Champions for Children: Meet Kris Pierce

Meet Kris Pierce, our latest Champion for Children, who uses her voice as co-chair of the RCH Community Advisory Committee to make a difference.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your connection to the RCH.

My name is Kris Pierce and I am the parent to twins who are now young adults. My son, Will, who has a rare condition called SCN2A, spent a lot of time in the hospital in the first few years of his life and continued to access many services across the hospital until he transitioned out to the adult health system. During this time of accessing services, I felt a real need to give back and add the lived experience voice to improve outcomes for families accessing the RCH. I became a consumer representative seven years ago sitting on several committees and more recently became the co-chair of the Community Advisory Committee (CAC).

When did you first become involved with the Community Advisory Committee? How did this come about?

I first became involved in the CAC about three years ago after building my experience as a consumer representative on the Family Advisory Committee. I had witnessed first-hand the positive outcomes seen by the hospital by embedding that lived experience into all we do at the RCH, and I wanted to bring this to the CAC where we have direct input into decision-making. We have the ability to influence and direct conversations to improve health outcomes for all. The role of co-chair was advertised and I took the opportunity to put my hand up to work alongside the Board Chair. As co-chairs, we set the agenda in line with the Strategic Plan. This collaboration ensures staff and consumers are working in partnership.

How important is it to you to present a voice at the decision-making table?

There is a saying “nothing about us without us”. We at the RCH cannot provide the best services without listening. Families who use the hospital have insights that staff cannot know or understand. So, providing an avenue to share experiences and feedback is imperative to get the best outcomes for our patients. Sitting on the CAC provides me with the opportunity to share these insights and challenge the status quo. The CAC is a committed team of staff and consumers activating positive change and it is an honour to be working with this group of committed individuals

What have been the highlights? Do you think it is worthwhile to apply?

The highlight for me is witnessing the dedication and commitment of staff and volunteers to collectively make positive change with the end goal of those we serve. The culture at the RCH is one of constant improvement and it is a privilege to be able to ensure those who use the RCH have a voice at the table. Consumers become a conduit for change and improvement.

Congratulations on being inducted into the Women’s Honour Roll 2022! How does that feel?

Making positive change is important to me. To be recognised for my work in consumer engagement, rare diseases and in my local community was a real honour. The honour roll recognises women from a range of backgrounds and it was a privilege to stand beside women having a lasting impact across Victoria. The 23 inductees were chosen by Minister for Women, Natalie Hutchins, from over 300 deserving women.

Want to join the RCH Community Advisory Committee?

If you are interested in having your say about how the RCH can improve just like Kris, applications to join the RCH Community Advisory Committee are now open.

If you are a current or former patient, family member or carer and are interested in joining, please visit https://www.rch.org.au/cac/

We encourage community members with diverse interests, backgrounds and ages to apply.

Applications close 5pm Monday 7 November 2022.

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