IWC wins national Aboriginal Medical Service of the Year Award

THE Indigenous Wellbeing Centre (IWC) in Queensland has been named the Aboriginal Medical Service of the Year in the prestigious national Australian General Practice Accreditation Ltd (AGPAL) awards.

An IWC delegation accepted the award at a Gala Dinner in Brisbane on 27 May held as part of the AGPAL and QIP (Quality Innovation Performance) 2016 Conference.

AGPAL is a leading provider of accreditation and related quality improvement services to general practices. QIP is a national certification and accreditation organisation dedicated to supporting health and community services in managing risk and quality.

IWC has already been held up as a model of excellence in patient care by AGPAL after last month being awarded a National Award of General Practice Accreditation for the next three years.

IWC, as a non-government, Aboriginal community-controlled and charitable organisation, has a focus on Indigenous, vulnerable, disadvantaged and at-risk peoples in the Bundaberg and Wide Bay / Burnett communities.

It delivers a whole-of-person, unique holistic model, and provides services to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.

IWC has more than 12,500 clients, and growing. It also is the largest employer of First Nation peoples in the region, with around 50 per cent of its staff of more than 90 being Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.

IWC Director Cheri Yavu-Kama-Harathunian said: "This is recognition at a national level - a high-level endorsement of the IWC unique whole-of-person care model which is working to improve health and wellbeing right across our communities. IWC is Aboriginal community-run, non-government and charitable, with a focus on empowering Indigenous peoples, the vulnerable, disadvantaged and at-risk.

"This award recognises IWC is leading the way in delivering a new paradigm of community and private partnership not just in this town or state, but nationally. It is a real feather in the cap of the Bundaberg / Burnett region because it is driven and led by community need.

"This award acknowledges at the highest level that IWC is achieving the highest standards of service delivery, underpinned by strong governance and a robust business model.

"At the heart of IWC's success is the fact that it is always staying in touch with the real needs of the community and forming strong, realistic relationships with stakeholders that partner in the continuum of care for clients.”

The accolade is precious to those who have been a key part of the drive behind IWC over the past decade and more.

Local Elder Averill Eggmolesse said, as IWC was formed: "I have waited for a health service to my people for 64 years. I never thought I would be alive to see it happen.”

Today, Aunty Averill is a member of the IWC Board, providing invaluable contributions to the IWC and its vital work, and the organisation holds the title of Aboriginal Medical Service of the Year.