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International Women’s Day: Aboriginal health care leader Nola Naylor inducted into WA Women’s Hall of Fame

Tyra PetersSound Telegraph
South Metropolitan Health Services’ director of Aboriginal Health Strategy Nola Naylor has been inducted into the WA Women’s Hall of Fame 2023.
Camera IconSouth Metropolitan Health Services’ director of Aboriginal Health Strategy Nola Naylor has been inducted into the WA Women’s Hall of Fame 2023. Credit: Karen Wheatland

Banjima woman and Waikiki local Nola Naylor has been inducted into the WA Women’s Hall of Fame for 2023 in recognition of her ongoing work in Aboriginal health care in the public health sector.

Since 2016, Ms Naylor has been the director of Aboriginal health strategy at South Metropolitan Health Services and the go-to person for Aboriginal health matters.

Through this role, Ms Naylor led the implementation of the SMHS Aboriginal Health Strategy and developed the Aboriginal Health Champions Network Program which identifies staff ‘champions’ to undergo a half-day cultural learning opportunity to gain additional understanding and experiences of Aboriginal ways of working and shared knowledge.

She has also partnered with Aboriginal health care leaders statewide to create an introductory module into Aboriginal Person Centred Care, giving clinicians the tools to ensure services are culturally appropriate.

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One of six First Nations women to be inducted this year, Ms Naylor said it was “a complete shock” to be nominated for the WA Women’s Hall of Fame for 2023.

“It’s such an honour to be inducted for such a prestigious position,” she said.

First established in 2011, the WA Women’s Hall of Fame recognises and celebrates the achievements of past, present and future Western Australian women. More than 240 women have been inducted to date.

Ms Naylor said over the years she has been inspired and motivated by many women, which she said contributed to her knowledge, skills and resilience.

“The many women who have walked this journey before (me) are most definitely a huge part of this,” Ms Naylor said.

She said working with Aboriginal health champions over the years had improved her skills and knowledge to enable better outcomes for Aboriginal patients.

Ms Naylor said this International Women’s Day was “an opportunity to reflect on and celebrate the many positive changes that have come into play to create equality”.

“International Women’s Day encourages, supports and facilitates that vital and necessary conversation that was once a much harder conversation to have,” she said.

A Banjima woman from the Pilbara, Ms Naylor has experienced her fair share of workplace challenges.
Camera IconA Banjima woman from the Pilbara, Ms Naylor has experienced her fair share of workplace challenges. Credit: Artist-freed

As a woman in the corporate world — particularly an Aboriginal woman from the central Pilbara — Ms Naylor said she has experienced her fair share of challenges in the workplace.

“Some of the biggest barriers faced throughout time is equality — then there are the additional barriers faced, being in a minority group and advocating for all peoples of this group,” she said.

Despite these barriers, Ms Naylor said being confident in her identity, strength and having a circle of strong, positive people around her has led to her success.

“In addition, staying grounded to the most important element of all: remembering where we came from and what we want to achieve,” she said.

When asked what motivates her to do the work that she does, Ms Naylor says, “For me, it’s about seeing outcomes.”

“I recognise that there are so, so many other women and people silently working for the greater good,” she said.

“They (contribute) to my resilience and are an inspiration . . . I have five daughters and see that each and every one of them, will in some way, little or big, contribute to women being empowered.”

Ms Naylor was inducted into the WA Women’s Hall of Fame at a Government House function on Tuesday, March 7 to coincide with International Women’s Day on Wednesday, March 8.

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