Multiple award wins for WSLHD’s brilliant staff at the 2023 Multicultural Health Communications Awards

Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) staff were recently recognised for their contribution to excellence in multilingual health communication across NSW, as part of the 2023 Multicultural Health Communications Awards.

Multicultural Health Communications aims to promote health equity, and address the health information needs of culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

Understanding and connecting with our multicultural communities is critical to providing equitable health outcomes for all.

Acting NSW Health Secretary Deb Willcox AM

WSLHD celebrated an outstanding effort, with three finalist nominations, and three winners.

The WSLHD Chief Executive, Graeme Loy, has acknowledged WSLHD’s award winners.

“I’m immensely proud of our talented staff on their awards,” Graeme said.

“With our important work based in one of the most multicultural regions in Australia, it gives me great pride to see our District taking home so many awards.

“Thank you to our award winners and all staff around our District who ensure we are innovating and delivering great projects to support our diverse community.”


Excellence in Communicating with Refugee Communities
Make Your Voice Heard: Understanding the Community Experience of Female Genital Mutilation in NSW

This project aimed to address female genital mutilation in refugee communities, recognising its harmful impact on women and girls.

The team at WSLHD Multicultural Health Services developed a validated tool, adapted from UNICEF survey tools, to measure social norm change, assess knowledge, attitudes, and motivation, and effectively communicate key messages.

Through collaboration with six refugee communities and two high-risk communities, the project engaged 14 bilingual Community Educators, received 415 responses, and empowered community voices to contribute to the prevention and elimination of this harmful practice.

Our research developed tools to measure social norm changes and assess knowledge, attitudes, and motivations related to this harmful practice.

Ngatho S Mugo, Community Education Officer


Mental Health Awareness for People from Afghanistan

This project addresses the mental health challenges faced by Afghan communities, who have endured persecution, war, and violence, through a video in Dari and English.

Developed in collaboration with the communities and produced by a bilingual Afghan media company, Huma Media, the video explains the connection between refugee mental health and trauma while outlining available mental health services.

Staff Member of the Year
Dr Margeurite Tracy

Dr. Marguerie Tracy has made significant contributions to partnering with multicultural populations, leading the Drug Health Services research team.

Her innovative and best practice approach focuses on developing culturally-specific health information and increasing awareness of health risks, particularly for communities with low health literacy, showcasing her commitment to excellence in multicultural health.


Staff Member of the Year 
Sumithira Joseph

Sumithra Joseph, Operations Manager for Perinatal, Child, and Youth Mental Health Services at WSLHD, is dedicated to providing mental health support for the diverse and vibrant multicultural communities of Western Sydney.

With over 40 years of experience, she aims to make a positive impact on mental health awareness, recognizing the often overlooked challenges faced by mothers, children, and young people in addressing this sensitive topic.

“I feel blessed to serve the community in Western Sydney because it is the most culturally diverse and vibrant suburb in Sydney with many vulnerable people,” Sumithra said.

I want to make a difference and make a change, even if it’s a small one.

“I particularly want to acknowledge the work of Sumithira Joseph, from Western Sydney Local Health District who has won Staff Member of the Year for her work providing mental health support for multicultural communities,” Deb Willcox AM said.

Consumer/Community Representative of the Year
Georgette Hilmi

Georgette Hilmi, Bilingual Community Educator at WSLHD, works with women, men, and young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds to improve their understanding of health and increase their access to health services.

Georgette’s work over the past 25 years has been pivotal for the Bilingual Community Education Program.

Dipti Zachariah, Multicultural Health Team Leader

“She does everything with full heart and full smile, and has improved health outcomes for more than 10,000 community members from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

“She does her work respectfully and responsibly and has contributed to the health system and to the positive health of our communities.”


Naglaa Sourour

Nagla, Consumer Ambassador at Auburn Hospital, has played a key role in driving improvements, including at the hospital’s new Palliative Care Unit. Her dedication is evident through her extensive engagement in patient surveys, conducted in both English and Arabic during “What Matters to You” day, ensuring better feedback from individuals who might otherwise not have the opportunity to share their needs with the hospital.

“I believe everybody should be treated with kindness, dignity and respect,” Naglaa said.

I feel most rewarded when I am able to give a voice to those who may not have one because of factors such as language barriers, or a lack of knowledge of the Australian health care system.

I would like to acknowledge the joint winners of the Consumer-Community Representative of the Year, Georgette Hilmi and Naglaa Sourour, both also from Western Sydney Local Health District.

Acting NSW Health Secretary Deb Willcox AM

Congratulations to the finalists and winners of the Multicultural Health Communication Awards.