Rhanee Lester

Rhanee Lester

Adelaide Nursing School

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

Rhanee Lester is an Adnyamathanha woman with family and community ties to Port Augusta and the Northern Flinders Ranges in South Australia. She currently wears three hats within the kidney community of South Australia, one as a consumer representative, one employed as a Patient Navigator at the Port Augusta Renal Unit and the other as 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. Throughout her career she has had experience working in Community Engagement, Mental Health, Renal Health, Youth Work, Education, Broadcast Radio Media, Pastoral Care and Religious Organisations.

Rhanee's work as a Peer Navigator in the ‘On Track’ program based at the Port Augusta Renal Unit, includes supporting Aboriginal patients as they navigate their kidney care, dialysis and transplantation journeys between Port Augusta and the Royal Adelaide Hospital. The support includes group yarning sessions with themed topics, 1:1 patient specific support and cultural safety and awareness yarning with staff and other allied health services.

Rhanee believes that through her experience as a renal patient/consumer and having travelled to different parts of Australia accessing renal services, interacting and engaging with different medical personnel she has been able to observe where services are getting it right and where 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. 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, Royal Adelaide Hospital Indigenous Reference Group (Renal Transplant) and the Uniting Church of South Australia Covenanting Committee.

Rhanee is also a published children’s author with her first co-authored and co-illustrated book ‘Walking to Corroboree’ being published in 2018, which has since become an important tool for her as an Indigenous Storyteller, Cultural Educator, Writer and Artist working with many schools and community groups. She has a passion for learning her Adnyamathanha culture and language and enjoys sharing her knowledge through storytelling, yarning circles and creativity.

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.

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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