Doseena Fergie (nee Bin Garape)

For the past 20 years Doseena has dedicated her time to building strong, healthy and skilled Aboriginal communities.

Honour Roll

Doseena was born on Thursday Island and has Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Moluccan ancestry. Throughout her career, Doseena has demonstrated great leadership and courage. Her resilience, humility and generosity to others is evident in her many achievements and the endeavours she continues to pursue.

In the early 1970s, Doseena began her nursing and midwifery career at the Royal Brisbane Hospital, before joining her husband in Papua New Guinea where she volunteered as the sole health care worker for a remote community in the Highlands. The community was without access to medical resources or assistance.

In 1996 Doseena and her family moved to Melbourne where she began her advocacy to increase health practitioners' awareness of Aboriginal health issues. She also undertook the role of Clinical Care Coordinator of the Indigenous Health team at Yarra Valley Community Health in Healesville.

Doseena has a Masters degree in Nursing and has recently submitted her PhD research into post-natal depression in Victorian Aboriginal women, at the Australian Catholic University. Through Doseena's research greater awareness and understanding of Aboriginal postnatal depression will inform Aboriginal health policy: another significant and long-lasting contribution to Aboriginal communities.

A particularly inspiring and remarkable achievement in Doseena's career is the lead role she played in the development of the ‘Good Food, Great Kids' initiative. The 3-year national child nutrition project aimed to improve the nutritional status of Aboriginal children and families in the Yarra Valley. It was successful in building the community's capacity around nutrition, namely to increase awareness of the importance of nutrition and improved nutritional intake. The program was highly regarded by the Victorian community, winning the Victorian Government Public Health Care Award for Community Engagement.

Doseena's leadership role in establishing the Healesville Indigenous Community Services Association (HICSA) has also made a considerable impact. It has provided the Healesville Aboriginal community with a welcoming, culturally affirming place by providing a central point of contact for community members, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal. HICSA provides information, services and programs that focus on building a healthy, strong and skilled community in Victoria.