2024 HWEI Winner Statements - Pride in Health + Wellbeing

2024 HWEI Winner Statements

2024 Australian Pride in Health + Wellbeing Awards Recipients

Service Provider of the Year

Gold Tier Service Provider

On behalf of our Senior Leadership Team, and indeed all of our St Vincent’s Health Network Sydney staff, I am delighted to accept the honours of Service Provider of the Year and Gold Service Provider in the Health and Wellbeing Equality Index.

We have a longstanding commitment to providing care for those who need it most, and an equally strong commitment to supporting staff to be able to bring their authentic selves to work. This year’s HWEI results demonstrate that we are working hard to demonstrate these commitments in all that we do.

The evidence submitted to the index covers how we work with our patients and consumers, how we develop and implement policies and strategies that support our staff and patients, and how we create a safe and inclusive space for those who come through our doors. It’s terrific to see the culmination of work undertaken by staff from so many parts of our organisation achieve this result.

I would like to especially call out the work of our Pride Network, who go above and beyond throughout the year to serve those who need it. Our health network is a better place for staff, patients and consumers as a result of their work.

Our history in this index makes me particularly proud – in our first year we achieved Bronze and in our second we achieved Gold and were awarded a joint Most Improved Service Award. As we move from Service Provider of the Year into our fourth year in the index, we are excited to work with our communities and partners to continue our work and share our success as we continue to learn and grow.

Anna McFadgen, Chief Executive Officer, CEO

Gold Tier Service Provider

cohealth is incredibly proud to be recognised for our efforts in LGBTQ+ equality and equity, in this year’s ACON Pride in Health and Wellbeing Awards. cohealth was honoured with the Gold Service Provider, alongside Uniting VIC.TAS and St Vincent’s Health Network.

The Gold Service Provider award is an outstanding achievement and one of the highest recognitions obtainable. It truly is an honour for cohealth to be named a Gold Service Provider, for the second year in a row. This outstanding achievement is reserved for organisations who score in the top 10% (90+ out of 100) on the HWEI.

The Health Promotion team won the LGBTQ+ Inclusive Innovation Award demonstrating outstanding work that showcases a novel approach, innovative thought and support for intersecting identities. The Team won the Award for projects including:

  • Supporting sports clubs to be safer and more inclusive for the LGBTQIA+ community by partnering with Proud2Play to deliver the Rainbow Ready Clubs program to community sports clubs.
  • Developing a campaign to create and promote breastfeeding-supportive community spaces across Moonee Valley Council and Maribyrnong Council, which highlight that LGBTQIA+ families have valuable experiences with human milk feeding in all its forms.

As a mainstream community health organisation, cohealth’s Health Promotion team is uniquely placed to create innovative projects by drawing on a team made up of health promotion specialists, community development workers and creative arts experts,

We greatly appreciate these awards and see them as encouragement that we are heading in the right direction, but we also understand that there is still much work to be done to improve access to health services for people from the LGBTQIA+ community.

Nicole Bartholomeusz, CEO

Gold Tier Service Provider

At Uniting we work together to inspire people, enliven communities, and confront injustice. So it is with great pride that we have again been benchmarked at the highest level – Gold Provider – in the Pride in Health and Wellbeing Index.

The four values we strive to embody at Uniting are that we are imaginative, we are bold, we are respectful, and we are compassionate. And we can’t be any of those things if we’re not an inclusive organisation.

In speaking about striving to be inclusive, I want to underscore the importance of being bold. During this time of increased polarisation in our broader society, we know more than ever that being bold must be visible in our everyday practice.

As a result we’ve invested in many ways to ensure that anyone who comes to receive a service or support from Uniting knows we are an inclusive organisation. That we take the rainbow of human experience seriously, and we strive for it to be embedded into absolutely everything we do.

And we also say to our staff that we celebrate and respect and love diversity. That we love the vibrancy their diversity brings to our organisation.

So, thank you so much and thank you to my wonderful team at Uniting who has done so much to bring us at Uniting Vic. Tas to this place today. We know we are not perfect, but we are committed to continuing our learning journey. And we remain humble in acknowledging the ways in which we can further strengthen the sense of safety and belonging for our consumers and our workforce from the LGBTIQA+ community.

Finally, I’d like to congratulate St Vincent’s Health Network and Cohealth for the extraordinary work they are doing to improve inclusive care, reduce health disparities, and provide supports for the LGBTIQA+ community.

Bronwyn Pike AN, CEO Uniting Vic.Tas

LGBTQ+ Ally of the Year

I am a very proud member of the St Vincent’s Hospital Pride Network, and I feel this award represents the entire team’s efforts. We work very closely to promote recognition and inclusion for all staff and patients. I am very grateful to my colleagues Craig McCall, Sean Evans, Evie Morris, Shane Kim, Danielle Austin and Brandon Bear who I have had the pleasure of working with on the St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney Pride Network Steering Group over the last 12 months. A particularly special thank you to Craig and Sean who initially invited me to join the group. I have learnt so much from everyone in the Pride Network and am very appreciative of their guidance and friendship.

