“It’s a milestone I’ve reached in my life as I continue to strive to work in Aboriginal health which I take as a passion in my work and my community.”
These are the words of Leonie Morcome who has celebrated 30 years of work with the Biripi Aboriginal Medical Centre.
Leonie started in 1987 after being urged to become a trainee health worker.
“The following Monday I came into work and I haven’t looked back,” she said.
She later attended university to receive her first qualification in Aboriginal health before becoming a public health worker in 1991.
A stint in senior health work followed before becoming a cultural security and safety co-ordinator and a family health worker (working with domestic violence and sexual assault cases).
“We make sure we continue their journey with them along the way to get a better outcome for what they need,” she said.
Leonie said she has seen many changes in Aboriginal health over her career and inspires her cultural awareness students to do the same.
When she started in the profession, Leonie saw drug, alcohol, diabetes and AIDS as major health factor to Aboriginal people. Today, it’s health, nutrition, cancer and diabetes as leading health issues. Leonie added that she takes a “holistic approach” when discussing Aboriginal health.
“It's not just the major health problems we face, it’s the deal with the social well-being of it all and holistically we look at other areas to do with housing, education and mental health,” she said.
Having worked in an assistant management role, Leonie said would like to be in a mentor/manager position in the future and act as a role model for the Biripi people.
She encouraged young people to take up a career as a health worker.
"I want them to strive to reach goals and be dedicated,” she said.
“They’re going to be our next generations and will be leading the way as we get older.”
She also encouraged health workers and nurses to continue to work together.
"We all work together side-by-side and we come across the same pathway but we walk down that pathway together,” she said.