EZIDI REFUGEES resettling in regional areas have been able to better understand the complex Australian healthcare systems they need.
In less than a year, HealthWISE Armidale's Care Navigation Ezidi Program has gone from just a trial to winning an award.
It was named Primary Care Leader 2022 at a ceremony last week to celebrate the significant contribution made by primary health care providers, individuals and businesses.
The Ezidi community experienced what the United Nations (UN) described as genocide against them by ISIS between 2014 and 2017.
More than 600 refugees call the inland city home since residents and the council campaigned to be chosen as a resettlement location.
Social worker Melissa van Leeuwen and interpreters Kaso Elias and Jehan Darwesh help refugees understand the health services available to them.
"When they've come to us here in Armidale, there's a lot of high levels of trauma, grief, loss, depression, all those things that come with that refugee experience," Ms van Leeuwen said.
"But, also high levels of complex trauma and complicated medical issues.
"One of my jobs is helping people to understand, to sort of break down our systems and help people understand how to actually use it."
The care navigation program sets itself apart because it helps people help themselves.
That approach can sometimes get lost in the healthcare industry, she said.
"Ultimately, I see this type of program as something that if we are doing our job well, then we won't be needed anymore," she said.
"Sounds counterintuitive I know, but that's the ultimate goal, is to help people to be able to help themselves and empower the community to help each other so that interaction with the services is not needed as much."
This is the second year the awards have been held, hosted by the local Primary Health Network in Newcastle.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.