In a challenge inspired by Reconciliation Week, HealthWISE staff have spent
the past two months running a virtual lap of over 1636 kilometres.
The run covers the distance between the health organisation’s nine offices from Tamworth to Ipswich. It was developed as a way for staff to connect through exercise while working remotely due to the pandemic, and to honour the Reconciliation Week theme of ‘In This Together’.
“When we’re finding ourselves working remotely, we can still come together. And that’s the whole basis of reconciliation, is coming together to learn, live and work with respect,” HealthWISE Aboriginal Team Leader Mary Porter said.
The map HealthWISE used to guide their journey included the nation groups of traditional Aboriginal land, giving participants the chance to learn more about their local areas. The enthusiastic group were able to reach the virtual distance two weeks ahead of their May 27 deadline, marking the beginning of Reconciliation Week.
“I thought it was a fantastic idea, and as an Aboriginal person, it made me very proud that when you’re looking at the map, you could get information about our country and our people,” Mary said.
Using the phone app Count-It to track their steps, staff were able to add to the team total by running or walking as well as bike riding, meditation and yoga.
“HealthWISE is a really positive working environment. We ensure that everyone is included in our decision-making processes and when programs are delivered across the regions that we have input from local community people,” Mary said.
HealthWISE delivers a wide range of health and education programs across the New England North West region and South West Queensland, including many which reach Aboriginal communities. These include popular walking groups in Gunnedah and a free ‘one stop shop’ for health in Narrabri with an endocrinologist, diabetes educator, podiatrists and dietitian.
“Aboriginal people have more chronic conditions than the non-Indigenous population,” Mary explained.
“HealthWISE as an organisation recognises this, and are always working towards reducing this disparity by helping people manage their chronic conditions, and hopefully to prevent these conditions through healthy lifestyle programs.”