At the Eye and Ear, our Mirring Ba Wirring team is here to support all of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients.
Meet the Mirring Ba Wirring team
Mirring Ba Wirring is language for “eyes and ears.” In taking this name, we sought permission from Wurundjeri Elder, Aunty Gail Smith and also the Wurundjeri Land Council. The name supports our connection to culture and identity, and assists the Eye and Ear in providing a service that is culturally safe. The team is made up of two Aboriginal Health Liaison Officers, who are here to help you throughout your patient journey, providing cultural and social support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people accessing our hospital services.
Aboriginal Health Liaison Officer
Yorta Yorta woman Natalie Tieri is from Shepparton in Victoria and has been working at the Eye and Ear Hospital as an Aboriginal Health Liaison Officer (AHLO) since November 2018. During this time, Natalie has provided cultural support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients, families and carers as they access healthcare at the Eye and Ear. Natalie’s role also includes supporting Aboriginal patients who access the VAHS Ophthalmology Outreach Clinic, a partnership service between the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service and Eye and Ear Hospital. Located within an Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation (ACCHO), this clinic offers Ophthalmology treatment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients with a focus on streamlined cataract surgery pathways.
Aboriginal Health Liaison Officer
A proud Taungurung woman and descendant of John Franklin from the Warring-illum Balug clan, Carleen Miller, has been working as an Eye and Ear Aboriginal Health Liaison Officer since January 2020. Carleen has over 35 years of experience working in healthcare, prior to joining the Eye and Ear she worked at the Dental Health Services for 10 years as an Aboriginal Health Liaison Officer. Carleen is passionate about patient advocacy including cultural, social, and emotional support for patients and their families. Ensuring all patients receive appropriate information and resources regarding their medical conditions and are connected to culturally appropriate community services on discharge.
What does Mirring Ba Wirring mean?
In 2012, we launched our partnership with the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service (VAHS) in our commitment to Closing the Health Gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians. We have established two clinics, the Healthy Ears Better Listening clinic for children aged between 0-21 and an Ophthalmology clinic for adults and children.
Our dedicated Healthy Ears Clinic runs once a month on Thursdays and is staffed by ENT Surgeons, Audiologists, Nursing staff and an Aboriginal Health Liaison Officer from the Eye and Ear hospital offering:
Ear, nose and throat (ENT) consultations
This service is coordinated in partnership with the VAHS Women’s and Children’s Unit. Patients requiring surgery have this performed at the Eye and Ear and return to VAHS for their post-operative appointment.
Our dedicated Ophthalmology Clinic runs fortnightly on Wednesdays, a General session in the morning and General/Paediatric session in the afternoon, offering services including:
Paediatric eye assessment
Laser and intravitreal injections
The clinic offers a full suite of ophthalmic care utilising state-of-the art equipment, such as:
Humphrey Visual Field Analyser used to measure central and peripheral vision to assist in the monitoring of glaucoma
Optical Coherence tomography (OCT), used to take cross-sectional pictures of the back of the eyes
Optical Biometry to measure anatomical characteristics of the eye required for cataract surgery
Laser eye machines for treating diabetic eye diseases
Both clinics offer patients streamlined surgery pathways, cultural support and continuity of care.
Closing the health gap for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community is an important issue at the Eye and Ear. Our approach is both hands-on and strategic. Our Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan details the steps we are taking as an organisation to progress towards reconciliation and improve our services and service experience for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients. Our Partnering with Consumers and Community Plan aims to elevate the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients so they are active participants in their own care. In 2021, our Aboriginal Employment plan was updated to encourage attraction, retention, and development of our Aboriginal workforce.
The hospital’s Aboriginal Health Strategy is also aligned with the key result areas of the Improving Care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Patients (ICAP) program and focuses on improving service provision to Aboriginal patients by taking a service-wide approach. These plans and strategies guide our actions and ensure we stay on track to delivering real improvements for our patients. Aboriginal Cultural Awareness training is mandatory for all hospital staff which empowers them to provide culturally safe care. The Mirring ba Wirring team facilitate ‘Ask the Question’ training to all frontline staff ensuring our Aboriginal patients have access to support and services.