First Nations Features: Storm Henry

Name: Storm Henry

Occupation/Role: Baggarrook Caseload Midwife at the Royal Women’s Hospital. I work in an on-call capacity for Aboriginal + Torres Strait Islander women/couples/families in an all-risk continuity of maternity care model. I work as part of the multidisciplinary team to provide culturally safe care across the pregnancy continuum and improve outcomes for women and babies. As far as we know, I’m the only Aboriginal midwife working in this model of care in Victoria at the moment – please join me! (or let me know I’m not alone!)

Tell us about yourself?

I’m the oldest of 3 girls and we’ve all ended up working in healthcare! I grew up near Port Fairy, and also lived in Adelaide for a while before moving back to SW Vic. I studied at Monash University. In my spare (non rona) time, I enjoy getting to the beach, food based adventures with friends, exploring farmer’s markets and crafty pursuits.

Why did you go into the health profession?

I have always been interested in working with women and babies but didn’t really know much about midwives. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to study when I finished school, and picked up a medical receptionist traineeship at my local coop health centre (Gunditjmara in Warrnambool). I was exposed to so many great healthcare positions but really loved the Koori Maternity Service’s midwife’s role – seeing families through multiple pregnancies and home visit care. (I’m a nurse as well but you can see where my real passion lies!)

Did anyone inspire you? Do you have any role models?

Of course – too many to name! My parents worked really hard to create a different life for my sisters and I. My sisters working in healthcare in their own ways (dental nurse x AHLO; student doctor). The midwives in my small team passionate about improving Aboriginal women and babies’ health! Researcher crushes.

What do you believe are the major health issues facing Indigenous Australians currently? What do you believe are some of the biggest barriers to closing the gap?

Women’s health/reproductive rights are political enough already before you factor in racism and genocide! Australia still has a long way to go in addressing racism in healthcare – particularly the provision of culturally safe care in mainstream and specialist services, as well as improving access to care (location, flexible delivery models, cost, gender sensitive care). A big part of that is committing to Aboriginal health professionals, social justice and in a maternity sense – intersectional feminism.

Do you have any words of advice for aspiring health professionals?

Apply for the course, commit to the study, network with your peers. You won’t regret working in an area you’re passionate about.