Connecting with Community – Champions4Change

Ms Diana Mosca1, Ms Vicki Wade1

1RHDAustralia, Darwin, Australia


Health care systems built on western ideologies and constructs, are multidimensional and fragmented making it difficult for many people to navigate. People with a lived experience of acute rheumatic fever (ARF) rheumatic heart disease (RHD) are well placed to provide comfort to people experiencing social and emotional hardships throughout their very complex health journey.

Many factors contribute to the higher prevalence of RHD in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations including, underlying economic and social disadvantage, delayed access to care, cross-cultural miscommunication, racism and discrimination. These factors present challenges in providing optimal health care for people most in need of early detection and prevention, secondary care, tertiary and ongoing management.

Aboriginal people with a lived experience of RHD and a desire to share their knowledge and experience have designed the RHDA Champions4change program.  Roles like these are not new to Aboriginal people, passing on and sharing knowledge is a part of traditional Aboriginal culture based on the kinship system. Mothers and grandmothers had a shared responsibility to look after all children in the community. Elders helped children grow into adults often in sacred ceremony. The RHDAustralia champions are encouraged to tap into their Aboriginal ways of knowing and being to help breakdown structural and cultural barriers in care. They can provide comfort to people who are experiencing social and emotional hardship throughout their often very complex health journey.

This presentation provides an overview of the Program and how it helps build the knowledge required to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have the tools to live a good life by reducing the impact of RHD in their communities. It will explore the support and resources required for the champions to successfully develop a Champions4change program in their own community.


Diana commenced as the Senior Nurse Advisor at RHDAustralia in January 2018 and is enjoying working in Darwin after 20 years.

She has held clinical nursing and education positions around Australia since the 80s, mostly in rural and regional areas. Her nursing experience spans education, paediatrics, public health and perioperative nursing. This range of nursing experience has been invaluable to inform projects and programs including education programs and quality improvement in acute and chronic health.

As well as being a registered nurse, she has qualifications in Public Health, Education, Perioperative nursing, Leadership, and Business Analysis.