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Embedding lived experience in education

New lived experience educators bring diverse patient experiences. 

A woman stands at the front of a room in front of a crowd delivering an education session.
SydneyConnect Image: Ange Ryan is one of 21 new lived experience educators employed by Sydney Education.

Ange Ryan says everyone has a story, and how you tell it matters.    

"We're making sure our stories are purposeful and in the group of lived experiences educators, that resonates with everyone," she said.    

Ange is one of 21 new lived experience educators employed by Sydney Education, the District's service for professional development and education, to help ensure that the voice of lived experience is embedded in education and professional development opportunities.    

"We are looking forward to seeing how we can help and enrich people that work at Sydney Local Health District," Ange said of her new colleagues at Sydney Education.   

The lived experience educators are patients, carers, and advocates representing the diverse District community and use their unique perspectives to co-design and build an integrated education curriculum.      

"It's a fabulous opportunity for people like myself to utilise our experiences to help people that work in the health system to see a slightly different viewpoint and to give us a voice in a way that sometimes is hard to do," Ange says.     

She is in remission after being treated for breast cancer for 12 months in 2021.    

Lesley Innes, Sydney Education Director, said partnering with lived experience educators in the co-design and implementation of education will ensure education meets the needs of the staff and, in turn, the District and its patients.  

"The Lived Experience Educator Program is a great opportunity for us to harness the experiences of consumers and to recognise the individual expertise that they have as patients, carers, and consumers," she said.  

"Education is a great space where stories can be heard and knowledge shared."   

Prioritising connection with staff and community is a key part of the Sydney Education Strategic Plan 2023 – 2028