Get Regular Updates!
|Daniel Curran: committed to Closing the Gap



Premier’s Science Awards | Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation

Daniel Curran: committed to Closing the Gap

Daniel Curran: committed to Closing the Gap

Daniel Curran is a medical student at Curtin University who has just been named the 2021 Shell Aboriginal STEM Student of the Year.

Daniel Curran: committed to Closing the Gap

Daniel is a Yamatji man who started his pathway into medicine when he was 25. He set himself the task of getting his mature age entry, completing a 12-month enabling course and becoming a medical student.

Daniel says his growing awareness of the disparity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous healthcare spurred him to do medicine. Watching family members struggle to access healthcare or engage with the system highlighted the barriers the Indigenous community faces.

“To me, health is the most important thing,” says Daniel. “I just always thought that way – it’s fundamental. And there’s a real need to knock some of those barriers down.”

View Larger
Image|Daniel Curran | Curtin University
Daniel Curran

Getting going

Daniel completed the Indigenous pre-medicine enabling course through Curtin’s Centre for Aboriginal Studies. He credits course coordinator Dr Rachna Aggarwal as a driving force behind his journey.

“When I walked in, Rachna asked, ‘What do you want to do?’ I said, ‘I want to do medicine’, and she said, ‘Great, we’ll do that’ and I nearly fell over backwards.

“Growing up, never having anyone back you … for someone to say yes you can do it, that blew me away.”

Daniel dedicated his award to Rachna, who passed away 2 years ago from cancer.

“She was the course coordinator and our teacher, but she was also a mentor – someone who helped us with our applications, getting us into our courses. She was the first person to have faith in me, and in her heart, she wanted to get more Indigenous people into STEM education and the healthcare system.

“For that reason, myself and the other students are going to start a scholarship in her name for other Indigenous students.”

Giving back

Daniel was the top achiever in his enabling course. He is now proud to be the first Aboriginal tutor in the Indigenous Tutorial Assistance Scheme at the Centre for Aboriginal Studies.

“When I was doing pre-med, I noticed that none of the tutors were Indigenous, and for an Indigenous course, this seemed odd.

“You have to be 2 years ahead to be a tutor. Two and a half years ago, Rachna said, ‘I’d really like for you to be a tutor’. As soon as I was eligible, I signed up.”

Daniel works with students one on one or in small groups. He helps them with course material but also with the transition into university life in a culturally safe way.

“In Indigenous culture, it’s extremely important to give back to the community,” he says. “If we want to have more Indigenous healthcare professionals and start to bridge that gap, it’s my responsibility to reach back.”

View Larger
Image|Premier’s Science Awards | Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation

Looking forward

This week, Daniel was named the 2021 Shell Aboriginal STEM Student of the Year.

“I never thought I could get into medicine,” says Daniel. “And now receiving this award – what an honour. It’s hard to understand the magnitude.”

Video|Premier’s Science Awards | Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation

As he works through his third year of studies in a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, Daniel is focused on playing a part in Closing the Gap.

“Eventually, I would like to set up some kind of organisation that addresses all aspects of Indigenous peoples’ health – physical health, mental health issues and looking after our spiritual health,” he says.

“One step at a time, but the ultimate goal is to close that gap.”

For other students taking that step, Daniel has some advice.

“Never stop learning. Whatever it is that you do, keep your brain active and stay sharp, and when that opportunity comes along, you’ll be ready and in control of how your story unfolds.”

Particle Puns


Creative Commons Logo

Republishing our content

We want our stories to be shared and seen by as many people as possible.

Therefore, unless it says otherwise, copyright on the stories on Particle belongs to Scitech and they are published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

This allows you to republish our articles online or in print for free. You just need to credit us and link to us, and you can’t edit our material or sell it separately.

Using the ‘republish’ button on our website is the easiest way to meet our guidelines.


You cannot edit the article.

When republishing, you have to credit our authors, ideally in the byline. You have to credit Particle with a link back to the original publication on Particle.

If you’re republishing online, you must use our pageview counter, link to us and include links from our story. Our page view counter is a small pixel-ping (invisible to the eye) that allows us to know when our content is republished. It’s a condition of our guidelines that you include our counter. If you use the ‘republish’ then you’ll capture our page counter.

If you’re republishing in print, please email us to let us so we know about it (we get very proud to see our work republished) and you must include the Particle logo next to the credits. Download logo here.

If you wish to republish all our stories, please contact us directly to discuss this opportunity.


Most of the images used on Particle are copyright of the photographer who made them.

It is your responsibility to confirm that you’re licensed to republish images in our articles.


All Particle videos can be accessed through YouTube under the Standard YouTube Licence.

The Standard YouTube licence

  1. This licence is ‘All Rights Reserved’, granting provisions for YouTube to display the content, and YouTube’s visitors to stream the content. This means that the content may be streamed from YouTube but specifically forbids downloading, adaptation, and redistribution, except where otherwise licensed. When uploading your content to YouTube it will automatically use the Standard YouTube licence. You can check this by clicking on Advanced Settings and looking at the dropdown box ‘License and rights ownership’.
  2. When a user is uploading a video he has license options that he can choose from. The first option is “standard YouTube License” which means that you grant the broadcasting rights to YouTube. This essentially means that your video can only be accessed from YouTube for watching purpose and cannot be reproduced or distributed in any other form without your consent.


For more information about using our content, email us:

Copy this HTML into your CMS
Press Ctrl+C to copy

We've got chemistry. Want something physical?