Innovative approach to Reconciliation

Breaking down barriers inhibiting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from accessing health care, employment and education is the focus of St John of God Health Care’s second Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).

 Two caregivers at St John of God Health Care 

29 May 2017

The plan, launched as a part of Reconciliation Week, continues to build on the achievements and actions from the organisation’s first Innovate RAP that started in 2013.

St John of God Health Care Chief Executive Officer Dr Michael Stanford said the organisation has provided training and employment opportunities for Aboriginal people, established partnerships with local Aboriginal groups that have led to a greater understanding of Indigenous cultures and to the development of culturally sensitive health care services.

“We have employed 66 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander caregivers and we intend to increase this number significantly over the life of this current Innovate Plan which extends to 2019,” Dr Stanford said.

“By connecting with Indigenous elders and others in local communities we are finding innovative ways to support one another and offer much needed services.”

Dr Stanford said some key achievements in Reconciliation included being the only national health provider to sign the Australian Employment Covenant, helping to provide 50,000 sustainable jobs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“We have delivered cross-cultural awareness education to our managers and leaders and implemented an Indigenous Internship Program with Career Trackers that has resulted in 20 internships for Aboriginal people in our hospitals and service.

“Our vision for Reconciliation is that each person who identifies as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander is given the same respect and consideration as others in Australian society, with equal access to employment, health care and education,” Dr Stanford said.

“At St John of God Health Care we seek to play our part in creating a society where the dignity and worth of every person in Australia is seen as important and that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are supported to make their unique contribution to a future that is full of hope.”

Did you know?

The Sisters of St John of God, the founders of St John of God Health Care, have a long history of serving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

In 1907, the Sisters of St John of God founded health care services for the Aboriginal community in Beagle Bay in the Kimberley region of Western Australia and subsequently expanded to other Kimberley communities and have served in the region ever since.