Award Winners

2018 Aurora Award

Winner: Monica Frain

Monica’s career in remote health launched following the completion of a Masters in Public Health and Tropical Medicine in the late 1990’s. For more than a decade Monica was a Remote Area Nurse in one of Australia’s most isolated communities at Kalumbaru, in the East Kimberley of far North, Western Australia.

Monica is held in high esteem by the Elders and Traditional Owners in the Kalumbaru area has been described as a passionate advocate for Aboriginal Health Workers, supporting their studies through the Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services Councils School of Health Studies.

As the Regional Remote Nurse Manager, Monica was instrumental in developing the capability of her nurse colleagues. Monica led the introduction of Pharmacotherapeutics for RANs into remote health services in WA. In addition she was the first to recruit nurses into remote practice using the Graduate Certificate in Remote Health Practice in Wyndham.

After moving to Broome, Monica undertook a leadership role within the Population Health Unit, of Western Australian Country Health Service. During her time Monica has influenced the health outcomes of people across her region by implementing standardised evidence-based practice, including introducing a shared chronic disease records across the Kimberley.

Monica is an active Fellow of CRANAplus and regular contributor to conferences. Monica strongly ‘lobbied’ for CRANAplus to bring our last Conference to Broome and also Perth in 2010, both times actively seeking people and financial support to ensure it was a success.

Monica is admired by her colleagues and is considered a leader in remote health practice through her commitment to continuously improving the skills of the remote health workforce.

Monica has a clear vision and sees health care as a vehicle for ‘closing the gap’ and works tirelessly with community groups and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations to ensure Aboriginal voices are heard at the decision-making table.

Monica is known by her peers, colleagues and friends as loyal, hardworking, collaborative, courageous, humble, diligent and the ultimate optimist. Most importantly she is a loving mother and grandmother.

2018 CRANAplus Award Winners

Excellence in Remote and Isolated Health Practice Award

Sponsored by Mount Isa Centre for Rural & Remote Health

Winner: Natalie Thaiday

Natalie is an endorsed enrolled nurse employed by Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service as an Indigenous Nurse Navigator Support Officer. Natalie works together with the Nurse Navigators and is recognized for her enthusiasm, passion and dedication to the people of the Cape York and Torres Straits.

Her peers say ‘she is a force to be reckon with’ in her position, and a role model ensuring the success of the service. Natalie has contributed to reducing the number of ‘no shows’ episodes and discharges against medical advice, as well as improving health literacy for Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service clients attending Cairns base appointments.

Excellence in Education or Research in Remote Health Award

Sponsored by Centre for Remote Health

Winner: Torres and Cape Nursing and Midwifery Education Team

Congratulations to the Torres and Cape Education Team, they are known for having a passion for living and working within remote areas, working tirelessly with all health professionals, educating and setting the standard for excellence in remote area practice. They are strong drivers, fostering engagement with the indigenous communities with the overall goal of ‘closing the gap’ and empowerment of local staff members.

Excellence in Mentoring in Remote and Isolated Health Award

Sponsored by Remote Area Health Corps (RAHC)

Winner: Josh Stafford

Josh Stafford is the Director of Nursing at the Lockhart River and Coen Primary Health Care Centre. Josh has worked in Cape York the past 10 years as a Remote Area Nurse and now a Director of Nursing. He is a committed RAN and is dedicated to improving the health outcomes of the communities in North Queensland.

His peers describe him as being an excellent, kind and engaging clinician in remote practice and a very capable and caring manager. With this expertise, Josh shows excellence in mentoring for the development of remote nurses. He is currently involved in a program which supports the introduction of ‘early career nurses’ into remote primary health care centres, as well as being supportive to all members of his staff. Josh has been described as an ambassador to the vital and continuing development of the remote nursing workforce.

Outstanding Novice/Encouragement Award:

Sponsored by Aussiewide Economy Transport

Winner: Desi Aji

Desi Aji is a Remote Area Nurse employed since 2016 at the Billiluna Health Clinic at the East Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services. Desi is seen as a driving force as well as an excellent clinician and communicator, well respected by the community, and known for her enthusiasm and commitment to remote and isolated health.

Through Desi’s quiet confidence and competent approach, she has been instrumental in arranging and completing many adult health checks which resulted in identifying a large cohort of women with sexual health needs. By the end of 2017 Desi had achieved 100% compliance for attendance and treatment. This is only one example of her influential nature and the quality of primary health care delivered by Desi. Her peers describe Desi as a warm, highly motivated, and supportive colleague, and is seen as a future leader and advocate in the field of remote nursing.

