Health Consumers Queensland is delighted to introduce Cassandra Nest, HCQ’s new First Nations Consultant – Engagement and Partnership!
Cassandra or Cas, is a proud Pajong Fish River woman of the Ngunnawal Language group. Cas is a mother to two and midwife by trade. Born and raised on Bundjalung and Kombumerri Country of Northern NSW and the Gold Coast. Cassandra comes from a long line of healers, Traditional Birth attendants and nurses.
Cassandra was the first First Peoples graduate of Griffith University’s Bachelor of Midwifery and is currently studying a Master of Primary Maternity care by dissertation which is due to be completed in 2024.
Cas was the inaugural Identified Midwifery Navigator for Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service (GCHHS), inaugural Identified Clinical Midwifery Consultant, inaugural Acting Assistant Director of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and the inaugural Griffith University First Peoples Midwifery Lecturer. Cas also held an Adjunct First People Midwifery Lecturer position with Griffith University during her tenure with QLD Health.
Cas was recently acknowledged for her leadership and outstanding commitment to the co-design and development of the Waijungbah Jarjums culturally safe maternal and child health model of care as Hesta’s national Midwife of the year for 2020 and for her contribution to First Peoples Health as the Griffith University Outstanding First Peoples Alumni.
Cas’s lived experience as a Ngunnawal woman and career in health provides her with a deep understanding of the cultural, social and political factors that impact First Peoples health and wellbeing. Cas has the innate cultural knowledges and ways of knowing, being and doing to inform and facilitate meaningful engagement and partnerships with First Peoples and do things the proper way to empower self determination. Her passion is driven by her cultural responsibility to contribute to improving the wholistic health and wellbeing outcomes of her people through embedding cultural protocols and consumer voice into organisations and health services to co-design and redesign services to address holistic health and wellbeing.
“The way the opportunity to work with HCQ presented itself is a perfect example of living by First Peoples cultural protocols, everything aligned for this work to be done. This newly created position is an example of HCQ commitment to working respectfully with Australia’s First Peoples. My role will guide HCQ on how to embed cultural protocols in the way they work with First Peoples to amplify their voice and actively contribute to driving the change that will result in decolonising our health care systems.”