Queensland’s own awarded National Midwife of the Year
Published Friday, 15 September, 2023 at 01:58 PM
Minister for Health, Mental Health and Ambulance Services and Minister for Women
The Honourable Shannon Fentiman
- Queensland Government congratulates Melina Connors, a Queensland midwife, on being named the Australian College of Midwives National Midwife of the Year
- Ms Connors was recognised for her passion and dedication to ensuring all First Nations babies are born healthy and have a strong start to life
- Melina’s work on Queensland Health’s Growing Deadly Families Strategy is a clear demonstration of her commitment to providing culturally safe maternity care
Queensland midwife Melina Connors, a proud Gurindji woman, was awarded the prestigious Australian College of Midwives National Midwife of the Year award on Wednesday.
Ms Connors was recognised for her outstanding contribution to midwifery, including her work to provide culturally safe maternity care for First Nations women and families.
With over 10 years of clinical experience as a midwife and Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Liaison Officer, Ms Connors is passionate about ensuring that all First Nations babies in Queensland are born healthy and have a strong start to life.
Her passion for best practice in this area was instrumental in the development of Queensland Health’s Growing Deadly Families Strategy, a statewide initiative to improve the health of First Nations people with a focus on culturally safe maternal health services.
The strategy sets out the vision that all First Nations babies in Queensland are born healthy, giving them a strong start to life and born into strong, resilient families.
Last year, Ms Connors travelled 44,500 kilometres as part of the ongoing implementation of the strategy. She visited remote communities and hospitals across the state, meeting with First Nations women and families to discuss their needs and how she could best support them.
Ms Connors also provides cultural and midwifery expertise to support Hospital and Health Services, as well as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Organisations, in the co-design of midwifery continuity of care and carer models for First Nations women, babies and families.
She said the experience was invaluable, as it allowed her to fully understand the impact of leaving Country at such a crucial time in women's lives.
In addition, she learned that urban health services also face challenges in achieving and delivering culturally safe and appropriate services for First Nations families.
Ms Connors is a role model for other midwives and is committed to making a difference in the lives of First Nations women and families.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Health, Mental Health and Ambulance Services and Minister for Women Shannon Fentiman:
“I am so pleased that Melina’s dedication and passion to supporting First Nations families has been recognised by the Australian College of Midwives.
“Midwifery led models of care are essential for improving the health of First Nations women and babies.
“These models of care put the woman and her family at the centre of care, and they provide continuity of care from pregnancy to postpartum.
“It is well known that when First Nations women are supported by First Nations midwives, they are more likely to have positive birth experiences and healthy babies.
“The voices of First Nations women must be at the forefront of discussions about maternity care, and I applaud Melina for listening to their voices and working together to create a system of care that is truly responsive to their needs.”
Quotes attributable to clinical consultant and midwife Melina Connors:
"Winning this award is surreal, but it’s not just for me. On a personal level it's for my daughters and granddaughter but also for all First Nations women and their babies as we work towards Closing the Gap.
“The Growing Deadly Families strategy is about creating culturally safe maternity models of care for First Nations women, families, and for women carrying First Nations babies.
“It is so important to listen to First Nations women, families and communities, and their maternity experiences with the health system.
“Following the birth of my first daughter, I was motivated to become a midwife and create change to improve the experiences for First Nation’s women.
“I am proud to be working on the first-ever Queensland First Nations maternity strategy and to be part of co-designing culturally safe maternity care for First Nations mothers and their newborns.