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30th April 2024

Pictured at the launch were (from left) Steve Arnott, Harpreet Kalsi-Smith, Rob McKenzie, Prof Samar Aoun, His Excellency the Honourable Chris Dawson AC APM, Mrs Darrilyn Dawson, Dr Jo Doran, and Dr Stephen Ginsborg.

Launch of Compassionate Communities a first for Australia

Compassionate Communities Australia (CCAus) was launched in late March by WA Governor Hon Chris Dawson at Government House in Perth.

Professor Samar Aoun, Dr Stephen Ginsborg, Dr Joanne Doran, and Harpreet Kalsi-Smith joined forces to create the national peak body, bringing their unique perspective including research, palliative care, primary care, community development and personal experience.

CCAus’s role will be to pioneer the development of Compassionate Communities across Australia.

Compassionate Communities founder Prof Allan Kellehear said the establishment of CCAus was a significant international development and an incredibly important milestone in the history of public health and palliative care in Australia.

CCAus Chair Professor Aoun, who is also a Board member of Palliative Care WA, said: “This national not-for-profit organisation aims to become a hub of knowledge, skills and resources for community-led solutions that will lead to social and systems change.”

The three directors of CCAus also spoke at the launch.

Dr Stephen Ginsborg highlighted that there is art to medicine, and that warmth, empathy and compassion may surpass the surgeon’s knife or the chemist’s drug. The most powerful therapeutic tool that the doctor possesses is herself or himself.

Dr Joanne Doran spoke fondly about a young patient with complex needs who was dying, but she was not complex to her community that came together with compassion and connection to enable her to continue to experience the joy of living.

Harpreet Kalsi-Smith brought her personal experience as a consumer advocate and highlighted that the heart of the work of compassionate communities primarily sits in community development.

To find out more about CCAust, visit HERE.