2019 Friends Rural Health Awards

Unsung Hero

Bernie Shakeshaft

Bernie Shakeshaft

Bernie is the Foundation Chief Executive Officer of BackTrack. This varied and community-oriented program helps young people to get ‘back on track’ by developing strong, happy and healthy foundations that result in positive life pathways and full participation in their communities.  

BackTrack enables young people who have lost their way to reconnect with education and training to become work-ready and secure meaningful employment. Working mostly with 12-19 year old males from rural areas, BackTrack addresses four key risk factors: education and employment; health and wellbeing; substance use; and crime. Bernie leads BackTrack’s work through its wide range of programs that provide therapy, learning, accommodation and employment.

The work is underpinned by the flexibility needed to meet each client’s differing needs, and by support from multiple volunteers, local industry and the broader community. This enables each young person involved in the program to feel a true sense of belonging and self-worth in their own community. BackTrack website:  www.backtrack.org.au

Youth Award

Stephanie King

Stephanie King

Stephanie is a Waanyi woman from north-west Queensland who began her career with the Mount Isa Centre for Rural and Remote Health (MICRRH) as an Administrative Assistant. She went on to lead the Mount Isa Safe Communities project to international accreditation and to sustainability as a voluntary community group.

Following completion of her Bachelor of Applied Sciences (Indigenous Community Development) from Curtin University, Stephanie took on a research trainee role at MICRRH and has been instrumental in bringing the community voice to several important projects.

Stephanie has been an effective community representative to the Hospital and Health Service at regional and state level, and has taken on Board roles with organisations such as Young People Ahead, Gidgee Healing and the Queensland Indigenous Family Violence Legal Service.

She has established a community yarning circle for people affected by trauma and loss, and has secured a number of grants for a film project for young people experiencing relationship and identity challenges. As well as being a community powerhouse, Stephanie is the proud mother of two who has committed her working and personal life to making a difference to her community, to rural health and to its health workforce.

Nursing Award

Kordinelija Stott

Kordinelija Stott

Kordinelija has demonstrated a strong commitment to the profession of rural and remote nursing and to the communities in which she has lived and worked for the last 20 years.

Starting her professional career as a Registered Nurse, Kordinelija has transitioned through her role as a Rural and Remote Isolated Practice Nurse to being a Nurse Practitioner (NP).

She has been an effective leader in the development of clinical practice for rural and remote nursing, always with an eye on the realities of practice in rural and remote areas.  She has been instrumental in establishing remote nursing clinics, mentoring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island community members to pursue career paths in health, and developing the Nurse Practitioner model of care within a single nurse-led primary health care facility.

Kordinelija’s inspirational professional activities are supporting a new generation of rural and remote nurses and ensuring that there is an education pathway in the nursing profession focused on the rural and remote generalist, and providing appropriate living and safety standards and entitlements.