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Award recognises rural health champions

Two champions of rural and remote health have been named joint recipients of the 2017 Minister for Health’s Award for Outstanding Commitment to a Healthier Western Australia, presented at the annual WA Health Excellence Awards.

Medical Director of the Statewide Obstetric Support Unit Dr Diane Mohen and retired Fremantle Hospital Medical Consultant Dr Dan O’Donnell were the first to share the prestigious honour since it was introduced in 2014.

The Minister for Health’s Award recognises an individual who demonstrates a commitment to helping achieve ‘healthier, longer and better quality lives for all Western Australians’.

Dr Mohen was recognised for a career spanning 30 years, throughout which she was a tireless champion for maternity services across country WA.  Her passion and hard work has ensured that many rural women could receive care closer to home.

Dr O’Donnell was acknowledged for three decades of service to socially disadvantaged patients from the South Metropolitan corridor, as well as to the rural and remote communities in the Christmas and Cocos Keeling Islands and the Kimberley.  He had a special interest in cardiac disease following childhood rheumatic fever which saw many patients brought down from the Kimberley for investigation and management.

Also honoured at the WA Health Excellence Awards was the Diabetes Telehealth program, which took out the night’s ultimate prize, the Director General’s award for best category winner.

The program is the first diabetes educator-led telehealth service in Australia and brings equitable and flexible diabetes education closer to home for rural Western Australians.

In its first two years, the program received more than 700 referrals, and saved more than 113,000 kilometres in travel for consumers and 54 days of travel for diabetes educators.

For more information, visit http://ww2.health.wa.gov.au/ExcellenceAwards