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Cherisse Buzzacott

Board of Trustees

I am an Arrernte woman from Alice Springs, NT and I am a midwife. I was the first student to graduate from the Australian Catholic University (ACU) Bachelor of Midwifery Indigenous- course, an Away-from-Base delivery mode. This allowed women from the NT to travel to Brisbane for study blocks but remain in community, where I worked as a student midwife with Alukura. I am the first in my family with a university degree.

I remain involved with ACU through tutoring first-year students and I often mentor Aboriginal midwives and students because I know how difficult the journey of an Aboriginal midwife starting out in her career. I was also the recipient of the ACU Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Award which led to receiving the Alumni of the Year award in 2016.

My experience varies from working in a large inner-city tertiary hospital to working in Alice Springs Hospital, where I spent 1 year as an outreach midwife travelling to a remote community. I have experience working in the areas of birthing, antenatal and postnatal care and, completed my women’s health training which allowed me to practice autonomously while in community. This role was with Midwives Outbush (MOB), which was an outreach, continuity-based model that began with four midwives working from the maternity ward travelling to remote Aboriginal communities on a monthly basis and providing a clinic within the hospital when those Aboriginal women came to Alice Springs for their ‘Sit-down’ (2-4weeks before the birth of their baby). I was able to consult with other midwives in my team to support and follow-up with those women to ensure they felt supported at a time when they were isolated and vulnerable; also case-managing to ensure fluid transition from hospital back to community. I was promoted to team leader on the maternity ward within the first couple of years at ASH.

Now I am based in Canberra my focus is Birthing on Country. I am employed at the Australian College of Midwives working as the Project Officer for the Birthing on Country (BoC) Project, co-Chairing the Birthing on Country Strategic Committee. The BoC Project aims to establish Aboriginal Birthing on Country models of maternity care in two sites. Our focus is improving maternity care delivery to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers and babies, working in collaboration with Aboriginal women to ensure the provision of culturally safe care to their women and families.

My involvement to the Rhodanthe Lipsett Trust Fund as a Director will ensure representation of the wider community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander midwives and students. As a recipient of both scholarship’s category A and B, I appreciate the work of the RLIMTF in support of workforce development and as an outcome, the improvement of access and equality to health for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.

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