Inside WSLHD’s second Aboriginal Staff Conference, a forum for Aboriginal voices and health priorities

[tta_listen_btn listen_text=”Click here to have this article read aloud” pause_text=”Pause” resume_text=”Resume” replay_text=”Replay”]

Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) has hosted its second annual Aboriginal Staff Conference, a significant event aimed at recognising and celebrating Aboriginal-led initiatives that positively impact the western Sydney community.

The conference, held under the guidance of Belinda Cashman, WSLHD Director of Aboriginal Health Strategy, featured insightful discussions, impactful speakers, and a focus on addressing health disparities within WSLHD for the year 2024.

The event kicked off with a warm Welcome to Country and a mesmerising performance by the Garabara Dance Group, setting the tone for a day of meaningful engagement and collaboration.

Today’s conference is important. It highlights our collective commitment to achieving positive health outcomes for the western Sydney Aboriginal community.

Belinda Cashman, Director of Aboriginal Health Strategy

Graeme Loy, Chief Executive of WSLHD, reflected on the success of the previous year’s conference, acknowledging its role in shaping the district’s approach to Aboriginal health.

He expressed his pride in the district’s progress and reiterated the commitment to working in partnership with Aboriginal communities.

A video address from Secretary Susan Pearce underscored the district’s commitment to closing the health gap and emphasised the importance of collaboration and collective action.

The keynote address delivered by Ashlee Donohue, CEO of Mudgin-Gal Aboriginal Women’s Centre, resonated deeply with attendees.

Ashlee emphasised the critical need for self-determination and community-driven solutions in addressing health disparities.

Aboriginal communities possess a wealth of knowledge, wisdom, and cultural practices that are integral to health and wellbeing. Any efforts to improve health outcomes must be driven by Aboriginal voices and priorities.

Ashlee Donohue, CEO of Mudgin-Gal Aboriginal Women’s Centre

She underscored the importance of culturally safe healthcare services and urged healthcare providers to undergo cultural competency training, and shared stories, illustrating the impact of domestic violence on Aboriginal women and the need for healthcare providers to understand the complexities of their experiences.

The conference also featured presentations on various health initiatives, including capital works, child and family health, young Indigenous projects, and palliative care.

Attendees actively participated in breakout sessions focusing on nursing career pathways, culturally safe frameworks, and Aboriginal health impact statements, among others.

Additionally, participants engaged in discussions on recruiting, managing, and retaining Aboriginal staff, as well as healthcare priorities for 2024.