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National recognition for Darling Downs Health initiative

[supplied by DDH]

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Anna Moffitt, Councillor Fred Cobbo, Rica Lacey, Dr Priya Janagaraj and Peter Boland at the National Rural and Remote Health Awards. Image: supplied

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Healthy Skin, Healthy Heart is a joint initiative between the Darling Downs Health Public Health Unit, Darling Downs Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Service and Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council and Health Council, which took out the award for Excellence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healthcare at the National Rural and Remote Health Awards this week.


The excellence award recognises teams and individuals from all peoples, natures and cultures, who deliver exceptional healthcare services that are culturally safe and responsive to the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Darling Downs Health Acting Director of Public Health and Community Medicine, Amanda Tucker said it was rewarding to be recognised for a holistic, multi-agency response addressing the rise of skin conditions and acute rheumatic fever.

“We partnered with local community stakeholders including the Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council and Health Council to ensure Healthy Skin, Healthy Heart met the specific needs of the community.

“During the program, we conducted 1255 skin checks, 300 echo screenings and 111 environmental health assessments. Environmental Health Officers also shared with members of the community how they can create healthy living environments.

“This project demonstrates that partnerships are essential in a public health response and that grass roots programs do make a difference, Ms Tucker said.

Darling Downs Health Director of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, Rica Lacey said the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workforce play a pivotal role in leading, inspiring, championing advocacy and influencing change in rural health to improve health outcomes.

“Healthy Skin, Healthy Heart highlights our commitment to make a positive difference in society, engage stakeholders, achieve measurable impacts and foster collaboration to achieve health equity and improve health outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the region.

“This is a huge achievement not only for the team, but the wider Cherbourg community.

“Without the leadership of Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council and Health Council the success of the Healthy Skin, Healthy Heart program wouldn’t have been possible,” Ms Lacey said. 

Darling Downs Health Chief Executive, Annette Scott PSM said winning a category at the inaugural Rural and Remote Health awards is an impressive accomplishment.

“The win recognises the great work of Darling Downs Health Public Health Unit and our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Service, and our organisations commitment to work with communities to achieve health equity.

“Darling Downs Heath is passionate about improving the outcomes for our communities and we’ll continue to develop programs and initiatives that do just that,” Ms Scott said.

The Healthy Skin, Healthy Heart program ran throughout 2023.

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