Group photo of GP gathering 2023

Second VACCHO Statewide GP Gathering a Huge Hit

May 16, 2023

VACCHO were honoured to host our second Statewide GP Gathering on Wurundjeri Country in Healesville in early May. The Gathering brings together GPs who work in Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations from across Victoria for a weekend of reflection, professional development, cultural education, and peer reunions.

The rain did nothing to dampen the spirits of our GPs and their families. Standout moments included an immersive session in Dadirri: an Ancient Aboriginal Mindfulness Tradition, facilitated by Ash Dargan and Alison Burrell from We Al-li.

The experience featured powerful storytelling, didgeridoo, and a guided meditation, described by participants as a “deeply healing, spiritual, and connecting experience.”

Wurundjeri Elder Murrundindi provided an on-country educational walk around the Healesville Sanctuary, sharing insights into native plants and their many traditional and contemporary uses in medicine and cuisine.

Wurundjeri Elder Murrundindi talking to a group of GPs

Wurundjeri Elder Murrundindi leading an on-Country education session at Healesville Sanctuary.

Other highlights included passionate presentations from Amanda Hand, CEO of Oonah Aboriginal Health and Community Services, Dr Karen Nicholls, Chair of the RACGP’s Faculty of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, and Professor Kerry Arabena of First 1000 Days Australia.

Dr Hung The Nguyen, who practices at Dandenong and District Aborigines Cooperative and is Chair of VACCHO’s GP Advisory Group, reflected on the gathering as a way to support GPs and their families, and to guard against burnout.

Executive Director of Population Health Abe Ropitini said workforce gatherings are always a highlight of the annual calendar in Aboriginal Community Controlled Sector.

“Every member of our ACCHO workforce goes above and beyond to support the Communities they serve. VACCHO is proud to support them to feel more connected to the wider sector and the important purpose we are all working for.”

“I’d like to thank the incredible GPs from all our Victorian ACCHOs for their dedication, knowledge, and hard work. I look forward to seeing everyone again in 2024.”

This event was supported by the Health Workforce Scholarship Program funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and administered in Victoria by Rural Workforce Agency Victoria (RWAV).

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VACCHO is the peak body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing in Victoria – the only one of its kind – with 33 Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations as Members. VACCHO Members support over 65,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Victoria, and combined are the largest employers of Aboriginal people in the state.