Advocating for change - Diabetes WA
 In Blog, Health Professionals

Natalie Jetta. Picture: Amaarah Samnakay.

For Diabetes WA Aboriginal Health Coordinator Natalie Jetta, the past two years of working towards becoming an accredited DESMOND facilitator has had its challenges.

But hard work and persistence has paid off with Natalie recently become the first accredited First Nation’s DESMOND facilitator not only for Diabetes WA but in the world.

Passionate about championing Aboriginal health matters, achieving accreditation is a proud moment for Natalie, who will be involved in the mentoring of Aboriginal Health Workers when they are trained to deliver the culturally-adapted Aboriginal DESMOND program.

Since starting her role at Diabetes WA in 2018, Natalie has delivered 16 DESMOND workshops and more than 20 Aboriginal DESMOND workshops across WA, travelling to remote Aboriginal communities in Warburton, Warakurna, Bidyadanga and Beagle Bay, and regional centres like Bunbury and Collie in the South West.

“For my role, it means we can go further with Aboriginal DESMOND. With me being accredited in general DESMOND,  I can then actually mentor Aboriginal Health Workers,” Natalie explains.

“Aboriginal DESMOND and general DESMOND are structured a lot differently. Aboriginal DESMOND is like a big yarning session, but we make sure we cover our key points.

“So we just sit around having a yarn and we might talk about personal things with their diabetes journey and just get them to relax in their chair and just ask them how they’re feeling about their diabetes, and they will slowly open up.”

Diabetes WA DESMOND trainer and quality development assessor Diane Ledger, who has observed Natalie on her quality development journey, said she had many strengths that worked in her favour.

The program relies on the facilitators having the skills and language which focus on person-centred care so that people attending experience a safe, non-judgmental environment free from stigma.

“Nat had a lot of important facilitator skills from the start so that’s why we knew that there was no doubt she could get her accreditation,” Diane says.

“You could see that Nat had a good way of drawing information out of people to tell their own stories. Another skill is the facilitator’s rapport with the group and how they work with the group to make people feel comfortable so they open up. We also help people to set goals at the end of the session and that was one of Nat’s strengths.”

Diabetes WA Business Development Manager Sophie McGough says that the process of becoming accredited doesn’t qualify a person to deliver a training program but rather means they have developed the skills to deliver the program the way it was intended.

“Having accredited facilitators delivering DESMOND gives Diabetes WA the confidence that no matter where consumers attend the program, they will experience the same positive and comfortable environment to explore their diabetes self-management,” Sophie says.

For Natalie, gaining accreditation has been a valuable experience.

“For my journey and for where I want to go, it’s been worth it,” she says. “I definitely feel a sense of accomplishment.”

To donate to Diabetes WA’s appeal to fund the training of 10 Aboriginal Health Workers, click here.

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