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Auro­ra Award

Win­ner: Ter­rie Tess’ Ivanhoe

The high­est pos­si­ble acco­lade with­in the remote and iso­lat­ed health pro­fes­sion, the Auro­ra Award, goes to Ter­rie​“Tess” Ivan­hoe in 2021.

Described by her col­leagues as a​“con­stant inspi­ra­tion for nurs­ing and mid­wifery staff”, Ms Ivan­hoe has spent the last 11 of her 20 years in remote prac­tice work­ing as a Nurse Prac­ti­tion­er on the Chron­ic Dis­ease Pro­gram at Nganam­pa Health Coun­cil in the APY Lands in north-west South Australia.

Her role involves facil­i­tat­ing vis­it­ing spe­cial­ists and doc­tors to deliv­er chron­ic dis­ease ser­vices in a coor­di­nat­ed man­ner so that clients can access high-qual­i­­ty care​“where they feel com­fort­able” and​“in a much time­li­er manner.”

Through­out the last 18 months, Ms Ivan­hoe has also co-led Nganampa’s COVID-19 Pan­dem­ic Response across their six large clinics.

To me my proud­est thing is to have pro­vid­ed first-rate care to the best of my abil­i­ty to Anan­gu peo­ple in a pro­fes­sion­al way,” Ms Ivan­hoe said.​“What the Anan­gu have taught me is to see things from the client’s side. We don’t do that enough in the main­stream. Remote area prac­tice teach­es you to seek to under­stand first.”

Any­thing that pro­motes remote area nurs­ing as a spe­cial­i­ty and as a pro­fes­sion is real­ly impor­tant. These awards bring the pro­fes­sion to the fore­front – not just in the remote area set­ting, but the whole of Aus­tralia. If one oth­er nurse decides they want to be a remote area nurse because of our sto­ries, then I think that’s real­ly important.”

Excel­lence in Remote and Iso­lat­ed Health Prac­tice Award

Win­ner: Helen Parker

The win­ner of the 2021 Excel­lence in Remote and Iso­lat­ed Health Prac­tice Award, spon­sored by James Cook Uni­ver­si­ty / Mur­tupi­ni Cen­tre for Rur­al & Remote Health, is Helen Parker.

Through­out her 15 years in remote area nurs­ing, Remote Area Nurse and Nurse Prac­ti­tion­er Ms Park­er has worked in Sau­di Ara­bia, Kenya, and remote North­ern Ter­ri­to­ry, from Cen­tral Aus­tralia to the Top End. She present­ly works as a Child Health Nurse with the Mala’la Health Ser­vice in Man­ingri­da, NT.

Ms Park­er said that upon find­ing out she had won,​“I was over­whelmed, I start­ed cry­ing… I felt real­ly hon­oured and proud of myself.”

To get some prop­er head­way or improve­ments in health, it’s a lot more besides antibi­otics and putting a band-aid on,” Ms Park­er says.​“It’s about tak­ing on the fam­i­ly, the cul­ture, the lan­guages, the way you speak… to be able to give that holis­tic care.”

Excel­lence in Edu­ca­tion and/​or Research Award

Win­ner: Kylie McCullough

The win­ner of the 2021 Excel­lence in Edu­ca­tion and/​or Research Award, spon­sored by Flinders Uni­ver­si­ty – Rur­al and Remote Health (CRH), is Dr Kylie McCullough.

Inspired by her ear­li­er expe­ri­ences as a remote area nurse in Kakadu, Dr McCul­lough is now a lec­tur­er based at Edith Cow­an Uni­ver­si­ty in Perth. She has pub­lished 7 aca­d­e­m­ic arti­cles and count­ing on remote health, and in 2018 com­plet­ed her PhD the­sis which estab­lished a frame­work of remote area nurs­ing practice.

Com­mu­ni­ties, employ­ers, oth­er nurs­es and Aus­tralians at large real­ly need to under­stand, val­ue and recog­nise the con­tri­bu­tion nurs­es are mak­ing to the health and well­be­ing of com­mu­ni­ties, and the advanced prac­tice nature of what they’re doing,” Dr McCul­lough said.

