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Queensland's Gunyah of Wellness recognised for Closing the Gap at 2023 PenCS Awards

Joseph Guenzler -

Queensland healthcare provider Gunyah of Wellness has been awarded the Closing the Gap Award at the 2023 PenCS Awards.

Hosted by health informatics company PenCS, the awards recognise nationwide achievements in primary health care in Australia with respect to Primary Health Networks and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations.

Aboriginal Medical Service Guynah of Wellness (Gunyah) was one of eight nationwide winners, recognised as a transformative force in culturally competent healthcare in Queensland.

Lead by practice manager, Sharrna Duncan, Gunya has exemplified a dedication to closing the disadvantage gap in healthcare.

Gunyah chief health officer, Ruth Murray, said the Gunyah team were proud to be acknowledged for their work in the Aboriginal health space.

"On behalf of Gunyah of Wellness Aboriginal Medical Service, we would like to sincerely thank PenCS for awarding us with this Closing the Gap award," Ms Murray said.

"It's an honour to be recognised in this area that we are so passionate about."

Part of REFOCUS Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cooperation, the Aboriginal medical service has made a significant impact on the Sunshine Coast community since 2018.

Adopting a holistic approach and implementing innovative programs, Gunyah excelled in its COVID-19 response, conducts more than 1,500 Health Assessments and leads community wellbeing initiatives.

Ms Murray said utilising PenCS' services allowed Gunyah to move from being a reactive to proactive health provider.

"Those of us who work in general practice will understand how easy it is to get caught up in day-to-day rush of clinical operations. It's easy to become reactive to the challenges that present themselves and let targeted health strategies fly out the window," she said.

"When you work with vulnerable populations, many of whom have complex health and social challenges, this obviously presents even more of a challenge.

"However, when we have access to clear and meaningful health data, we can move from reactive to proactive."

The nomination highlights Gunyah's effective use of CAT (Clinical Audiot Tool) for targeted outreach, cultural competence, and its unwavering commitment to decrease health disparities.

"PenCS data allows us to have systems in place that trigger us to invite mob in for the right appointment at the right time so we can provide the preventative or follow up care that our patients need," Ms Murray said.

"We use the same data to inform our health promotion activities and messaging, which is also key in enlisting mob in their own health and wellness journey."

Through the awards, eight nationwide winners were acknowledged for their notable role in enhancing data-driven quality improvement in General Practice and Aboriginal Member Services.

PenCS CEO, Edweana Wenkart said the organisation was thrilled to announce this year's eight PenCS Awards winners.

"Congratulations to all award winners for showing exemplary performance using health informatics, in each respective category, in a competitive environment," Ms Wenkart said.

Receiving their awards from esteemed healthcare professional at Sydney's NIDA Theatres Playhouse on Friday, each recipient was presented with a trophy and $500 cash prize.

Gunyah of Wellness was selected ahead of Closing the Gap Award finalists, Woodberry Family Practise and the Family Medical Centre - Shepparton.

2023 PenCS Award Winners

Quality Improvement Initiative of the Year Award - Alpha Medical Centre (NSW)

Patient-Centered Care Award - Growlife Medical (QLD)

Closing the Gap Award - Gunyah of Wellness (QLD)

Research in General Practice Award - Our Medical Crows Nest (NSW)

Sustainable Business Award - Rosedale Medical Practice (NSW)

Data Quality Award - Silky Oaks Medical Practice (QLD)

Data-driven Clinical Excellence Award - Sunraysia Medical Centre (VIC)

Digital Innovation Award - Dr Janice Tan (NSW)

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