A woman wearing glasses and a shirt with Hepatitis C message of prevent, manage, treat.

Clinical Nurse Consultant, Alex Wade.

Prestigious award caps a stellar 2023 for Alex Wade

Dec 22, 2023

Clinical Nurse Consultant Alex Wade finished the year in fine fashion, not only presenting the outstanding work of the Liver Clinic team on the international stage but also as the 2023 recipient of the prestigious Cheryl Burman Award.

The award from Hepatitis NSW acknowledges the outstanding work of an individual or team within the NSW viral hepatitis sector.

Alex was recognised for her substantial contribution to improving the quality of life for people living with viral hepatitis, particularly her unwavering commitment to affected communities, her exceptional healthcare delivery and her pioneering work in improving the wellbeing of marginalised and vulnerable people.

Working across the Mid North and Northern NSW local health districts, Alex engages with people from many different communities.

The Liver Clinic team’s ‘Assertive Outreach Model of Care’ includes driving the mobile clinic wherever needed to test and treat people at risk of Hepatitis B and C, peer programs designed to remove stigma, and work development orders designed to encourage access to health care in return for revenue debt relief. These initiatives were recognised in the award testimony and were the key talking points of Alex’s presentation in Switzerland a few months ago. 

At the International Network on Health and Hepatitis in Substance Users (INHSU) 2023 conference, Alex explained how the Liver Clinic team always looks for ways to support clients and connect with at-risk people.

Alex built on an existing peer program to improve the engagement of people with a lived experience of viral Hepatitis or injecting drug use to help connect clients to health care.

“Our approach is multidimensional and responsive. It’s about meeting people where they are, whether on the oval or at the local homelessness service,” Alex said.

“I had lots of positive feedback and questions about this model of care at the conference, which led to three more presentation opportunities, with the final one being the somewhat anxiety-inducing role of rapporteur for the ‘Models of Care’ stream at the conference’s closing event.

“My key takeaway was the section on women’s health in people who use drugs and the overall health issues this population experiences. It was inspiring and disheartening; there is still so much stigma and discrimination. This group has as much right to access healthcare as anyone else.”

For Christmas, Alex said the team’s wish is for all who live rough, the vulnerable and marginalised to have full bellies and people who care for them.

In 2024, Alex and the team will consolidate their outreach work to build more partnerships and hope to present their same-day test and treat model at INHSU, held in Athens in 2024.

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