HealthWISE Care Navigation program wins Primary Care award

A program working to connect Armidale’s Ezidi community with health care services has been recognised for its innovation and leadership.

HealthWISE Armidale’s Care Navigation Program was named 2022 Primary Care Leader – Service Provider at the Primary Care Quality & Innovation Awards on Friday night, June 24.

“It was great honour to be recognised for the work we do. We were thrilled just to be in company with such amazing finalists,” Care Navigator Melissa van Leeuwen said.

Melissa works alongside interpreters Kaso Elias and Jehan Darwesh. “The cultural knowledge and understanding that they bring the program is crucial to its success,” she said. The trio works to help community members access health services in a variety of ways, such as communicating with medical professionals, organising appointments and completing paperwork.

“Care navigation works from an empowerment perspective to assist members from the Ezidi community to build capacity, agency and understanding of the Australian health care system,” Melissa explained. “The Australian health care system can be overwhelming for many people, especially when you come from a non-English speaking background. There are added barriers for people with a refugee experience. The aim of the program is to help break down those barriers.”

The Ezidi community has high levels of trauma, complex medical issues and multifaceted health concerns. With a focus on building autonomy, the free service seeks to assist individuals and families in identifying their health related goals and overcoming barriers that may be impacting their overall health.

To reach the wider community, HealthWISE developed a series of short animated videos to explain various aspects of the Australian healthcare system, all spoken in the Ezidi language, Kurdish/Kurmanji.

Hosted by the Hunter New England Primary Health Care Network, this is the second year for the awards, which seek to celebrate the significant contribution primary health care providers, individuals and businesses make to the community.

The Primary Care Leader – Service Provider award aims to recognise the provider or individual that has best demonstrated innovation and leadership in primary care and the values of respect, accountability, integrity and cooperation. The other finalists recognised on the night were Community Therapy, Barton Lane, Rural Fit and Optimum Intake Dieticians.

Learn more about our Care Navigation program here. Watch Ezidi health care videos here.

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