advancing Aboriginal maternity care

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Tracey Stephens is the winner of Midwife of the Year at the 2019 HESTA Australian Nursing & Midwifery Awards. She works at Monash Health in Clayton, Vic

Tracey Stephens is recognised for improving maternity and health care outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and babies by implementing culturally appropriate and safe maternity health care services.

 

An advocate for Aboriginal health, Tracey liaises with the community and acute hospital services to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and their babies have access to appointments and adequate health care.

To achieve this Tracey has partnered with numerous external organisations and internal teams to ensure women are informed about the services they can access and all aspects of a woman’s and her baby’s health are addressed during their time at the hospital.

Due to Tracey’s hard work, the number of Aboriginal babies born at Monash Health has doubled, there has been a decrease in no shows for prenatal appointments, and she has built a strong partnership with the local Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (ACCHO) who now offer increased health programs that complement their current maternity services.

As a long-term advocate for culturally safe maternity practices, Tracey regularly provides cultural awareness training and services within hospitals to ensure they’re culturally sensitive when delivering care. In 2017, Tracey was awarded the Sally Gould Award recognising her achievements as a midwife and for her substantial contributions to the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Australians.

Through her determination and hard work, Tracey has been pivotal in improving the maternity care provided by Monash Health to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. 

 

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in my community are often vulnerable and experience many barriers when trying to access health care."

“This is why it’s really, really important for Aboriginal women like myself to be in roles like this. Aboriginal-led care is crucial to promoting the best possible health outcomes for these women and their babies,” says Tracey.

In her role as the Aboriginal health midwife at Monash Health, Tracey liaises with the community and acute hospital services to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and their babies have access to appointments and adequate health care.

“This is my dream role. Every day, I get the opportunity to work with women to achieve the best outcomes in their birthing journey," Tracey says. "After birth, I'm able to follow these women into the community and watch healthy babies and competent mothers thrive."

Tracey’s work has contributed to the number of Aboriginal babies born at Monash Health doubling, in addition to the hospital seeing a decrease in no shows for prenatal appointments.  

“Having Aboriginal midwives working with Aboriginal women, babies, and families is vital, and it’s my passion. I am proud that the number of Aboriginal women accessing the service has increased and through this, we have implemented so many great improvements across our healthcare system,” says Tracey.  

Tracey says she plans to use the award prize money to further her professional development and training in the areas of Aboriginal health, cultural safety and intergenerational trauma.   

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