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2012 Deadly Awards: recognition of contributions to the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Posted on: 5 October, 2012
Issue: Vol 12 No 4, October 2012 - December 2012
Related to Services Workforce Indigenous health workers

The 18th Deadly Awards were held at the Sydney Opera House on 25 September 2012 and celebrated outstanding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander achievements in sport, the arts, music and health.

The purpose of the Deadlys is to recognise the contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to their community and to Australian society.

In relation to Indigenous health, two honours were awarded:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker of the Year, won by John Corow, Regional Manager for Indigenous Health, Wide Bay Medicare Local in Queensland
  • Outstanding Achievement in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, won by the Boodjari Yorgas family care program, Perth

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker of the Year

The Deadly Award acknowledged the outstanding work that John Corowa has achieved in the 14 months he has been in the role. He and his staff organise community health promotion and activities and are responsible for implementing Wide Bay’s Tackling smoking, Healthy lifestyles and Closing the gap programs. Activities also include cultural healing days, the Deadly choices touch carnival, women’s health information nights and an event called the Murri factor which showcases new talent in music.

‘My motivations are very simple,’ said Corowa. ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are still dying 10 to 17 years younger than other Australians. I am driven to close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous life expectancy.’

John’s passion for taking positive action is inspired by the success stories he sees across the Wide Bay.

Prior to working at Wide Bay Medicare Local, Corowa worked in Queensland Health for 10 years, starting his journey as a hospital liaison officer at Logan Hospital.

Outstanding Achievement in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health

The Deadly Award acknowledged the excellent work of the Boodjari Yorga family care program which strives to improve the quality of pregnancy care for Aboriginal families using local maternity services. ‘Boodjari Yorgas’ is a Noongar name meaning ‘pregnant women’. It was established as an antenatal clinic in 2007, and more recently expanded to include family care.

In its first four years, the clinic has assisted the safe arrival of many Aboriginal babies. After a child is born, the program continues to help and support the new mother in a culturally sensitive way, by providing advice and practical help, including transport to and from the clinic, and linking in with other local services an agencies.

An important part of the Boodjari Yorgas ethos is to deliver assistance from a cultural perspective of pregnancy and antenatal care, approaching it as a natural process rather than a medical program. Prior to the clinic’s establishment, there was no other service of its kind in the Perth metropolitan area. The clinic is delivered from Armadale Hospital antenatal clinic.

Other Deadly Awards were:

  • Most Promising New Talent in Music – Marcus Corowa
  • Single Release of the Year – Galaxy, Jessica Mauboy
  • Album of the Year – Home, Troy Cassar Daley
  • Band of the Year -  The Last Kinection
  • Male Artist of the Year – Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu
  • Female Artist of the Year – Jessica Mauboy
  • Hip Hop Artist of the Year – Yung Warriors
  • Most Promising New Talent in Sport – Damien Duncan Hooper
  • Outstanding Achievement in AFL – Lewis Jetta
  • Outstanding Achievement in NRL – Ben Barba
  • Female Sportsperson of the Year – Bo de la Cruz
  • Male Sportsperson of the Year – Patrick Mills
  • Dancer of the Year – Janet Munyarryun
  • Visual Artist of the Year -  Vernon Ah Kee
  • Male Actor of the Year – Jimi Bani
  • Female Actor of the Year – Deborah Mailman
  • Film of the Year – Mabo
  • Television Show of the Year -  The Straits
  • Outstanding Achievement in Literature – Ali Cobby Eckermann (Ruby Moonlight)
  • Outstanding Achievement in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education – Napranum Parents and Learning Group (PAL)
  • Outstanding Achievement in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment – Gavin Lester – Boomerang Constructions
  • Community Broadcaster of the Year – Natalie Ahmat – NITV News
  • Outstanding Contribution to the Stolen Generations – AbSec – NSW
  • Outstanding Achievement in Cultural Advancement – Tjanpi Desert Weavers – NPY Women’s Council
  • The Ella Award for Lifetime Achievement in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sport – Arthur Beetson
  • The Jimmy Little Award for Lifetime Achievement in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Music – The Sapphires – Beverly Briggs, Naomi Mayers, Lois Peeler, Laurel Robinson and Tony Briggs
  • The Marcia Langton Award for Lifetime Achievement in Leadership – Percy Neal
  • The Lifetime Contribution Award for Healing The Stolen Generations – Aunty Lorraine Darcy Peeters
  • The Sydney Opera House Award – Thelma Plum

Sources: Vibe Australia and Medicare Local Wide Bay