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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Unveiling the spirit of NAIDOC Week at the pace of trust: Uncle Michael West and Pfizer leader

Health Industry Hub | July 3, 2023 |

National NAIDOC Week (2 – 9 July 2023) is a time for Australians from all walks of life to come together in heartfelt recognition and appreciation of the traditions, wisdom and accomplishments of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

In marking the celebrations, Leigh Simmonds, Senior Manager Patient Advocacy, Corporate Social Responsibility and Reconciliation Action Plan Lead at Pfizer, and Uncle Michael West, Director of NSW Indigenous Chamber of Commerce, Director of Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) and Member & Custodian of the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council, joined Health Industry Hub to discuss the theme for this year’s NAIDOC Week For Our Elders.

Uncle Michael, with a wealth of wisdom, shared his personal journey as a member of the Stolen Generations and shed light on the pivotal role of elders as custodians of knowledge in First Nation’s culture, the oldest continuous living cultures in the world.

Leigh expressed her passion and growing knowledge through engagements with First Nation’s elders. She said, “It certainly has been a journey and Pfizer has been moving at the pace of trust.”

While the conversation delved into various aspects, one critical topic took centre stage: equitable access to healthcare. Leigh underscored the pressing need for accessible and inclusive healthcare services. She highlighted the disparities faced by First Nation’s people in rural and remote areas and the importance of culturally safe services.

“It’s important to be invited to the table and not muscle your way in. At Pfizer, we have been learning that and really trying to be respectful of that,” she stated.

When asked about policymakers’ role in closing the health inequities faced by First Nation’s people, Uncle Michael emphasised, “It’s so important to think about a holistic approach to health. Aboriginal people being in the room and at the table is so important – being able to explain what’s best for your community, and all communities are different.”

The discussion highlighted the pivotal role of ongoing collaboration, trust-building, and cultural understanding to address health disparities and achieve meaningful change for First Nations people.

In reimagining healthcare across the entire patient journey, Health Industry HubTM is the only one-stop-hub bringing the diversity of Pharma, MedTech, Diagnostics & Biotech sectors together to inspire meaningful change.

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