The Territory’s allied health industry had a strong month in October, with two of its members receiving formal recognition for their work at the ACT Allied Health Excellence Awards.
Allied healthcare workers are health professionals who fall outside of the nursing, midwifery and medical professions, according to ACT Health.
Ella Cameron was named this year’s ACT Allied Health Professional of the Year, something she described as being “very much an honour”.
“It’s interesting because I just go to work and do my job, but I guess you don’t always see the impact that it has on the people around you,” she said.
Ms Cameron is the women’s and children’s physiotherapy team leader for Canberra Health Services and works as a pelvic health physiotherapist.
She began her career working with athletes, before making a change.
“As a young physio, I started working in sports because I thought that was all physios did – I quickly learned that wasn’t true,” she said.
“When family and friends around me started having babies, I started to realise what complications were arising and what issues they were having to deal with.
“I went back to uni and did postgraduate certificates in pelvic health and exercise for women’s health at the same time as having toddlers myself.
“It was a very busy time, but I haven’t looked back!”
Ms Cameron says de-stigmatising pelvic health is a key goal of her career.
“Everybody is embarrassed to talk about pelvic health,” she said.
“A huge bonus of talking about pelvic health is breaking down some of those barriers around some of those taboo subjects.
“The first step is starting a conversation, and once someone does that, people can help them and lead them in the right direction to then be able to help themselves.”
The ACT was also recognised at a national level in October.
Social work allied health assistant Veronique Clyde was named the Australian Allied Health Assistant of the Year at the 2023 Australian Allied Health Awards in October, which was held in Darwin.
“When they called my name, I sat for a solid five seconds – I just had to take it in,” Ms Clyde said.
“I was the fourth award to be announced, and I had these incredible health professionals before me that were receiving their awards.
“There was such a strong calibre of other AHAs and I just didn’t think it was possible for me to win.”
Ms Clyde joined Canberra Health Services in 2013 and has since worked in occupational therapy, mental health and social work.
Her career in allied health began to take shape when she decided to make a career change.
“I was working in education as a learning support worker and a personal trainer, and I did those together for many, many years,” she said.
“A colleague told me that it would be a really good role for me, so I looked into it.
“I decided my kids had just gotten old enough for me to give it a go.”
Ms Clyde is also a teacher at Canberra Institute of Technology.
“I now teach the allied health assistance program, which is where our AHA’s graduate from,” she said.
“This has enabled me to be able to mentor and support our future AHA workforce, which is such a privilege and huge responsibility.”
Ms Clyde said industry awards highlight the work of the many people working in allied health across Australia.
“These awards serve as a platform to acknowledge and celebrate the contributions of allied health professionals across the country,” she said.
“It’s amazing to know that at a national level, our work can be acknowledged and celebrated.”
Further information on allied healthcare workers can be found online.