RDN's Aboriginal Engagement plan
RDN’s Aboriginal Engagement Plan (AEP) was initiated in August 2017 as a key organisational development initiative. Its goal is to reinforce RDN’s commitment to Aboriginal health and wellbeing and ensure that future activities are evidence-based, effective and tangibly contribute to improving access to quality primary healthcare services for Aboriginal people.
The AEP builds on RDN’s existing commitments and relationships including the longstanding Memorandum of Understanding with the Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council of New South Wales (AH&MRC of NSW), embedded cultural awareness and safety training for staff, and the well-established work plans for Aboriginal Medical Services.
The AEP aims to increase RDN staff awareness of cultural safety and cultural competency, and support RDN’s broader strategic goals that relate to Aboriginal health equity. It sets out objectives to achieve these aims.
Since its inception, RDN has reaffirmed its commitment to health equity and equality for Aboriginal people, through Dr Ros Bullock’s speech at the 2017 Rural GPs Conference; and participation in events acknowledging Aboriginal Significant Days of Commemoration including the 10th Anniversary of the Apology to the Stolen Generations, National Sorry Day, National Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC Week.
Pictured L-R: Uncle Rod Towney, Maxine Greenfield and Lillian Gorden - TAFE NSW, with Uncle Bill Smith - Awabakal LALC at RDN's 2017 Staff Development Workshop.
Malang Nguyran – Together Us All
In 2017, RDN engaged Aboriginal artist Saretta Fielding to create an artwork for its new offices in Hamilton, NSW.
Malang Nguyran – Together Us All celebrates going forward together and signifies the sharing of cultures, capturing the beauty, diversity and connections of Aboriginal peoples and valuable partnerships across the community, reflecting RDN’s aspiration for ongoing cooperative and collaborative relationships with all Aboriginal communities across NSW.
RDN also commissioned a digital artwork design that reflects the artwork theme of Malang Nguyran – Together Us All in design, story and colour palette, for use across its communication collateral.
Saretta Fielding is a Wonaruah woman based in Lake Macquarie, NSW. Through her artwork, she aims to evoke emotion, enhance connection to spirit and country, and invites the viewer to ponder and experience something new. Ms Fielding’s artworks are connected to country in style and design using a sand-based medium. The highly textured pieces embody the age-old sandstone engraved artworks created by her ancestors.
Reaffirming RDN’s Aboriginal Commitment
“NSW Rural Doctors Network has a long history of working to increase access to health services for Aboriginal people across NSW. One of the main ways we do this is by working in partnership with Aboriginal organisations. Our partnership with the Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council of NSW. This partnership has remained strong for two decades and produced a number of innovative programs such as the Indigenous stream of the Rural Resident Medical Officer Cadetship Program.
“It is important to re-emphasise and reaffirm our continuing commitment to supporting health equity for Aboriginal people in NSW.
“In doing so we recognise and acknowledge the policies and practices of the last 200 years that have led to this inequity and had an indelible impact on the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal people.
“Speaking from the heart of a rural doctor, we value all Aboriginal people in our communities – your culture and stories, your knowledge of the land and its working. You have given us so much already, and we as a nation haven't always listened or appreciated it.
“The RDN Board, CEO and staff would like to reaffirm our commitment through continuing strong and productive partnerships with communities, health providers and the health organisations that serve them.”
This is an edited extract of a speech by (then) RDN Chair Dr Ros Bullock at the 2017 Rural GPs Conference.