific because that was how she could “do more.”

As she left, a half jar of iced coffee or perhaps it was milky tea sat by a windowsill in a cafe. It is forgotten. She took with her a quiet determination to help improve access to universal healthcare working with and for the many communities dispersed across the dozens of atolls and islands of the Pacific.

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