If we knew that, we would sup­port peo­ple more and pro­vide bet­ter incen­tives for going out bush. Our com­mu­ni­ties would val­ue nurs­es a bit more – and that’d make a dif­fer­ence to remote health.”

Col­lab­o­ra­tive Team Award

Win­ner: Mid­wifery Unit of the Coomeal­la Health Abo­rig­i­nal Corporation

The win­ner of the 2021 Col­lab­o­ra­tive Team Award, spon­sored by Remote Area Health Corps (RAHC), is the Mid­wifery Unit of the Coomeal­la Health Abo­rig­i­nal Corporation.

Team mem­bers include Dr Main­ul Khan, Dr Nalin Fon­se­ka, Zoe Andrews (Health Pro­mo­tions Offi­cer), Wendy Arney (Dietit­ian), Kiah Howard (Recep­tion­ist), Deb­bie Towns (Mid­wife), Robert Ritchie (Clin­ic Team Leader), Tim­my Gor­don (Abo­rig­i­nal Men­tal Health Peer Sup­port Work­er), Guy Mitchell (Trans­port Offi­cer), Jus­tine Williams (Health Ser­vices Man­ag­er), and Michelle Ter­rick (Prac­tice Nurse).

The Abo­rig­i­­nal-led mid­wifery unit in the Far West region of NSW has approx­i­mate­ly 2000 clients on its books and recent­ly tran­si­tioned to a dig­i­tal ante­na­tal record fol­low­ing com­mu­ni­ty consultation.

Ideas need to start from the grass­roots, rather than com­ing from the top-down,” Mid­wife Deb­bie Towns said.​“We have a lit­tle card, or a wal­let, that sticks to your mobile phone or sim­i­lar, then your lit­tle USB card will go into there, so all of your preg­nan­cy, you can car­ry it with your phone.”

Ms Towns iden­ti­fies the reduced risk of tran­scrip­tion errors and mis­place­ment of records at home, increased fam­i­ly bond­ing, enhanced pri­va­cy, eas­i­er shar­ing of records and results between organ­i­sa­tions, the abil­i­ty to sani­tise the card, and the involve­ment of many indi­vid­u­als (includ­ing a local artist) as key benefits.


Auro­ra Award

Win­ner: Pro­fes­sor Sabi­na Knight

Pro­fes­sor Sabi­na Knight, Direc­tor of the Cen­tre for Rur­al and Remote Health at James Cook Uni­ver­si­ty, based in Mount Isa, is the 2020 recip­i­ent of the pres­ti­gious Auro­ra Award from CRANAplus, the peak nation­al body for remote health.

The award each year recog­nis­es an indi­vid­ual who has made an out­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tion to remote health. This year’s awards focus on recog­nis­ing those who have respond­ed to the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic in an excep­tion­al way.

Fed­er­al Region­al Health Min­is­ter, Mark Coul­ton pre­sent­ed the award vir­tu­al­ly via video to Sabi­na today (Fri­day Decem­ber 4). The award pre­sen­ta­tion is nor­mal­ly a high­light of the organisation’s annu­al con­fer­ence which did not occur this year because of the pandemic.

This year, Sabi­na, who iden­ti­fies first and fore­most as a remote area nurse and health advo­cate, was appoint­ed as the CRANAplus rep­re­sen­ta­tive on the Nation­al COVID-19 Clin­i­cal Evi­dence Taskforce.

Sabi­na has been con­tribut­ing to CRANA since its incep­tion in 1983, through its growth into CRANAplus in 2008, up to the present day. She was the first CRANA Vice Pres­i­dent, has held the posi­tion of Pres­i­dent sev­er­al times over the years, and has held a vari­ety of oth­er elect­ed roles.

Excel­lence in Remote and Iso­lat­ed Health Prac­tice Award

Spon­sored by James Cook Uni­ver­si­ty, Cen­tre for Rur­al and Remote Health

Win­ner: Di Thornton

Di, who works for the Mallee Bor­der Health Cen­tre, is recog­nised for her inno­v­a­tive approach to the deliv­ery of health care dur­ing the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic, trav­el­ling to dif­fer­ent loca­tions with her team each day as part of her practice.

