A new world of possibilities and opportunities

When Mandy Hutchinson walked into Health Issues Centre, she had high hopes.

As CEO of Northern District Community Health Service, she is passionate about community engagement and knew what she wanted.

“We have this idea that we are a service that is a reflection of the community. It’s vitally important that their voice is part of the fabric of what we do,” she said.

“But right now, I’m not sure that it is.”

Mandy signed up for the Graduate Certificate in Consumer and Community Engagement (10164NAT) as part of an ambition to transform her health service and amp up its consumer focus.

“We have been going for about 30 years and things change, populations change communities change, climates change, drought changes,” she said.

“Our challenge is are the services we have really meeting the needs of the community? I’m not confident that this is the case. We need to challenge ourselves more rigorously, more honestly and more often.

“This is a brave conversation to have with our community and we need to be brave. That’s why I’ve come to a space like this course.”

“We need other people’s ideas and theories and frameworks and different methodologies people have used so we can set something up that’s sustainable and full of opportunities and joy and meaningful change.”

A foundation for the future

Mandy said the course had laid a strong foundation for her that would empower her in conversations with government and philanthropic institutions in the future.

“Because of the course, I’m now more conscious of the gaps but also more confident about everything and have the tools to tackle it,” she said.

“Next year we’ll use some of the ideas we have had and get our framework ready. We have a strategic plan coming up next year and if we put in the groundwork in the next six months we’ll be really well placed to ensure the voice of our community is really loudly in that.

“I feel really quite excited because I have the tools to get going.”

Mandy said the course had opened her eyes to how she could make meaningful consumer engagement a reality in her health service.

“Consumer engagement makes such a difference to the service you’re providing – it adds a gorgeous richness. I always knew I wanted that but I can now see it being a possibility,” she said.

“I can see us being so proud of our workforce and clients collaborating. We need to really look after our future and to start to change the story to one of possibilities and opportunities.”

Mandy recently completed Health Issues Centre’s Graduate Certificate in Consumer and Community Engagement (10164NAT). If you would like to know more about this course, click here