Rhanee Lester

Rhanee Lester

Adelaide Nursing School

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

Rhanee Lester-Tsetsakos is an Adnyamathanha woman with family and community ties to Port Augusta and the Northern Flinders Ranges in South Australia. She has worked in Youth Work, Community Engagement, Mental Health, Pastoral Care, Education and Religious Organisations, and is a Chief Investigator on the NHMRC-funded AKction2: Aboriginal Kidney Care Together – Improving Outcomes Now Project due to her advocacy for and lived experience with kidney disease since 2004. She currently wears three hats at a local, state and national level in the space of Aboriginal Kidney Care and provides unique perspectives as a patient-consumer, a first nations researcher and a worker in the field.

Rhanee works as a Peer Navigator in the ‘On Track’ program based at the Port Augusta Renal Unit, supporting Aboriginal patients as they navigate their kidney care, dialysis and transplantation journeys between Port Augusta and the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

Rhanee is also employed at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) with the National Indigenous Kidney Transplantation Taskforce as the shared National Community Engagement Coordinator role, to create a sustainable and ongoing national network and panel that provides a platform nationwide for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people impacted by kidney disease, to elevate their voice in advocating for changes in policies and procedures to increase transplantation rates and provide the highest quality of care for First Nations people in Australia. Her passion for seeking change, having a voice and creating a network of support around her can be seen by her membership within different groups including the AKction2 Reference Team, South Australian Renal Community of Practice, CALHN Aboriginal Community Reference Group and the Uniting Church of South Australia Covenanting Committee.

Rhanee believes that through her experience as a renal patient and travelling to different parts of Australia accessing renal services, interacting and engaging with different medical personnel she has observed where services are getting it right and what services need to be improved for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. She has a strong will to survive in order to live the best life she can, to be a beacon of hope and inspiration to others as she continues to tell her story of strength, resilience, perseverance and victories.

Rhanee is a published children’s author with her first co-authored and co-illustrated book ‘Walking to Corroboree’ published in 2018, which has since become an important tool to help set up her own small business ‘Yura Manda’ as an Indigenous Storyteller, Cultural Educator, Writer and Artist working with school and community groups. She has a passion for learning her Adnyamathanha culture and language and sharing her knowledge through storytelling, yarning circles and creativity.
Rhanee is very community orientated and currently volunteers for the Nunga Wangga Radio Show as a presenter, highlighting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander music, artists, news and current affairs from grassroots, state and national communities across Australia.

AKction2: Aboriginal Kidney Care Together – Improving Outcomes Now

Timeline: April 2021 – March 2026

Location: Adelaide Nursing School, University of Adelaide

Description: A collaborative action research project involving Aboriginal people with kidney disease and their families, health professionals, renal services, health and support services, universities and other key stakeholders. Methods include community consultations, patient journey mapping, priority setting and implementation of improvement strategies.

Role: Chief Investigator

Funding: NHMRC Ideas Grant

Collaborations and Networks: Central Northern Adelaide Renal & Transplantation Service (CNARTS), SA Health, Kidney Health Australia, National Indigenous Kidney Transplantation Taskforce (NIKTT), Aboriginal Chronic Disease Consortium, Pika Wiya Health Service Aboriginal Corporation (Port Augusta), Ceduna Hospital (and more being established).

As a Chief Investigator in the AKction 2 project, Rhanee brings a wealth of knowledge and first-hand experience as a patient expert that has had access to renal services across the Australian landscape and contributes valuable insights and information about the level and quality of care that she and other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience.

  • Journals

    Year Citation
    2022 Bateman, S., Arnold-Chamney, M., Jesudason, S., Lester, R., McDonald, S., O'Donnell, K., . . . Kelly, J. (2022). Real Ways of Working Together: co-creating meaningful Aboriginal community consultations to advance kidney care. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 8 pages.
  • Books

    Year Citation
    Tsetsakos, R., & Kerr, A. (n.d.). Walking to Corroboree. Boolarong Press.
  • Internet Publications

    Year Citation
    2022 Lester, R. (2022). An act of reconciliation. The Transcontinental Port Augusta.
2021 AKction2: Aboriginal Kidney Care Together – Improving Outcomes Now

O'Donnell, K, Kelly, J, Owen, K, Lester, R, Sinclair, N, Bateman, S, Lavoie, J

NHMRC Ideas Grant $1,950,172

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