Two women holding a certificate in front of Australian and Aboriginal flags

Multicultural Health Clinical Nurse Consultant Michele Greenwood receives her humanitarian award from Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC KC, Governor of New South Wales.

Humanitarian Award recognises Michele’s refugee support

Jul 02, 2024

Multicultural Health Clinical Nurse Consultant Michele Greenwood from the North Coast Population and Public Health Unit has been recognised for her exceptional contributions to the lives of refugees with an NSW Humanitarian Award.

Michele was presented with the Refugee Supporter award by Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC KC, Governor of New South Wales this week for her efforts in supporting and advocating for the wellbeing of refugees.

The NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors (STARTTS) and the Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) announced the winners of the 2024 NSW Humanitarian Awards at Government House on Monday night.

In her nomination, Michele was acknowledged for more than two decades of dedication to making the health system more accessible and responsive to the needs of refugees, ensuring they receive not only medical care but also the dignity and respect they deserve.

She was praised for facilitating the integration of refugees into the Coffs Harbour community and her unwavering commitment to humanitarian service and supporting vulnerable populations.

Michele said it was “incredibly humbling” to receive the award for working with local refugee communities.

“Witnessing their physical and emotional recovery, knowing they trust my care, deeply motivates me,” she said. “As refugee health nurses, we’re their advocates, navigating a complex health system to keep them healthy and prevent hospital stays.

“Their resilience inspires me – they’ve endured unimaginable loss yet rebuild their lives here. I would like for everyone to recognise how difficult their journeys have been, show some compassion, understanding and just be kind.

Since the arrival of humanitarian entrants in Coffs Harbour in 2000, Michele has been at the forefront of developing and delivering essential healthcare services tailored to the unique needs of refugees.

Her journey began as a Chest Clinic Nurse, where she first noticed the healthcare challenges faced by refugees who could not find suitable community health services.

Michele’s recognition of these challenges spurred her to establish the Coffs Harbour Refugee Health Clinic in 2006, a pivotal moment that has since provided comprehensive health assessments, vaccinations, and specialist referrals for refugees and asylum seekers.

Michele’s work is notable not only for its direct impact but also for the broad collaborative networks she has fostered. She has been instrumental in building partnerships across various sectors, including refugee settlement support agencies, general practitioners, and mental health services, to create a holistic support system for refugees.

 

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