learning and leading


In 2011, Jonathan Ford was named Young Leader at the HESTA Primary Health Care Awards for his work in Indigenous communities. Since then, he hasn’t slowed down one bit.


Like so many HESTA members, primary health care activist and HESTA Award winner, Jonathan Ford, is a person who knows how to keep busy.

In 2010, aged 28, he established the health and wellness centre Moorditj Koort in Western Australia, while studying a Bachelor of Applied Science in Indigenous Community Management and Development. A year later he won the Young Leader award at the HESTA Primary Health Care Awards.

It was an invaluable period of continual learning. “I was learning something in class one day, and I’d go and do it the next day,” says Jonathan.

His philosophy was, and still is, to avoid narrow thinking. He believes primary health care workers must understand social factors — such as education and housing — and how they have a knock-on effect on health and wellness.

With that in mind, Moorditj Koort, which means 'good heart' in the local Noongar language, offers a complete approach that meets the needs of the Kwinana and Rockingham communities in Perth.

“We provide health checks in schools, bridging the gap between education and health,” Jonathan says.

In addition to raising Moorditj Koort’s profile, the HESTA award provided a $5,000 grant to further the program, which went towards marketing and promoting the initiative.

Sharing knowledge

Jonathan hasn’t stopped since those early days.

In 2014 he was appointed CEO of Moorditj Koort, plus he holds seats on a number of other boards, helping him gain further insight and experience.

One such board is the Aboriginal Alcohol and Drug Service board, which, Jonathan says, “has the best governance and systems processes in WA that I know of”.

April 2016 saw Moorditj Koort celebrate a big achievement, when the titles of two Medina properties where the organisation operates were handed over from the Aboriginal Lands Trust.


Future plans

Looking to the future, Jonathan hopes to head back to university to study a Master of Business Administration (MBA) this year.

He also plans to continue to increase public knowledge of Aboriginal health and wellness issues.

“The government has come up with a slogan ‘Aboriginal health is everybody’s business’. We have to spread that message to education, to employment, to the justice system,” he says.


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Who inspires you?

If you know someone who's doing some amazing work in primary health care, make sure you nominate them for the 2017 HESTA Primary Health Care Awards.