Work with Pinjarra’s Bindjareb women sees Dr Nilson named finalist in WA Nursing and Midwifery Awards


Dr Caroline Nilson with children involved in the Bindjareb Yorgas Health Program.
Dr Caroline Nilson with children involved in the Bindjareb Yorgas Health Program.

NURSING academic Caroline Nilson’s efforts to improve Aboriginal health outcomes in Pinjarra have been recognised as she was announced a finalist for the WA Nursing and Midwifery Awards.

Dr Nilson will be a strong contender for an award in Excellence in Aboriginal Health in the 2017 Western Australia Nursing and Midwifery Excellence Awards.

Dr Nilson has worked with the Bindjareb women in Pinjarra and developed and implemented a culturally appropriate and holistic community owned health and wellness intervention.

Her interest in the Bindjareb community would stem from cooking class program, the Deadly Koolinga Chef program, which she undertook in her own time.

“This program aimed to develop knowledge of shopping for and preparing healthy nutritious meals, which once prepared were then taken home to the family to eat,” Dr Nilson said.

The success of the program prompted the women of the Bindjareb community to ask Dr Nilson to help find ways to address the high prevalence of health issues in their families.

Together, they developed the Bindjareb Yorgas Health Program: Improving the Health of Women and Families, a wellness intervention that included nutrition and cooking classes, group exercise classes and a community vegetable garden.

“The importance of this program is that the Bindjareb women have been front and centre in all aspects of the development of the program and in the dissemination of the outcomes achieved from their participation in the program,” Dr Nilson said.

Murdoch University’s Head of Nursing Associate Professor Cathy Fetherston said Dr Nilson was an important role model to all nurses.

“Caroline Nilson’s innovative thinking, phenomenal work ethic, commitment, inclusiveness and resulting achievements demonstrate a positive path for those wishing to work in the area of assisting Aboriginal communities to achieve real change in their health outcomes,” she said.

Dr Nilson has won multiple awards for teaching over her career.

The 2018 WA Nursing and Midwifery Excellence Awards, which will be announced on May 12.

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