All of Us: The Power of Community – Human Experience Week 2023 kicks off at Westmead Hospital – PART 2

The next staff and consumer representative panel session focused on building human connection and rapport through belonging, listening and kindness.

Facilitated by WSLHD community and consumer partnerships manager Alicia Wood, the panel of three explored health literacy, kindness-centric models of care, collaboration and health practices that help to go below the surface.

Panel participant and WSHLD strategic partnerships and programs manager, Dana Mouwad, spoke to the importance of hearing the voice of consumers and understanding cultural nuances to feel truly heard.

“WSLHD has spent a lot of time putting together engagement processes and providing various opportunities to engage in health programs to help us connect better through communication,” said Dana.

“We understand the importance of checking in with patients to ensure they really understand what we’re talking about, and not just assuming that they do.

“With 50 per cent of our patients falling into the category of culturally and linguistically diverse, focusing on health literacy and understanding is of utmost importance.” Allied Health director, Drug Health, Angelo Barbaro also sat on the panel and spoke to the simple things that can really make a difference.

“It can be as simple as: putting plants in waiting rooms; evaluating parking around our facilities; ensuring the paths around our buildings are accessible for wheelchairs,” he explained.

Following morning tea, the audience was captivated by two powerful performances as part of the Rich Cultures Should Have Rich Relationships project, a community led family and domestic violence initiative co-designed by the WSLHD’s Multicultural Health Services and the community.

The project was created in consultation with Subcontinent (Punjabi-speaking) and Sudanese community members in western Sydney and aim to combat gender inequality by promoting respectful relationships, encouraging help-seeking behaviours, and changing individual and community attitudes.

The Play titled Love, Light, Hope, aims to challenge community attitudes towards women, including traditional gender roles and expectations, recognise the role of bystanders, and encourage viewers to collectively take a stand against domestic violence.

The musical item, Stuck between two cultures – Moving Forward, was written and performed by a group of Sudanese youth from the Spiritual Revolution Centre.

The youth performance expresses the generation of children stuck between two generations and speaks to persevering and moving forward to make a positive change for all, with the chorus’s lyrics as follows:
We are the generation, we’re moving forward
We are the generation, we’re breaking through
We are the generation; we have to let it go
We are the generation, that has to make peace.

“The play and the musical piece come from discussions with over 500 community members in western Sydney who are leading and owning these important conversations,” said WSLHD’s Multicultural Health Services Team Leader, Dipti Zachariah.

“I hope these performances that promote culture, respect and equality empower you all to perpetuate kindness.”

The final session of the day was led by the WSLHD Organisational Development and Learning team. Team organisational development manager, Hayley Cadman, spoke to the WSLHD culture program, Our Place, Our People, and how using the ‘Power of Community’ at work leads to the best outcomes.

Hayley, a passionate orchestral musician, took the audience on an “orchestral journey of music” by dividing physical event attendees into a traditional Symphony setup – woodwinds, percussion, brass and strings and reflected on themes for an orchestra to work as a whole.

“Music is a universal language, much like our healthcare and how we work within our western Sydney community,” explained Hayley.

“It takes many different forms within our lives – much like our health journey – and if we work together, we can build a beautiful crescendo.”

All performers were given gifts of gratitude for their contribution to the thought-provoking opening event to mark the start of Human Experience Week 2023.

Next up…Part 3 of Human Experience Week.