On Wednesday 21 April 2021 at the 2021 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Eye Health Conference: The Gap and Beyond, a number of sector awards were presented to individuals and organisations for their contributions in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander eye health.
The award ceremony started with the presentation of the 2020 Leaky Pipe Awards which were not presented last year as the conference was cancelled because of COVID-19 pandemic.
A live delegate vote at the conference agreed to rename the sector awards the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Eye Health Awards for 2021 and onwards. The new awards capture an enhanced emphasis on Aboriginal and Strait Islander peoples’ contributions to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander eye care. These awards follow the Leaky Pipe Award announcement.
We would like to congratulate to the following 2020 Leaky Pipe Award winners:
NSW/ACT Advisory Group for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Eye Health are the winners of the2020 Leaky Pipe Award for Regional Collaboration: This group operates through the NSW Rural Doctors Network and has led the NSW/ACT state eye health group over the past 4 years. Particular mention is made of the work and contributions of Rose Ellis, Sharif Bagnulo and Claire O’Neill at RDN, but all stakeholders contributing to the group have supported the successes which includes engagement across all of NSW. Congratulations to all involved.
Cathy Starr is the winner of the 2020 Leaky Pipe Award for Service Delivery: Cathy is an Ophthalmic Nurse working in the APY Lands in SA and plays a significant role in supporting community eye health through her work with the local health services and also the visiting ophthalmology and optometry teams. Cathy has worked in the APY Lands for the past 5 years and as she lives in the Lands, she has been able to develop a deep and personal knowledge of many of her patients – this helps to drive and improve participation in care. Congratulations Cathy.
Maree O’Hara is the winner of the 2020 Leaky Pipe Award for Unsung Hero: Maree is currently working at Miwatj Health Aboriginal Corporation in East Arnhem in the Northern Territory but was the eye health coordinator at Anyinginyi Health Aboriginal Corporation in Tennant Creek for over 13 years. Maree has worked tirelessly and been dedicated to her eye care work in Anyinginyi and with Tim Henderson from Alice Springs Hospital and the Brien Holden Foundation and is now carrying that work on at Miwatj. Congratulations Maree.
Karadi Aboriginal Corporation are the winners of the 2020 Leaky Pipe Award for Community Engagement: The Karadi eye story is one of ‘humility, innovation, community pride and positive outcomes for people’. Eye health has overcome barriers and become a priority for not just their community in Southern Tasmania, but for all Tasmanian Aboriginal people through the work and influence of Karadi and their small but effective staff group. Karadi’s great work was presented during the conference in the ‘beyond’ session. Congratulations Karadi.
Trevor Buzzacott is the winner of the 2020 Leaky Pipe Award for Community Leadership: Trevor is an Arrernte man from Central Australia and his mother was an Adynamathanha woman. He has been a champion of eye health since the 1970s when he began working on the National Trachoma and Eye Health Program with Fred Hollows and Hugh Taylor. Trevor has been his unfailing and continuous in support of Indigenous eye health, IEH and the sector. Importantly Trevor’s leadership has made a difference for community. Congratulations Trevor.
Congratulations to the 2021 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Eye Health Awards recipients:
Kerry Woods is the winner of the 2021 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Eye Health Award for Contribution to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Eye Health (Individual):
Kerry works as the Aboriginal Eye Health Coordinator for Lions Outback Vision (LOV)/Lions Eye Institute (LEI) and has been instrumental in supporting both the community acceptance and engagement of the service delivery system of LOV and the LOV Vision Van that has tripped through WA since 2016. Kerry is a Palawa woman from Tasmania and has worked in Aboriginal health for over 28 years. You can read one of Kerry’s stories on the IEH Share your Story website, here. Congratulations Kerry.
Victorian Aboriginal Health Service (VAHS) are the winners of the 2021 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Eye Health Award for Contribution to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Eye Health (Organisation):
VAHS has led the way to support ACCO-led engagement of eye health through a regular, weekly, visiting optometry service with the Australian College of Optometry since 1997 and since 2018 VAHS has had regular, visiting ophthalmologists and support staff from the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital. The clinic is modelled on a ‘Healthy Ears’ clinic established 7 years ago at VAHS. The development of this comprehensive eye care service delivery at VAHS is an outstanding example of achievement from an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled organisation. Congratulations VAHS.
Dr Kris Rallah-Baker is the winner of the 2021 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Eye Health Award for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Eye Health:
All in the sector, know, appreciate, and value Dr Kris Rallah-Baker. He is a proud Yuggera and Biri-Gubba man and is Australia’s first and only Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ophthalmologist and is presently the chair of the Vision 2020 Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander committee. Kris is one of the founding members of the Australian Indigenous Doctors Association and a Director of the Royal Flying Doctors Service. Kris has been advocating for, working with and contributing to his community all of his life and we are very fortunate that he has chosen a path in eye health. This award acknowledges Kris’ leadership in the sector. Congratulations Kris.
Congratulations to all of the 2020 and 2021 award recipients.
In previous years, The Leaky Pipe Awards have been presented at the conference to recognize achievements in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander eye health. The selection criteria for the awards have been broadened this year to include successes beyond the framework of the Roadmap to Close the Gap for Vision and towards sector initiatives to end avoidable vision loss and blindness for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.
We are pleased to open nominations for the awards – which include four new categories:
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership in eye health (new)
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander contributions to eye health (new)
- Aboriginal Community-Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHO) contributions to eye health (new)
- Health Promotion in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Eye Health (new)
Nominations for the categories of previous awards will also be gratefully accepted in
- Community Engagement
- Service Delivery
- Regional Collaborations & Partnerships
- Unsung Hero
Work in cataract, refractive error, diabetic eye care and trachoma care at a systems, clinic, community or patient level will all be considered. We are also particularly interested in identifying and acknowledging the many ‘unsung heroes’ in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander eye health.
Award Nominations Have Now Closed
Nominations for New Name Have Now Closed
As the 2020 national conference was cancelled, we will also be presenting the last Leaky Pipe awards from 2020 at the 2021 conference. The selection committee for the 2021 awards will include representatives of the Roadmap Evaluation Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Reference Group (ATSIRG).
The nomination form will require contact details of the person making the nomination in addition to information regarding the individual, group or organisation that is being nominated. A 300-word maximum statement in support the individual, group or organisation that is being nominated is requested, plus the name and contact details of a supporting referee.
Selection criteria for the awards include a significant contribution and demonstrable outcomes to improve eye health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.
Achievements will be measured against a broad range of criteria, including supporting implementation of the Roadmap to Close the Gap for Vision, Strong Eyes, Strong Communities and contributions to other programs and initiatives within the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander eye health sector
New name for awards
We are also excited to open nominations for the new name of the awards. You can submit your nomination for the new name of the awards below. A top 4 will be selected and delegates will vote on the final name at the 2021 conference.