A word with… Dianne Nyoni
Dianne is one of our treasured individual members and an experienced health consumer representative. She has been a member of the South Eastern Sydney Local Health District (SESLHD) Consumer & Community Council for over a year and speaks to the local community as an officer of the LHD’s HIV Outreach Team.
Dianne – why are you involved with health consumer engagement?
I care for my community! Over the years, I have seen those, who often are voiceless, slipping through the cracks. This is due to many reasons such as language barriers, feeling they have no say, cultural ideas of not asking questions, understanding their rights, or feeling marginalised as a person.
I hope I can not only give them a voice but empower them and be a visible role model. I love to mentor people and watch them grow and discover their own confidence.
Was there a defying moment that made you want to become a health consumer representative?
A few years ago, I faced a health crisis and years ago, I found myself at a deep place of loss due to having to stop work.
I knew that to keep from spiralling into depression, I needed to keep a sense of purpose and I felt a h3 need to belong to a group. I sought out how I could get involved with the health community to support and advocate for those facing crisis such as myself.
Once you are in the system, especially facing chronic health conditions that are lifelong, you realise how the system works. Everyone is just a part of that system both medical staff and consumers. As a mother, I can also see how this impacts families and in turn communities.
What do you like best about the health consumer representative work you do?
I learn so much and meet so many wonderful people. I find myself constantly inspired, especially by our younger generation!
By sharing a different perspective, I feel I support health care workers and health consumers so that best quality care for both exist. It really is a win/win for all!
… and what are the biggest challenges?
Being authentic. As health consumer representatives, we represent so many demographics, cultures, ages, gender identities and all that makes us uniquely different. I worry that I may overlook or miss those most marginalised as I want to honour all my community and their needs.
What advice would you give to somebody who has been through their own health journey and is just considering becoming a consumer representative?
Go for it! Times are changing dramatically and the consumer voice is so important. You will feel needed and valued but be prepared to work. It is a commitment, but you look forward to feeling part of something that facilitates change.
How has being an individual member of Health Consumers NSW supported you in your representation work?
Health Consumers NSW provided extensive two-day training as well as ongoing support in various committees. On our Community Consumers Council, they regularly assist with design, direction on how we can achieve our work goals and training to ensure we develop high-quality work.
They have also helped me attend conferences and even gave us consumer champion badges to share our experiences with any new consumers that may wish to join. I feel supported and valued. Together, we can make a difference!
Photos: 1) Dianne Nyoni (supplied), 2) Dianne at one of our HCNSW workshops
For more information on how to become a health consumer representative click here.