A word with… Setchen Brimson
Setchen Brimson is Murrumbidgee Local Health District’s (LHD’s) Marketing & Community Engagement Manager, based in Wagga Wagga.
Here, she tells us about the work Murrumbidgee LHD does with health consumer representatives and the challenges and rewards of health consumer engagement in this rural setting.
Setchen, how did you first become involved in health consumer engagement in the Murrumbidgee region and what work had the LHD done with involving health consumers before you came on board?
I first began working as Community Engagement Manager for MLHD in 2013, stepping into this role from a background in communications and marketing. At that stage, the LHD had newly established Local Health Advisory Committees and were exploring ways of engaging further with these advocates in a more meaningful way.
What are some of the recent projects/initiatives you and the LHD have done with health consumers? What does your work entail?
My role involves supporting the Local Health Advisory Committees (LHAC) in their project work and advocacy for health needs in their communities. To this end, I have regular contact with the LHAC through their Chairs and work to support them in achieving goals towards health improvement in their local areas.
Earlier in 2019 I coordinated combined visits together with the Primary Health Network to each LHAC, to undertake planning and priority setting meetings. The purpose of these were to look at local health needs data, and determine priority areas that the LHAC members felt strongly about addressing. Many of the LHACs have come up with unique ways of addressing health concerns and tackling issues which are particular to their community. I organise two forums twice each year for the LHAC members, this is an opportunity to come together to network, and share ideas and common projects.
Recently I have been part of a project team looking into community-led health planning in two of our communities. This is an exciting new chapter for us in engagement which places the consumers firmly at the centre of the decision making and as a true partner in our planning process.
What would you say are the biggest challenges that health consumer representatives and engagement staff face in working together to achieve positive changes in health service planning and delivery in your region?
One of the most challenging aspects of working with consumer representatives is the variety and range of experiences, expectations and perceptions of the communities that we serve.
Communication is key to ensuring everyone is on the same page, working together for a common goal. Understanding that there will always be different view-points, ideas and pathways to achieving goals is essential to success, along with respectful conversations.
And what makes your job great? What are the rewards for you – and the health consumer representatives you work with?
What I love most about my job is working with such a great variety of people from such interesting backgrounds. Everyone is committed and passionate and contributing towards making a difference and improving health outcomes. I really feel like together we make a difference.
And finally, how can patients, carers, their families and the community become involved and provide feedback or become health consumer representatives themselves in Murrumbidgee LHD?
There are many ways to volunteer at MLHD. Visit our webpage or call me! We are always looking for enthusiastic, passionate people keen to make a difference.
Phone: (02) 5943 2010