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Meet new CRANAplus Board Member, Naomi Zaro

2 Dec 2021

At the CRANAplus Annual General Meeting in October, Naomi Zaro was voted in as the organisation’s newest Board Member. A proud Torres Strait Islander woman, Ms Zaro is eager to support the implementation of the CRANAplus First Peoples’ Strategy.

Abo­rig­i­nal Health Prac­ti­tion­er Nao­mi Zaro hap­pened to turn on her com­put­er while work­ing in a remote NT com­mu­ni­ty, to dis­cov­er she’d just been wel­comed as the newest mem­ber on the CRANAplus Board. With­in min­utes, Nao­mi was attend­ing a spe­cial Board meet­ing and get­ting to know her fel­low Board mem­bers online.

I am going to enjoy being able to con­tribute to the direc­tion that CRANAplus is head­ing in rela­tion to the First Peo­ples’ Strat­e­gy,” says Nao­mi, a proud Tor­res Strait Islander woman, a descen­dant of the Meri­am peo­ple in the east­ern Tor­res Straits, from the Dauar tribe.

Encour­ag­ing increased recog­ni­tion of the roles of Abo­rig­i­nal Health Prac­ti­tion­ers (AHPs), espe­cial­ly in remote com­mu­ni­ties, is close
to Naomi’s heart, hav­ing worked in this area her­self for 10 years.

I feel that I can con­tribute to the organisation’s First Peo­ples’ Strat­e­gy focus,” says Nao­mi, whose Board duties are now added to her exist­ing responsibilities.

Orig­i­nal­ly from Kal­go­or­lie in WA, Nao­mi has worked for the past 18 months as an AHP for Sun­rise Health Ser­vice, based in Kather­ine in the NT, and is about to com­plete her Diplo­ma of Abo­rig­i­nal and/​or Tor­res Strait Islander Pri­ma­ry Health Care Prac­tice. Nao­mi also has two chil­dren and four grandchildren.

AHPs and RANs com­ple­ment each oth­er in pro­vid­ing a client-focussed ser­vice in com­mu­ni­ties,” says Naomi.

She iden­ti­fies the con­ti­nu­ity of care offered by Abo­rig­i­nal Health Prac­ti­tion­ers work­ing in their own com­mu­ni­ties as the most impor­tant aspect.

It’s won­der­ful to go into these com­mu­ni­ties and meet clients and see the rap­port they have with the AHPs, know­ing they are reas­sured because they are able to see the same per­son; not hav­ing to repeat them­selves over and over again.”

The AHPs, along with Indige­nous staff in the cen­tres, are also a foun­tain of knowl­edge for the oth­er clin­i­cians when it comes to cul­tur­al aware­ness,” says Nao­mi.

The truth is – you don’t know what you don’t know. And they love to share their knowl­edge.”

Nao­mi, who hails from desert coun­try in WA, adds that she par­tic­u­lar­ly likes vis­it­ing the nine dif­fer­ent com­mu­ni­ties in the NT that her organ­i­sa­tion ser­vices, trav­el­ling on out­back roads, wit­ness­ing the wildlife and the colours of the land­scape.

She has already clocked up three years of Board expe­ri­ence as the WA Direc­tor to the Nation­al Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Islander Health Work­er Asso­ci­a­tion from 2016 to 2019.

Nao­mi is look­ing for­ward to net­work­ing with her fel­low Board mem­bers and get­ting involved in learn­ing and shar­ing knowl­edge and expe­ri­ence with remote clinicians.

Get to know all CRANAplus Board Mem­bers on the Our Peo­ple page.