THERE is a renewed focus on Aboriginal health and the need for ongoing improvement.
It is National Reconciliation Week until June 3.
The week's theme is 'In This Together'.
Helping to lead the way is Jessica Morris of Port Macquarie who is part of a new regional team striving to reduce health inequities, increase access to services and support disease prevention.
Mrs Morris, who has worked across a range of health positions during her career, is an Aboriginal health coordinator with North Coast Primary Health Network (NCPHN). She covers the Birpai (Port Macquarie) and Dunghutti (Kempsey) areas.
A proud Wiradjuri woman who has lived in Port Macquarie for more than 13 years, Mrs Morris has extensive experience in health promotion, project planning, implementation and evaluation. She holds a Master's Degree in Public Health.
"I've always liked that I can listen to local communities, help identify needs and respond to them," Mrs Morris said.
"I try to work in a real capacity building way, which can make a big difference to stakeholders and our communities."
NCPHN has recently restructured its Aboriginal health team and has four key members, including Mrs Morris, working as Aboriginal health coordinators in communities between the Camden Haven area south of Port Macquarie, north to the Queensland border.
Their responsibilities include needs assessment and planning, program development, creating and maintaining linkages with other sectors and supporting commissioned programs and services.
"I'm loving my new role," Mrs Morris said. "Our team members are passionate and strong leaders and our team is working to support our Aboriginal Medical Services and our local Aboriginal communities the best way we can."
Mrs Morris encouraged non-Aboriginal people to embrace National Reconciliation Week. She suggests everyone should learn more about their local area, talk to Aboriginal Elders and community members, explore their culture and hear their stories.
NCPHN is currently developing a Reconciliation Action Plan that is committed to working towards a better future together with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, communities and organisations.