Friday May 31, 2024

National Reconciliation Week is a time for us to reflect on how we as an organisation, are progressing on our journey of reconciliation.  

This year’s National Reconciliation Week theme ‘Now More Than Ever’ reminds us that, despite the challenges faced on the journey to reconciliation, we must continue to work towards better outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.  

We need to continue working with Community and allies to foster more cultural understanding. This will lead to more culturally safe and welcoming environments, so all First Nations people who access our services feel safe, respected and understood.    

Across the organisation we have a number of staff and community members who go above and beyond to ensure our organisation is progressing on our journey of reconciliation. Even if they aren’t patient facing, the work they do contributes towards ensuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients, consumers and their families receive culturally safe and appropriate care.  

This National Reconciliation Week we recognised and celebrated six Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) Champions who are committed to promoting and advancing the Eastern Health Reconciliation Action Plan outside of their normal role within or as a partner with the organisation.   

From left to right: Daniel Howell, Uncle Eddie Thomson, Ben Davies, Shannon Wight, Josette O'Donnell and Mena Love.

Josette O’Donnell, Clinical Risk Manager – Aboriginal Health 

Josette represents the spirit of reconciliation through her unwavering commitment to fostering meaningful relationships with Indigenous communities, promoting cultural awareness among staff, and advocating for initiatives that promote health equity and social justice. As a RAP champion, Josette has demonstrated exceptional leadership, and her efforts have not only enriched our organisational culture but have also paved the way for meaningful change in how we deliver healthcare services to Indigenous communities. 


Shannon Wight – Executive Director – Clinical Operations 

Shannon demonstrates remarkable leadership, strategic vision, and unwavering dedication to excellence in healthcare delivery. As a RAP Champion, Shannon’s passion for reconciliation and commitment to fostering meaningful relationships with Indigenous communities have been instrumental in driving positive change within our organisation. Her deep commitment to reconciliation through not only her work but her actions, decisions, and leadership style has elevated the profile of reconciliation within our health service, inspiring colleagues and allies to embrace reconciliation as an integral part of their professional practice. 


Ben Davies, Director Communications 

Ben’s dedication to reconciliation within Eastern Health is apparent in his involvement in various activities throughout the organisation. Ben was on the initial project team to formulate the inaugural RAP which commenced back in 2019.  As a RAP Champion, Ben’s commitment to advancing reconciliation initiatives includes taking the time to understand cultural sensitivities, wholly considering all viewpoints and going above and beyond to create great experiences for First Nations staff, patients and community. 


Aunty Joy Murphy, Senior Wurundjeri Elder and Eastern Health Consumer Advisor 

Aunty Joy brings wisdom, experience, and cultural insight to Eastern Health. As a RAP Champion, her guidance and leadership play a crucial role in shaping reconciliation strategies within Eastern Health. Aunty Joy’s deep connection to culture and her commitment to healing and understanding make her an invaluable asset to the reconciliation process within the organisation. 


Aunty Lucia Baulch, Community Elder and Eastern Health Consumer Advisor 

Aunty Lou’s passion for reconciliation shines through her work in our Consumer Advisory Board. Her advocacy for Indigenous rights and her efforts to promote cultural awareness and respect within Eastern Health are truly inspiring. Aunty Lou’s dedication to building bridges between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities is essential for achieving reconciliation goals. 


Uncle Eddie Thomson, Community Member and Eastern Health Consumer Advisor 

Uncle Eddie’s dedication to not just reconciliation but to Eastern Health is admirable, impactful and extensive. As a RAP Champion, his leadership and advocacy for Indigenous rights and voices to be heard and valued within the organisation has led to significant changes being made not just in the care of First Nations patients but also in the staff culture, particularly with our First Nations staff. 

Daniel Howell, Aboriginal Health Team Manager and Mena Love, Reconciliation Action Plan Manager.
Aunty Julie Coombes started the celebration with a Welcome to Country.
Mark Thomson, Eastern Health RAP Consultant, gave a key note speech.