2020 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.
2019 CRANAplus Award Winners
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.
Past Award Winners
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 Thaiday
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 Hindmarsh
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: Libby Bowell
NT: Mary Stafford
TAS: Mark McKenna