Indigneous Eye Health Conference Oration

Indigneous Eye Health Conference Oration

Jilpia Napaljari Jones Oration 2024

The Jilpia Napaljari Jones Oration is a prestigious event held annually at the Indigenos Eye Health Conference in Nipaluna Hobart. This year, I had the privilege of delivering this esteemed address, and I chose to focus on the importance of mentorship, bravery, risk taking, support, mental health and well being, and looking after the next generation in Indigenous health care professionals.

Mentorship plays a crucial role in professional development and growth, especially for Indigenous eye care professionals. It provides us with guidance, support, and inspiration from individuals who share our values and have experienced the challenges and triumphs in our journey. It takes a village to raise a child, and the same can be said for nurturing an aspiring Indigenous eye care professional. Having a mentor who can relate to our lived experiences and provide guidance can make a significant difference in our personal and professional growth.

The concept of bravery and taking risks in Indigenous eye care cannot be underestimated. It takes courage to step out of our comfort zones and challenge the status quo, especially when navigating through systems and structures that are often unfamiliar or inequitable. Indigenous eye care professionals often face additional obstacles due to the systemic racism and discrimination that exists in healthcare. However, by embracing bravery and taking risks, we can advocate for better care for our communities and push for meaningful change.

Support systems are essential for Indigenous eye care professionals to thrive and navigate challenges. These can include peer support networks, professional associations, and mentorship programs. It is important for us to have a safe space where we can share our experiences, seek advice, and connect with other like-minded individuals. Building and nurturing these support networks can help us navigate the challenges of our profession and maintain our mental health and well being.

Mental health and well being are of paramount importance for Indigenous eye care professionals. The stresses and demands of our career can take a significant toll on our mental well-being, especially in light of the ongoing challenges faced by our communities. It is essential to prioritize self-care, engage in activities that promote well-being, and seek support when needed. This may involve seeking therapy, practicing mindfulness, or finding alternative ways to cope with the stresses of our profession.

Looking after the next generation is an important aspect of the Indigenous Workforce we need to foster. It means passing on our knowledge and skills to future generations, ensuring that they have a strong foundation. It is important to invest in our young people and empower them to become leaders in the field. By nurturing their skills, we can contribute to the development of a strong and vibrant Indigenous eye care workforce that will continue to advocate for and address the needs of our communities.

It was an honor to deliver this address and I am so greateful to have had the opportunity.

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