The annual Victorian Healthcare Awards recognise innovative community health programs and organisations.
The award’s categories cover a diverse range of community health areas including mental health, palliative care, physiotherapy and drug and alcohol treatment.
UnitingCare ReGen was recognised for its targeted methamphetamine treatment programs.
Other finalists included Monash Health’s wellness and recovery centre and the mental health and wellbeing strategy for Monash doctors.
UnitingCare ReGen CEO Laurence Alvis welcomed the award as recognition of the agency’s efforts to improve treatment for individuals and families affected by methamphetamines.
Commenting on the public debate around methamphetamine use, Mr Alvis said more needed to be done to combat simplistic analysis of complex issues.
“Much public discussion of the challenges for service providers in responding to people who use methamphetamine assumes that they are violent and uncontrollable,” he said.
“Stigmatising media coverage and public health campaigns do little to improve the accessibility of essential health services for people who use methamphetamine, or support informed responses by service providers.”
Mr Alvis said ReGen support programs are designed to be flexible towards individual treatment needs.
“The success in achieving sustained behavioural changes among people who use methamphetamine is based on identifying individual and family needs,” he said.
“This includes developing evidence-based responses in partnership with consumers and external evaluators.”
Mr Alvis thanked UnitingCare ReGen staff for working towards innovative treatment models that make lasting change in people’s lives.
“I would particularly like to thank all our staff for their commitment to ensuring that we are providing the most effective services for our consumers,” he said.
Mr Alvis commended ReGen staff working in the adult withdrawal unit who previously identified processes in withdrawal treatment that were not working for people undertaking methamphetamine withdrawal.
“There is always more that we can do to improve our own practice and support integrated responses,” he said.
“Particularly in relation to methamphetamines and other emerging drug types across the Victorian healthcare system.”
Image caption: ReGen representatives with the award (L-R): CEO Laurence Alvis, Programs Director Trevor King, Clinical Services Director Donna Ribton-Turner, Adult Residential Withdrawal Manager Rose McCrohan & Board Chair Sandy Ross.