Wendy Brooke from 3KND attended the Vic Health Immersion on Country that was held on Dja Dja Wurrung Land on the 27th of Feb -1st of Mar 2023.
The VicHealth First Nations Action Plan Immersion on Country was an interactive three day gathering bringing together First Nations people from across the state of Victoria. Throughout the Immersion all participants were asked to actively participate in discussions to shape the action plan. Safety and inclusive participation is important to VicHealth, so they engaged some First Nations consultants and wellbeing supports. To find out more about the Immersion objectives, and the role of VicHealth, and to get a sense of the important role that the participants would play at the Immersion, please click this link. First Nations Action Plan: Immersion on Country (vimeo.com) It’s a short video from Melinda Swale and Dr Sandro Demaio the CEO of Vic Health.
The three days were powerful, in the fact that young people who already work in the health sector participated in and gave their opinion on the state of the sector and the impact on their communities. It was wonderful to also know that the three days were culturally safe for all who attended.
Wendy conducted interviews with 4 participants of the Immersion on Country. Two were Vic Health staff, and two were cultural facilitators to get their thoughts on what they were hoping to get from the three day and what they hoped the participants would get from it.
Wendy has plans to interview some of the young participants, now that they have had a chance to digest the experience and give their thoughts on what they have gotten from the experience. So, stay tuned for these interviews, which will be great for community to hear how they are going to implement some of the things that they have learned from the day.
Listen here to the interviews that Wendy conducted over the three days:
Caroline Kell - Founder and Managing Director of Blak Wattle (Cultural Facilitator)
Caroline Kell is a proud Mbarbrum woman who was born and raised on Kulin lands. She is the Founder and Managing Director of Blak Wattle Coaching and Consulting. Caroline is a Former Counsellor and Executive Director who is deeply passionate about the social emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
She has over seven years of policy design and community engagement experience working across governments, community health services and in a therapeutic environment, helping to drive long term outcomes in treaty, truth telling treaty, health, and mental health reforms.
Dr Ngaree Blow (Cultural Facilitator)
Dr Ngaree Blow is a Quandamooka (Noonuccal Nation) and Yorta-Yorta woman currently completing her advanced training as a Public Health Physician. She works as the Director of First Nations Health for medical education at the University of Melbourne as well as dedicating part of her time to consulting on public health projects with Blaklash consulting.
Ngaree has worked in various medical and public health roles, including as lead medical officer for the COVID-19 outbreak response in 2020-21 and in the COVID-19 Vaccination program in
2022 with the Department of Health, Victoria. She has also established the first all First Nations led and run music health festivals – ‘It’s a Mob Thing’ across Victoria in 2022.
Dr Blow was most recently recognised for her work in 2022 when awarded the MDHS Award for Excellence in Indigenous Health Engagement, as well as the Australasian Faculty of Public health Medicine (AFPHM) Victorian Gerry Murphy Prize in 2020 and was named one of 2019’s Australian Financial Review’s ‘100 Women of Influence’. Dr Blow was also a current member and previous board member of the Australian Indigenous Doctors Association (AIDA) and has been involved in many First Nations health, research and education roles and committees.