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Social worker nominated for ACON Honour Award

Social worker Loretta Healey nominated for an ACON Health & Wellbeing Award. 

Woman standing and leaning on office front desk
SydneyConnect Image: Social worker Loretta Healey

Social worker Loretta Healey has been nominated by her peers for an ACON Honour Award, in recognition of the support she’s provided over the past 25 years for the LGBTIQ+ community.

“I feel so privileged to be nominated by people who are working so hard in the community, on HIV and other related programs,” Loretta said.

The ACON Honour Awards celebrate the achievements and recognise service that supports the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and gender diverse, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ+) community in NSW.

Loretta has been nominated in the health and wellbeing category and is one of 35 finalists across nine categories covering the business, health, HIV, youth, community, entertainment, visual arts, media and cultural sectors.

She works at The RPA Sexual Health Clinic which provides medical care and counselling services, including psychological and psychosocial care, for people experiencing distress over a diagnosis, relationship issues, or anxiety.

A strong ally and advocate, Loretta specialises in counselling gay and bisexual men, non-gay identifying men who have sex with men and people living with HIV or other sexually transmitted infections. 

She also runs a consumer group who advise on issues that inform care, has co-authored peer reviewed publications that have contributed to HIV and sexual health best practice and provides in-service education sessions for colleagues.

“This nomination is very much deserved. Loretta has made an incredible difference to many lives. Her dedication towards providing positive outcomes in the LGBTIQ+ community and commitment to providing accessible care has had a significant impact in the District,” Dianna Jagers, the District’s Community Health Services General Manager, said.

During her career, Loretta’s witnessed the positive outcomes of changes to HIV treatments.

“I often say I’ve had to adapt to the changing science. It’s been really nice to see new treatments becoming available, and access to knowledge gained through the years. As a result, we are able give people much better news, that treatments are effective and they can continue to have an active sexual life without fear of passing on the virus,” she said.

She’s driven by a desire see her clients live fulfilling lives.

“I see people at their most distressed or most difficult period of their lives, but then afterwards I get to see them blossom. The work is very fulfilling,” she said.

ACON is Australia's largest sexuality and gender diverse community health organisation. The winners of the ACON Honour 2022 Awards will be named at a special ceremony later in August.