Yarlalu Thomas

Medical student and Precision Public Health fellow in Genetic and Rare Diseases

WA State recipient Young Australian of the Year 2020

Yarlalu Thomas is a Nyangumarta Pitjikarli man, originally from Warralong, southeast of Port Hedland. The first in his community to complete a high-school certificate, he enrolled in a Bachelor of Medical Science and Doctor of Medicine (MD) at the University of Sydney.

Between his bachelor's degree and MD, Yarlalu was awarded the inaugural Roy Hill Community Foundation Fellowship. He now works with the WA Register of Developmental Anomalies, Genetic Services WA and Cliniface, to transform genetic health care services for remote Indigenous people.

Yarlalu also works with Pilbara Faces, which aims to understand 3D facial variation of ATSI peoples to provide more accessible, quicker and non-invasive diagnosis for children with rare and genetic diseases.

Yarlalu also launched the UNESCO-endorsed Life Languages project to translate medical terminology into ATSI languages, and indigenous languages internationally. He combines the newest scientific and medical knowledge with old and ancient wisdom.
Yarlalu mentors and tutors Aboriginal boarding students, helping them adjust to their new lifestyle.