Working to Close the Gap in South Eastern NSW

8 July 2024

This NAIDOC Week, COORDINARE – South Eastern NSW PHN is honouring the voices and perspectives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and recognising the contributions of First Nations communities.  

According to Prudence Buist, CEO of COORDINARE, improving health care accessibility and outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in South Eastern NSW is a key focus of the organisation. 

"We are currently seeking expressions of interest to join our two Aboriginal Health Councils and provide advice to COORDINARE's Board and the wider organisation, to help shape program design, service approaches and professional development. 

"Council members have an important role in helping to identify gaps, barriers, strengths, and opportunities for improvement in the delivery of primary health care to local Aboriginal communities that is culturally safe and accessible. The Councils also contribute to COORDINARE's strategy, planning and policies.” 

Ms Buist said the organisation has also been working to equip and support general practices to be a safe place that is culturally aware for Aboriginal people as well as other groups.  

“Research shows that a large proportion of our region’s Aboriginal population choose to attend a mainstream general practice, so we have developed a new online training module which includes interviews with local Elders including Narooma’s Ron Mason and Lynette Goodwin and Uncle Warren Foster from Wallaga Lake,” she said. 

“The Elders yarned about accessing health care, what good health care looks like and the ongoing importance of COVID vaccinations. 

“We think it is important for our doctors to see local faces and local places to give that personal connection. Providing this support for mainstream providers as well as engaging with local community members and supporting local Aboriginal business is also part of our remit under our Reconciliation Action Plan.” 

Over recent months COORDINARE has also organised healing workshops written from an Indigenous perspective for community members and service providers in Yass, Goulburn and Eden. The workshops cover a range of topics including anxiety, fear, social and emotional wellbeing, mental health, suicide safeguarding, domestic violence, and law and justice.   

"More than 180 participants have attended the Red Dust Healing workshops to date and the feedback has been very positive. One participant said having images to help describe emotions, manage distress and big emotions will be helpful in their work,” she said. 

“This NAIDOC Week, we encourage our First Nations communities to continue being loud and proud,” she added. 

To lodge an expression of interest to join COORDINARE's southern and northern Aboriginal Health Councils visit COORDINARE's website here. Applications close Monday 15 July 2024. 

Learn more about NAIDOC week here.

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