Past Award Finalists and Recipients
Young Australian of the Year
State Finalist Young Australian of the Year 2016
Indigenous health volunteer
An Indigenous Birri-Gubba-Yuggera man on his mother's side, final year dental student Michael Baker is using his skills in dentistry to support better health in Indigenous communities. As an owner and director of a dental practice in Toowoomba, Michael is also the volunteer program coordinator of Hope4Health’s dental clinic in Cherbourg. Through Michael’s work, fellow dental students in their final years of training are able to conduct four supervised dental clinics and treat over 400 people each year. With Cherbourg’s closest dental clinic more than an hour away and the wait list more than two years, Michael and his team fill the gap. Many of the clinic’s patients have extensive decay, broken teeth and chronic dental problems, causing social and psychological barriers. Michael and his team not only provide emergency treatment but dental education too. Michael raises funds for the program, establishes partnerships with sponsors, manages logistics, liaises with Cherbourg’s community members and makes a direct difference to the health of many.