Dr. Michael Wilson’s dedication to improving Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) health in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities started over 25 years when he worked in the Kimberley. He practised extensively in the Kimberley, Geraldton and Alice Springs, to ensure children and adults received early intervention, treatment and surgery, which had positive outcomes in their lives.
Dr. Wilson made numerous attempts to provide consulting and surgery to Aboriginal and Torres Islander communities closer to home in Victoria, but it was “only when RWAV made contact” that he was able to make this a reality. Dr Wilson is a vital asset to ensuring ENT services occur within Gippsland, providing positive outcomes to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, through RWAV’s Healthy Ears, Better Hearing – Better Listening Program.
Specialist ENT services are often considered inaccessible to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community due to long delays and high costs. To address this issue in the Gippsland region, RWAV contacted Michael Wilson, President of the Victorian ENT Society and Stephen O’Leary, Professor of ENT at Melbourne University to provide an outreach consulting service, in partnership with Gippsland and East Gippsland Aboriginal Co-operative (GEGAC) and Ramahyuck District Aboriginal Corporation.
Michael Wilson, will be operating on a dedicated list of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. He is “grateful to the Aboriginal Health Workers who talks to each patient and make sure they understand the benefits and are well informed of the procedures”. This makes patients feel comfortable and well supported which contributes to the success of the program. Dr. Wilson is delighted to be able to consult and operate on patients “in their own home town instead of traveling to Melbourne”. He has already treated 15 patients at GEGAC and 5 at Ramahyuck.
Dr Wilson is encouraged by the response and the program having positive impacts on the children who received appropriate treatment to enjoy their childhood without hindrances due the ENT complications.
To continue the positive impacts in ENT health in Gippsland he feels “upskilling Aboriginal Health Workers and GPs, as well as increasing the number of trained Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Audiologists” is essential.
Dr. Wilson thanks RWAV for initiating this important program and says “none of this would have happened” if not for the initiative taken by RWAV and looks forward to participating with four other ENT specialists, to provide consulting and surgical visits in 2017.