Debbie Gillon left inner-city Melbourne life in 1997, packing up her car and her busy life, and never looked back.
Almost 25 years later, she has worked across some of the Northern Territory's smallest and most remote clinics as a doctor and faced confronting diseases only seen in this part of the world.
Now she is four weeks into a six-month stint in Katherine working at Wurli-Wurlinjang Aboriginal Health Service as a trainee general practitioner.
In February, 26 doctors began their three-to-four-year training to become specialist GPs in regional locations across the Territory crying out for doctors as a chronic shortage persists.
Dr Gillon is a fully qualified doctor already with a wealth of experience, but her goal since entering the medical profession has to become a rural generalist.
"I never wanted to become a mainstream GP, spending my day doing 20 minute consults with the worried well," she said.
"I've always wanted to do Indigenous health as a specialty to contribute to closing the gap.
"As a white woman I know I can't do that, but I can contribute through working in an Aboriginal service, advocacy, and teaching the next generation of frontline Aboriginal practitioners to help them cross any hurdles that may arise."
The work-day starts at 8am at Wurli, and doesn't stop until well after closing time at 4.30pm on most days.
"I'm either in the main clinic triaging or working as a 'red doctor' and seeing patients who have booked appointments," she said.
However, today she was in the Chronic Health Clinic, where patient appointments are back to back and there is barely time to sit.
Here, patients present with life-threatening conditions like diabetes, and heart and lung disease.
"It's diverse, and it's super busy. Someone might come through the door at Wurli to renew a script but then we find out they had a fall a few weeks back and all of a sudden we are rushing them to hospital," she said.
"People come from all over the world to be a doctor here because it is so unique.
"But working as a doctor and teaching Aboriginal doctors so they don't need us - stuff to bridge the gap - is the ultimate goal for me."
This year's first intake of doctors began their Australian General Practice Training at Darwin, Katherine, Alice Springs and are also dotted around remote communities.
Stephen Pincus, NTGPE chief executive said the new registrars make up vital workforce numbers where governments have long aimed to tackle persistent frontline doctor shortages.
"We are making significant contributions to improving health in these regions," he said.
"Our unique approach to the challenges of primary health care in Indigenous communities means NTGPE is at the forefront of supplying GP registrars to help the most vulnerable and least accessible people in Australia.
"We are training the future GPs who will find a solution to Australia's biggest health problem."
For Dr Gillon, the Northern Territory is where she will be finding solutions to the biggest health problems.
Hailing from inner city Melbourne, where she caught the tram to Fitzroy High School, it took just one taste of rural life for her to be hooked.
"I drove through Katherine on my way up to Darwin in 1998 and the next day the town was inundated with water in the biggest flood.
"I love it up here and there is no doubt I want to work in remote NT.
"I fly into Melbourne these days and see the lights and the skyscrapers and I instantly regret it."
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