Aunty Val Dahlstrom, recipient of the 2019 Dr Jeremy Bunker Outstanding Achievement Award, unfortunately passed away on 21 December 2019 in Moree. Aunty Val was GP Synergy’s Aboriginal Liaison Officer until June 2019 when she made the decision to retire.
As a Kamilaroi Elder, Val worked tirelessly in many areas of her community and GP Synergy providing advice and guidance on issues concerning Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
She has left a long-lasting legacy. Val was employed by the Area Health Service for over thirty-five years in the area of Aboriginal health. She was instrumental in shaping many programs that continue to support the Aboriginal community, and is a key figure in numerous reviews, and publications. She was instrumental in developing the first Aboriginal Health Worker Award, health service review following the ‘Brereton Report’, and the hand-over by the Catholic Diocese of Pius X Medical Service to an Aboriginal management committee. Val was a long-serving Chairperson at Pius X; a member of the NSW Aboriginal Advisory Committee to the NSW Bi-Centennial Committee; and a member of the National Aboriginal Advisory group to the National Bicentennial Authority. Val was also elected as a representative to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission for the Kamilaroi Region and was Chairperson for the first three-year term. More recently she served on the executive committee of the Cultural Educators and Mentors network in AGPT.
Val joined GP Synergy in 2009 and helped direct relationships and engagement with the network of Aboriginal Medical Services across NSW and ACT, was instrumental in developing GP Synergy’s reconciliation action plans, involved in the creation of the Diploma of Practice Management for Aboriginal Medical Services and resources such as the Solitaire Explore – Defining moments in Aboriginal history App, and author of excellent publications such as “Gives us a break!”.
She will be missed.