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June 2019

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Monash Health’s Tracey Stephens.

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Monash advocate receives top prize

Monash Health Aboriginal health liaison midwife Tracey Stephens has been recognised in the 2019 HESTA Australian nursing and midwifery awards.

Ms Stephens was named midwife of the year.

She received the award for improving maternity and healthcare outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and babies and implementing culturally-appropriate and safe maternity services.

‘Winning this award has been very humbling but I am very excited because the role that I have been in for the last 15 months is the exact reason why I became a midwife.

‘I have always wanted to be a midwife that supports Aboriginal families and communities.’

An advocate for Aboriginal health, Ms Stephens 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, Ms Stephens has partnered with numerous external organisations and internal teams to ensure women are informed about the services they can access and all aspects of healthcare are addressed during their time at the hospital.

One of Ms Stephen’s leading achievements is the development of the Bubup Bag, an initiative to ensure Aboriginal expecting mothers and their families have the resources and information they need during and after pregnancy.

All Aboriginal women who engage with Monash Women’s are offered a Bubup Bag, as well as support from Ms Stephens.

The bag acts as a great conversation starter within the Monash women’s and newborn services and aims to create a culturally-aware and safe environment within maternity departments.

As a result of Ms Stephens’ 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), which now offers increased health programs that complement its own maternity services.

As a long-term advocate for culturally-safe maternity practices, Ms Stephens regularly provides cultural awareness training and services within hospitals to ensure they are culturally-sensitive when delivering care.