General News

Reconciliation Week puts focus on Aboriginal Health

National Reconciliation Week has put a renewed focus on Aboriginal health and the need for ongoing improvement.

The theme of the weekly celebration was ‘In This Together’. Helping to lead the way is Lismore’s Djaan Jarrett, who is part of a new regional team striving to reduce health inequities, increase access to services and support disease prevention.

Mr Jarrett, who has a background in social work, is an Aboriginal health coordinator with North Coast Primary Health Network (NCPHN). He primarily covers the areas around Grafton, Maclean and Casino.

A proud member of the Bundjalung community, Mr Jarrett has close connections to the Wadja Wadja, Gumbaynggirr and Dunghutti communities through his maternal and paternal grandparents.

Previous roles have included working in NSW Health’s Tuberculosis Program and as a casework manager for the Ngunya Jarjum Aboriginal Child & Family Network in Lismore.

“I saw some really tough stuff, but I also saw some really good stuff too,” Mr Jarrett said.

NCPHN has recently restructured its Aboriginal Health Team and has four key members, including Mr Jarrett, working as Aboriginal health coordinators in communities between the Camden Haven area south of Port Macquarie, north to the Queensland border.

Their responsibilities include needs assessment and planning, program development, creating and maintaining linkages with other sectors and supporting commissioned programs and services.

“We’ve got a really good team and I’m privileged to work with them,” Mr Jarrett said. “We’ve been given a large amount of trust and autonomy and I’m very motivated as to what we’re doing with Aboriginal health.

“There’s plenty of work to do and there are a lot of people who are prepared to walk the journey with us.”

NCPHN is currently developing a Reconciliation Action Plan that is committed to working towards a better future together with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, communities and organisations.

North Coast Primary Health Network’s Aboriginal Health Team (from left) Djaan Jarrett – Lismore; Jessica Morris – Port Macquarie/Kempsey; Deputy Director Marni Tuala; Noell Burgess – Tweed/Byron; and Nicola Barker – Coffs Coast.