“Please come join our ranks”: After 45 years in health, Lyn Tunchon urges others to follow in her footsteps

Child and Family Health program lead Lyn Tunchon retires.

After over 45 years in health, Western Sydney Local Health District’s (WSLHD) Child and Family Health program lead Lyn Tunchon is using retirement to reflect on how far the health service has come.

Lyn first started working for WSLHD 26 years ago, beginning at the former Merrylands Community Health Centre – now Merrylands HealthOne – in 1995.

“I’ve worked with a very inspiring positive group of people who come to work every day to give their best; it’s a very positive team culture,” Lyn said at her farewell lunch last week.

For the past five years, Lyn has been the program lead for WSLHD’s Child and Family Health, a role overseeing a team committed to promoting the development, well-being, and safety of children and their families in western Sydney.

Lyn’s most proud of seeing the service develop under her leadership – from a geographic-based, sometimes fragmented service, to now working under one model of care as a District wide service.

I think that’s a significant achievement along with building some research capacity within the service – that’s been really important to me,” said Lyn.

“We’ve got six research projects that are happening, and two more that are being proposed, because we can never underestimate how important it is to embed evidence-based practice into everything that we do.”

Building bridges has been another theme of Lyn’s 26 years at WSLHD, something integral to making NSW Health’s First 2000 Days Framework come to life at a local level.

The first 2000 days of life is a critical time for physical, cognitive, social, and emotional health. What happens in the first 2000 days has been shown to have an impact throughout life. ​​

“The big, big, big thing for us has been the commencement of the implementation of the First 2000 Days Framework within WSLHD,” Lyn said.

“It gave us the evidence and framework to stress the importance of those days in a child’s life and how important Child and Family Health Services is in promoting health and providing care to families.”

“Lyn has been so passionate about improving care and outcomes for children and families in western Sydney and has worked hard to develop and evolve Child and Family Health Services,” said Lyn’s manager Adam Cruickshank, director of clinical operations.

“Western Sydney Local Health District has one of the strongest Child and Family Health programs in the state, with many local initiatives being picked up for state-wide implementation,” added Jasmin Ellis, general manager for Integrated and Community Health.

“This is due to the passion and drive from Lyn who was supported by an excellent team.”

While Lyn might be looking forward to her retirement, including moving to Forster on NSW’s mid North Coast for “a bit of a sea change”, she’s not in denial about how much she’s going to miss WSLHD.

“I have worked with many, many inspiring people over the time that I’ve been here. Building that friendship and camaraderie means I’m going to miss those relationships just like I’ll miss the families and clients we see on a daily basis,” Lyn reflected.

Lyn’s final request before retirement?

“Child and Family Health is a wonderful place to work. Please come join our ranks!”