Valerie is a Bindjareb woman from the Noongar Nation of the South West of Western Australia, with family connections to the Palkyu people of the Pilbara. Valerie and her husband Brendon, a Nyikina and Yawaru man from the Kimberley, share six boys and three grandchildren with another on the way.
Valerie graduated from Curtin with a Bachelor of Science (Midwifery) in 2016 at 45 years of age and has since worked clinically at the Armadale Health Service, St John of God Public Hospital in Midland and the Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Adelaide.
As an Aboriginal woman and midwife, Valerie’s own experiences of birthing in the system generated her interest to improve outcomes in Aboriginal maternal and infant health. More specifically, embedding cultural safety in the pregnancy and birth space, and improving the health of Aboriginal women from a cultural perspective.
Valerie is currently the Senior Project Officer and Research Assistant at Ngangk Yira (Research Centre for Aboriginal Health and Social Equity) at Murdoch University and is working on Baby Coming You Ready?, a comprehensive and culturally safe way to assess the social and emotional health and wellbeing of Aboriginal women in the perinatal period, with a focus on strength and resilience.
In addition to raising her family, Valerie is an artist who draws inspiration from her work as a midwife, sharing her own story as a woman, as well as those of others. She is most inspired by her mother and father and their enduring love and respect for one another. They raised Valerie and her siblings to be strong and proud Aboriginal people who can accomplish anything and taught her that nothing is more important than family.
Some of Valerie’s other pieces can be seen within the Armadale Hospital maternity ward, at the Fiona Stanley Hospital Birth Centre, and at the Ngangk Yira Research Centre for Aboriginal Health and Social Equity at Murdoch University.