Australia’s most outstanding primary health care professionals have been recognised, with 15 finalists announced across three categories in the 2017 HESTA Primary Health Care Awards -  including Dr Pamela Douglas of Possums Clinic in Highgate Hill.

Pamela was recognised for developing and researching Neuroprotective Developmental Care in Early Life (‘the Possums programs’), a primary care intervention for the support of parent and infant mental health.

This has been developed out of multiple systematic reviews of the interdisciplinary research literature across the domains of maternal mental health, breastfeeding, cry-fuss problems, and infant sleep problems. The programs are delivered at the non-profit and multi-disciplinary Possums Clinic, which she founded, as online packages, telemedicine, face-to-face consultations and in Shared Medical Appointments.

The programs have demonstrated positive parental response, improved sleep, decreased crying and fussing, and improved maternal mental health in preliminary evaluations. The success of the programs and quality of her research has led to the publication of more than 21 peer reviewed articles in international medical literature, a cover article in The British Medical Journal and the publication of her book ‘The Disconnected Little Baby Book’ by the University of Queensland Press.

The HESTA awards recognise the dedication and professionalism of all those working in primary health care across the categories of Individual Distinction, Team Excellence and Young Leader.

HESTA CEO Debby Blakey said the judges have selected a shortlist of individuals and teams who have demonstrated exceptional levels of care, dedication and innovative practices in primary health care settings across Australia.

“This year’s finalists were selected for their outstanding contribution to health care in the areas of allied health, general practice, paediatric health and community outreach programs and services,” Ms Blakey said.

“These finalists have displayed outstanding leadership and commitment to health care. They have developed a range of innovative programs and services which has led to improved health care outcomes for patients and the broader Australian community. We’re proud to be able to help give these individuals and teams the recognition they deserve.”

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