Collaborative Team Award

Sponsored by Bellette Web Design

Winner: Nurse Navigator Team

Congratulations to the Nurse Navigator Teams located in Cairns, Thursday Island, Weipa and Cooktown, this team is comprised of nurses, midwives and indigenous support officers who are all very experienced in remote health.

The Nurse Navigation team is dedicated to improving the health outcomes for Far North Queensland remote communities. This innovative new service, in its first year or so of operation, reported an outstanding achievement whereby more than 900 people from the Torres and Cape York had received their support.

The aim of the Nurse Navigator team is to facilitate the health care journey for complex patients to improve their health outcomes in both the short and long term. 4 key principles drive the practice of this service:

  • Coordinating person centered care
  • Creating partnerships
  • Supporting individuals through a regularly fragmented health care journey
  • Facilitating system improvements.

Past Award Winners


Aurora Award: Associate Professor Sue Lenthall

CRANAplus Awards:

Excellence in Education/or Research in Remote Health: The Nursing Education Team, Torres & Cape Hospital & Health Service
Excellence in Remote and Isolated Health Practice Award: Ms Kathy Arthurs
Collaborative Team Award: Mookai Rosie Bi-Bayan
Novice/Encouragement Award: Isabel Pearce
Excellence in Mentoring Award: Steve Brown


Aurora Award: Glenda Lucas

CRANAplus Awards:
Excellence in Education/or Research in Remote Health: Tobias Speare
Excellence in Remote Health Practice Award: Rita Appelt
Collaborative Team Award: Cooper Basin RFDS Team
Novice/Encouragement Award: Daphne De Jersey
Excellence in Mentoring Award: Joanne Mahony


Aurora Award: Sandra McElligott

CRANAplus Awards:
Excellence in Education/or Research in Remote Health: Sally Foxley
Excellence in Remote Health Practice Award: Annette Jones
Collaborative Team Award: Utira Kulintjaku (UK) Team, NPY Women’s Council
Novice/Encouragement Award: Benjamin Crough
Excellence in Mentoring Award: Pauline (Polly) Rubin


Aurora Award: Judy Whitehead

CRANAplus Awards:
Excellence in Education/or Research in Remote Health: Annette Olsen
Excellence in Remote Health Practice Award: Dinah Northcott
Collaborative Team Award: Midwifery Group Practice, Central Australia & Apunipima Cape York Health Council’s Maternal and Child Health Team
Novice/Encouragement Award: Catherine Jurd
Excellence in Mentoring Award: Jonathon Wright


Aurora Award: Donna Hindmarsh

CRANAplus Awards:
Excellence in Education/or Research in Remote Health: Vicki Gordon
Primary Health Care Champion Award: Yvonne Tan
Excellence in Remote Health Practice Award: Christine Foletti
Collaborative Team Award: Indian Ocean Territories Health Service
Novice/Encouragement Award: Emily Taylor
Excellence in Mentoring Award: Sheryl Alexander


Aurora Award: Sue Kildea & Karen Schnitzerling

CRANAplus Awards:
Excellence in Remote Health Management Award: Lesley Pearson
Primary Health Care Champion Award: Debbie Thompson
Excellence in Remote Health Practice Award: Rebecca Vele
Collaborative Team Award: Frontier Services – Savannah Regional Health Service
Novice/Encouragement Award: Sarah Marsh


Aurora Award: Kary Sachse

CRANAplus Awards:
Excellence in Remote Health Management Award: Monica Frain
Excellence in Mentoring in Remote Health Award: Theo Allan
Primary Health Care Champion Award: Katie Pennington
Excellence in Education and/or Research in Remote Health Award: Julia Stewart
Excellence in Remote Health Practice Award: Debbie Moon


Aurora Award: Isabelle Ellis

CRANAplus Awards:
Clinical Excellence Award: Nazlin Remtula
Excellence in Primary Health Care Award: Sharon Liversey
Excellence in Mentoring Award: Selina Kulitja
Excellence in Remote Health Management: Emma Barritt


Aurora Award: Robyn White

CRANAplus Awards:
Clinical Excellence Award: Doune Hepner
Excellence in Remote Health Management Award: John Wilson
Collaborative Team Award: Torres Strait Outer Islands remote area nurses
Excellence in Primary Health Care Award: Bev Hamerton
Novice/Encouragement Award: Lisa Hall
Excellence in Research and/or Education Award: Sue Lenthall


Aurora Award: Vicki Gordon

WA: Vanessa Page
NT: Sharon Weymouth
SA: Beth Hummerston
QLD: Bev Hamerton
VIC: Caitlin Steiner


Aurora Award: Libby Bowell

NT: Mary Stafford
TAS: Mark McKenna