I am proud of the work that the entire St Vincent’s team has done over the past few years to improve in the Health and Wellbeing Equality Index. We are lucky to work in a healthcare network that prioritises equality and inclusion.

While the work of the Pride Network goes beyond our involvement in Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, it is a major event. I am so proud to work at a Hospital that marches in the parade, and it is a highlight of the Hospital calendar. This year we were fortunate to celebrate and showcase the history of St Vincent’s involvement in the management of HIV and AIDS, as well as our history of heart transplantation. It is important that we reflect on the challenges faced and celebrate the progress that has been made.

There is always more work to be done, and I look forward to working with my St Vincent’s colleagues to help promote inclusion, equity and diversity in health care.

Health Promotion Team, cohealth
LGBTQ+ Inclusive Innovation Award

Thank you very much for the award. It’s a proud moment for the Health Promotion Team at cohealth to accept this. We are team-driven and passionate about health equity. As a mainstream community health organisation, we are uniquely placed in being able to create and produce innovative projects by collaborating with courageous community members, health promotion specialists, and industry leading inclusion organisations.

Our Health Promotion team applies an intersectional lens to our projects. For instance, over the last two years, we have created breastfeeding/ chestfeeding supportive community space across Moonee Valley and Maribyrnong Council to support, protect, and promote breastfeeding practices and environments for women, girls, and non-binary people. This was coupled with a social media campaign during World Breastfeeding Week.

Additionally, we have worked with various secondary schools and their interest in increasing sports participation for girls and gender-diverse people at Collingwood College, Western English Language School, and Mount Alexander College.

Another program, Rainbow Ready Clubs by Proud2Play, enables sports settings to be safe, and inclusive for employees and participants in practices and built environments. It’s built on research, lived experience and industry expertise. Our work isn’t possible without our partnership with Proud2Play in delivering their program.

Also, we are so grateful for the support of cohealth Diversity, Inclusion & Wellbeing team (Rhonda DiBlasi, Snr Manager Inclusion, Jamie Crooks, Inclusion Specialist & Lian Low, Diversity Projects Officer) and Rachael Scott, Snr Manager Client Experience!

LGBTQ+ Role Model Award

‘We can’t be what we can’t see’ is something that has inspired and empowered me since I first started in this work when I meet another LGBTIQA+ person living their truth. Each day since, I have aimed to be myself as authentically as I can be in my work and personal life.

Receiving the award for LGBTQ Out Role Model is a wonderful honour for me, and I am proud to have been recognised for living not only the values of Uniting, but for also leading positive change through adversity at a local level for regional and rural queer folk. Being ‘out’ in regional spaces can carry a lot of weight, and I am grateful to stand on the shoulders of others who have paved the way for me to flourish and lead in my own way as a queer leader.

Working with LGBTIQA+ young people is really special and being able to learn from them to help strive for positive change, even in tough circumstances, is something that is important. When we show the next generation that their thoughts, opinions, and voices matter it helps to affirm that they have purpose, respect and a place within our community and society too. Thank you to the young people that I am lucky to work alongside, who continue to share with so many of us, and help us all strive for inclusion.

Leading change in a way that brings people along the journey with you is important. To lead as role models, we all need to consider how we educate others and lean in to their truth, to help learning, encourage compassion and be bold in our work.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me through this journey, it truly means a lot.  

Illawarra Shoalhaven Cancer Care Centres
Most Improved Service Provider

We were thrilled to take part in the Health and Wellbeing Equality Index for the second time. Through our involvement we have been able to examine our service from a different perspective,  tailoring care provision for members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Our work has only just begun, and we look forward to ongoing improvements to our service in the coming years.

We are excited to share our progress has not gone un-noticed. The Illawarra and Shoalhaven Cancer Care Centres have received national recognition as the Most Improved Service Provider. The work is not complete, but we would like to take the time to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of the ISCaHN LGBTQIA+ Working Group and Ally Network. Without their impetus and enthusiasm this work would not have grown.

Their initial goal was achieved, to update the Patient Registration Forms to be more inclusive bringing ICCC and SCCC inline with international standards. This has prompted the service review to improve the standards to fill the gaps in order to create a space that is safer and more inclusive.

There is so much positive energy building within NSW Health to improve health outcomes and experiences of the LGBTQIA+ community. We look forward to being leaders within our Local Health District as further work is undertaken to break down barriers and healthcare provision to the rainbow community – equal, individualised and exceptional quality. We at Illawarra and Shoalhaven Cancer and Haematology Services look forward to working with all HWEI participants and other health services to share, learn and continue to grow towards this goal.

Sarah Elliot, Cancer Systems Innovation Manager