Stevie Raymond – Journey to Dietetics & Nutrition

Future Leader in Indigenous Allied Health Award

Winner – Ms Stevie Raymond

Award winner Stevie Raymond is a young Indigenous woman who was the first Indigenous student at University of Wollongong to complete a Bachelor of Nutrition & Dietetics. She is forging the way for other Indigenous people to embark on a career in this critical area of need within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. She graduated in mid 2014 with Grade 1 Honours and received an award for the Deans Merit List for high achieving students.

Since winning my award in 2014 and completing my Bachelor of Nutrition & Dietetics at UOW in 2014 (pictured above) I worked 4 years full time in rural and urban NSW in a range of dietetics areas including aged care, food service, clinical (both hospital inpatients and private practice outpatients), community health promotion and with a number of Aboriginal medical centres on the Mid North Coast of NSW.

I have always been passionate about working with and improving the health of other Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people. After focusing the initial years of my career in gaining a wide variety of dietetic experience, I then felt prepared enough to begin directing my career more specifically towards Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples health. Early 2019 I successfully gained a role as a Public Health Outreach Dietitian in Central Australia, Northern Territory. This role has me based in Alice Springs and providing both clinical services and health promotion initiatives to five remote indigenous communities including Nyirripi, Yuelamu, Harts Range, Engawala and Bonya.  I plan nutrition projects and health promotion initiatives that the communities themselves identify as areas of need through community and stakeholder consultation. Areas of need could be anything from providing group education sessions on nutrition and physical activity in the remote schools, to upskilling local staff to cook more nutritious lunches that meet the School Nutrition Program Guidelines, working with remote stores to improve their store environment to promote healthier choices, to capacity building and teaching people new skills in cooking and meal preparation. It also allows me to upskill and educate other health and service providers in area of nutrition.

Professionally, the job has not only provided me with greater perspective of Indigenous Health and the spectrum of challenges of the social determinants of health, but also helped me better understand ways in which we can improve it through methods such as two-way learning.

Having worked in remote, rural and urban communities I have been exposed first hand to health disparities of Aboriginal & Torres Straits Islander peoples versus non-Indigenous people, including the rates of chronic diseases such as diabetes. Given this area of need, I have since completed a Graduate Certificate in Diabetes Education through Deakin University via distance education, to further my knowledge and allow me to provide better, more informed diabetes related health services to my high risk communities.

Lastly, as I see great value in increasing the health workforce with more Indigenous people and really want to assist in providing support where I can, I have also elected to be an IAHA Mentor and have had the pleasure of working with an incredible IAHA student member this year.