The clo­sure of the VIC/SA bor­der meant that the res­i­dents of part of remote SA, includ­ing Pin­na­roo, were unable to access health ser­vices, with only one part-time GP remain­ing in the area.

Di was shocked when advised that the res­i­dents of this region would no longer have rea­son­able or time­ly access to health ser­vices. She demon­strat­ed her lev­el of com­mit­ment to rur­al health by rapid­ly plan­ning and reor­gan­is­ing her prac­tice and staff to ensure ade­quate and essen­tial ser­vices remained either side of the bor­der. In time, the SA gov­ern­ment imple­ment­ed a​“bor­der bub­ble” which enabled Di to again pro­vide full ser­vices to her entire community.

She advo­cat­ed for sev­er­al Vic­to­ri­an patients in rela­tion to the bor­der issue, includ­ing one child requir­ing urgent can­cer surgery, with the sup­port of her local MP Dr. Anne Web­ster. Togeth­er with the Aus­tralian Col­lege of Nurse Prac­ti­tion­ers, Di and her team also lob­bied for a change to the bor­der clo­sure to allow for health care. Many peo­ple liv­ing in the region access ter­tiary health­care in Ade­laide, as it is clos­er than Mel­bourne, and they were sud­den­ly cut off from their usu­al spe­cial­ists and services.

The Col­lab­o­ra­tive Team Award

Spon­sored by Remote Area Health Corps

Win­ner: COVID-19 Response and Action Infor­ma­tion Group (CRAIG) at the Top End Health Ser­vice (TEHS)

The TEHS CRAIG team mem­bers are Ruth Derkenne, Kel­ly Hosk­ing, Jane Thomas, Tra­cy Porter and Tere­sa De San­tis. This team, has worked tire­less­ly since the arrival of the pan­dem­ic in Aus­tralia to pro­duce plans and pro­ce­dures for remote clin­ics to fol­low, and have con­tin­u­al­ly kept up to date with the mul­ti­ple changes that have occurred.

A major move was to design and devel­op easy to wipe down gowns made of para­chute mate­r­i­al so that health work­ers could prac­tice don­ning and doff­ing whilst not hav­ing to throw away pre­cious PPE, trav­el­ling to remote clin­ics to do this training.

They also cre­at­ed the CRAIG TEHS Pri­ma­ry Health Care newslet­ter, sent out week­ly, now fort­night­ly, updat­ing remote clin­ics with the changes, plans and resources avail­able to them.

In addi­tion, they have helped train and pull togeth­er Rapid Assess­ment and Rapid Response Teams, who are on call to be deployed into remote loca­tions should a case of COVID be found.

Team mem­bers have spent count­less nights awake and week­ends at work to devel­op all these things so that remote clin­ics are as best pre­pared as they can be for a pos­i­tive COVID case.


Auro­ra Award: Susan Mark­well

Excel­lence in Remote Health Prac­tice Award: Johan­na Neville

Excel­lence in Education/​or Research in Remote Health: Katie Pennington

Out­stand­ing Novice/​Encouragement Award: Tiffany Callahan


Auro­ra Award: Mon­i­ca Frain

Excel­lence in Remote and Iso­lat­ed Health Prac­tice Award: Natal­ie Thaida

Excel­lence in Education/​or Research in Remote Health: Tor­res and cape Nurs­ing and Mid­wifery Edu­ca­tion Team

Out­stand­ing Novice/​Encouragement Award: Desi Aji

Excel­lence in Men­tor­ing in Remote and Iso­lat­ed Health Award: Josh Stafford

Col­lab­o­ra­tive Team Award: Nurse Nav­i­ga­tor Team


Auro­ra Award: Asso­ciate Pro­fes­sor Sue Lenthall

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 

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

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

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 Hindmars

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

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

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

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

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: Vic­ki Gordon

NT: Mary Stafford

Mark McKenna