Cassandra has been named the 2020 HESTA Australian Nursing & Midwifery Awards Midwife of the Year. She works for the Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service & Griffith University in Southport, QLD.
Cassandra was recognised for her dedication to improving the delivery of culturally safe, quality maternity care to more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people on the Gold Coast, particularly through the implementation of the Waijungbah Jarjums Service. Cassandra is a proud Ngunnawal woman and the first Aboriginal woman to join the midwifery group practice at Gold Coast University Hospital (GCUH), where she has led the way building a culturally safe midwifery workforce.
Cassandra was instrumental in setting up GCUH’s Waijungbah Jarjums Service, an innovative maternity health service that provides care and support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families, delivered by First Peoples midwives and nurses. Cassandra, who was also the first Aboriginal woman to complete Griffith University’s Bachelor of Midwifery, is an inspiration to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander midwifery students, whom she mentors, supports and educates. For the first time at GCUH, a First Peoples midwife will mentor a First Peoples midwifery student, all of them working to provide care for First Peoples women and their families.
The impact of Cassandra’s work to improve First Peoples’ health is far reaching. Since Cassandra joined GCUH in 2017, the number of First Peoples’ women and babies accessing GCUH maternity services has increased from three to 57, with the number of First Peoples’ midwives at GCUH increasing from one to five. Gold Cost Health data shows there have been significant improvements in the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women engaging in care, families’ satisfaction with care and babies with low birth weight – an important outcome for improved infant health.