The Administrator's Medals in Primary Health Care for 2015 awards were presented Wednesday 12 August by His Honour the Honourable John Hardy OAM, Administrator of the Northern Territory, during a ceremony at Government House.
These prestigious awards are presented annually to recognise and reward the outstanding service provided by the Northern Territory's primary health care professionals, often amidst challenging circumstances.
A strong field of nominations was received, with each nomination celebrating the significant effort in frontline health care provided to communities across the Northern Territory. Nominations were reviewed by a panel comprising representatives from partnering organisations to select the individual and team winners.
The Individual Award was presented to Irene Simonda, Refugee Nurse Coordinator and the Team Award was presented to Utira Kulintjaku (UK) project team.
Individual Award Recipient: Irene Simonda, Refugee Nurse Coordinator
Nominated by a fellow volunteer at WISE Employment for her role as a Refugee Nurse Coordinator and mentor in the DiversityWISE program, Ms Simonda was recognised for her passion and willingness to go above and beyond to provide patient-centred care in the refugee community.
Many of Irene’s clients speak limited or no English and can often struggle to understand and navigate the medical system. Irene uses her multilingual skills and knowledge of cultural barriers to actively engage and empower clients in caring for their own health.
Irene is an advocate for refugee health both within the health sector and the community itself and can often be found promoting awareness on particular health issues at community events during her personal time. Her passion and commitment to health has led Irene to become a role model for many others in the health sector.
Team Award Recipient: Utira Kulintjaku (UK) Project Team
The Utira Kulintjaku team was nominated for ensuring community members are always central to their care model, along with supporting people to develop equal and two-way relationships between traditional and western health professionals.
The team works collaboratively with senior traditional Aboriginal healers to develop resources to empower Aboriginal people in understanding and participating in their own health care. The team develops resources that help create a shared understanding between traditional and western health professionals that provide culturally appropriate and holistic care.
The project has reached out to the wider health and Aboriginal community by allowing senior Aboriginal people to speak about culturally difficult topics such as suicide, child abuse, substance abuse and mental illness. Senior Aboriginal community leaders in other communities have reached out to the team to discuss how a similar project may also be run in their community.
The project is directed and driven by the Anagu people. This has led to mutual understanding and recognition of both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal health care between participants.