LEADER: Carly Cooke’s work as a local health advocate sees her committed to improving the lives of local indigenous people.
LEADER: Carly Cooke’s work as a local health advocate sees her committed to improving the lives of local indigenous people. CONTRIBUTED

Carly rises as role model for indigenous health

FOR many years indigenous peoples were afraid of using health care services because of prejudice.

One of Gladstone's facilities, Nhulundu Wooribah Indigenous Health Organisation, has stepped up and provided a comprehensive service to the community since 2000.

At the helm is health programs manager and regional tobacco and healthy lifestyle co-ordinator Carly Cooke.

Ms Cooke is a proud Aboriginal and South Sea Islander woman from the Bailai people in Gladstone.

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She co-ordinates a team of workers to carry out health promotion events and programs to raise awareness of the risk factors associated with chronic disease commonly seen in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Ms Cooke also represents the indigenous people under the theme Australian Stars Rising Above celebrates up-and-coming Australians who are achieving beyond their years and making positive changes in their community.

Ms Cooke's work as a local health advocate sees her committed to improving the lives of local indigenous people.

Going far beyond her call of duty, Carly also provides advice, support and health checks to a population of more than 2000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

At just 29, Ms Cooke has quickly become a well-known positive role model for indigenous youth in regional Australia and has embraced the meaning of Nhulundu Wooribah, 'looking after the elders and bringing in the old people who belong to us'.

In 2013, Carly established the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health incentive program, Deadly Choices.

Deadly Choices is a campaign which aims to empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to make healthy choices for themselves and their families - to stop smoking, to eat good food and exercise daily.

Deadly Choices also encourages people to access their local health service and complete a health check.

It now has more than 260 community members accessing the programs.

The Deadly Choices programs include Good Quick Tukka (assists participants to prepare healthy, cost-effective meals), Swim & Yarn (gentle water exercise and companionship for older clients) and the Elders Days Out (educational outings combining gentle exercise and healthy eating).

SERVICES:

  • Male and female doctors available
  • A chronic disease management team
  • A diabetes educator and dietitian
  • Immunisation
  • Maternal and child health
  • Men's and women's health
  • Hearing health


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