December 6, 2019

Toni Gabelish: Aboriginal Liaison Officer and Rising Star

At the fourth and final Staff Recognition Awards Ceremony for 2019, Toni Gabelish, Aboriginal Liaison Officer, was recognised as a Rising Star for her potential to grow and develop her career at Northern Health.

Karen Bryant, Senior Aboriginal Liaison Officer, who nominated her, said, “Toni is a new addition to our team. She has great people’s skills and relates well to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients. Toni is originally an Aboriginal Health Worker, working in many health positions up north of Australia in local Aboriginal community health services, this has been a great advantage to the knowledge of our people and the health status of Aboriginal community.”

Toni describes this award as special, and goes on to say, “The recognition is really lovely but that’s not the reason we do what we do. There are a lot of people at Northern Health who work tirelessly to accommodate our patients and make them feel welcomed, safe and cared for. I like to think I’m one of those people and know that the rest of my team go over and beyond daily to ensure we give our patients the best chance to complete treatment so they can get out of here and go home.”

In her role as Aboriginal Liaison Officer, Toni visits Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander patients Monday to Friday in the Emergency Department, Intensive Care Unit and across all inpatient wards and visit across all of Northern Health’s sites.

“We provide social, emotional and cultural care to keep our patients in the hospital. We are the ‘Welcoming Aboriginal face’ so our patients know we understand their history and struggles and this makes them feel culturally safe knowing they have us to walk with them on their hospital journey. Sometimes, all our patients need are a smile and a yarn,” says Toni.

Karen also had this to say about Toni, “She is kind, caring and empathetic to the health journey of the Aboriginal community. The patients love to receive visits from her and she comforts them in times of need. Toni has picked up the hospital system quickly and is a great asset to Northern Health for her Aboriginal lens on health.”

Simon Keating, Chief Strategy, Business and Development Officer, had this to add, “Toni has been a welcome addition to the Northern Health team and an amazing asset to the Aboriginal Support Unit of which I have been incredibly proud of since commencing here.”

Featured image (left to right): Toni Gabelish with Simon Keating.