- What is your role at Monash Health, and what does it entail?
Service Director Monash Community and General Physician Monash Health, Professor of Medicine Monash University
The Service Director is engaged in developing activities that better support integrated care for people with chronic and complex disease, particularly those at risk of high levels of use of health services. This includes an emphasis on better meeting the healthcare needs of vulnerable and marginalised community members.
- You’re in the Aboriginal Health Working Group, can you tell me why you’re passionate about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Employment at Monash Health?
I watched Adam Goodes on TV one afternoon and was profoundly affected, initially by the expression on his face when a young girl made a racist comment to him, and subsequently by the community reaction. I resolved to do something but didn’t understand what that might involve at the time.
This has lead me to support pathways for indigenous people to work in healthcare at Monash Health, and more recently to support affirmative action for indigenous employment in healthcare at Monash Health. I am grateful for the cultural competency training I have received at Monash. I have been fortunate to meet many passionate people committed to improving health outcomes for indigenous Australians.
- What does the Aboriginal Health Working Group do?
It seeks to help Monash Health become both culturally safe and culturally aware for indigenous patients and staff, and to help Monash Health to develop an appreciation of the determinants of indigenous health which include culture, kin, language and connection with country. We want to help Monash Health to achieve population parity for indigenous employment.
- “Grounded in truth, walk together with courage” is the theme this year for National Reconciliation Week, what does this mean to you?
We, as non Indigenous Australians, own as the truth of our history (our responsibility for the past and its wrongs) and determine to make good our future together by working with indigenous people.
This begins with an understanding of the importance of the concept embodied in the word Dadirri, a word from one of Australia’s indigenous languages, which means deep listening with quiet contemplation, in order to build community.
- What does reconciliation mean to you, and why is it important?
Reconciliation is the journey that we take together, to do good.
It is the responsibility that we take as we journey, for our learning on the way.
It is not about seeking perfection. This journey is too complex for that.
Reconciliation is important. We can’t rest until indigenous Australians have equality of health outcomes and suffering by virtue of Indigeneity is no more.
National Reconciliation Week runs annually from 27 May – 3 June and a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements.
At Monash Health, we are working towards closing the gap with the support and guidance of the Aboriginal Working Group. The membership is made of representations from each are/unit/department:
- Aboriginal Health
- Allied Health
- Children’s Program
- Early in Life Mental Health Services
- Health Information Services
- Monash Community
- Nursing and Midwifery Education and Strategy
- Patient Experience
- People and Culture
- Public Affairs and Communication
- Social Work and Spiritual Care
- Women’s and Newborn Program
For more information on the events organised by the working group, click here.