Meet Aunty Michelle
Aunty Michelle Jacquelin-Furr became a Cultural Mentor to provide meaningful cultural advice to staff at Pangula Mannamurna. Culture for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is a strong connection to family, community, and country; it is a connection to traditional lands and people, and incorporates their language, beliefs, law and ceremony.
As an Aboriginal Traditional Owner and Elder, Aunty Michelle says that culture defines who she is and how she lives her life.
With most health services having non-Aboriginal staff, the need for cultural advice on dealing with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, clients, and their co-workers in a respectful manner is paramount.
“Many new registrars are hesitant and unsure about how to treat our clients, so I make sure mentoring is conducted in a non-threatening environment so they have a safe place to share their concerns,” said Aunty Michelle.
At Pangula Mannamurna, Aunty Michelle also runs the Women’s Yarning Network group. The group meets once a week and includes the GP Registrar talking to the women. The women set the topics they would like to discuss, and then Aunty Michelle and the registrar discuss these before each session to bring prepared material back to the group.
“The bond between the group and registrar becomes very strong over the year, and this activity is another way that we are working towards Closing the Gap.”
Aunty Michelle also personally attends the Pangula Mannamurna Clinic and uses the registrar as her GP.
“This is another way that I form a bond with the registrar, and use my personal interaction as an example to the Women’s Yarning group. It reduces the shame factor and shows that we all experiences problems from time to time,” said Aunty Michelle.
Aunty Michelle Jacquelin-Furr is a Cultural Mentor at the Pangula Mannamurna Clinic in Mount Gambier.