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National Reconciliation Week

Tuesday 29 May was the day we celebrated Monash Health’s journey towards reconciliation.

The lecture theatre was filled with beautiful native flowers, Aboriginal artwork, Aboriginal flags and an ambiance of inclusivity.

Over eighty individuals at the event from our community including Aboriginal Elders and staff. Michelle Ravesi, the Aboriginal Health Services and Population Health Manager was the MC and began the event by introducing Wurundjeri Elder Aunty Margaret Gardiner who gave the welcome to country.

Aunty Margaret shared personal stories and experiences relating to the theme of National Reconciliation Week ‘Don’t keep history a mystery’, however her focus was on giving thanks to the commitment of people at Monash Health to help Elders live longer. Barbara Yeoh, Monash Board Chair spoke about Monash Health’s journey to close the gap. During her time as chair, she has made it compulsory for all members of the board to attend a one day training on cultural sensitivity and awareness. The audience could feel her passion behind closing the gap at Monash Health throughout her presentation.

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Barbara Yeoh, Aunty Margaret Gardiner, Dr Ramini Shankumar and Martin Keoh

Dr Rob Roseby and Professor Karen Adams shared the work they have been doing across Monash Health and Monash University on Indigenous pathways to increasing health professionals. The new policy they have implemented gives Indigenous individuals further support and opportunities. Assoc. Professor Ryan Hodges, Director of Obstetrics Monash Health and Andrea Rindt, General Manager Women’s & Newborn Program presented on improving Aboriginal Midwifery care at Monash Health. They illustrated the key areas in their new Action Plan which had goals of improving collaboration, access, outcomes and increasing awareness for Aboriginal women and families. As a team, they created a KMS bundle which is a culturally tailored resource for Aboriginal women and their families that includes information, posters and growth charts. Following the insightful presentation, we heard a personal story from Jennifer Fielding from her time working at Mercy for Women’s hospital about an Aboriginal Women’s pregnancy journey. Jennifer has newly joined Monash Health as the Unit Manager at Pakenham Pregnancy Clinic where she plans to share her learning.

Dr Rachel Rosler presented improving cultural safety in the Emergency Department and shared some of her key findings and statistics and what their next steps are. The emphasis was on the implementation of National Safety Quality & Health and Standards (NSQHS), which will include six key actions specifically relating to Aboriginal health outcomes, awareness, community links and ultimately asking the question and communicating.

Dr Ramini Shankumar, Dental Service Director was then welcomed to the stage to present the Koolin Liang dental program, which means ‘Healthy Teeth’. Dr Ramini is proud to be part of the development and she went through the history of the Aboriginal Dental clinic. It officially opened in 2006 and now operates successfully in Dandenong and Cranbourne, they have seen 240 patients with 619 visits. Additionally, they work very closely with the Monash Health Service and Dandenong and District Aborigines Co-operation (DDACL) to conduct education sessions and screenings for young children and their parents. The dental team had an Indigenous art workshop as part of the Koolin Liang Project and they all created their own artwork and paintings which will be launched and displayed at different dental sites throughout Monash Health.

Guests were invited to enjoy beautiful biscuits from Aboriginal company Beautiful Delicious and a luncheon with Aboriginal Food Truck Company that was fantastic and loved by all.

A special thank you to all our speakers and everyone who came along to support the event.