In the heart of the Peel Region, a remarkable chapter has come to a close as Dr. Willie Walker, a beloved figure at Nidjalla Waangan Mia (NWM), bids farewell to a practice he helped establish and build. For 15 years, Dr. Walker has been an unwavering pillar of support and a guiding light for both the Aboriginal community and his colleagues at NWM and Peel Youth Medical Services (PYMS).
From the very beginning, Dr. Walker played a pivotal role in shaping the destiny of NWM. As one of the founding members, he tirelessly advocated for an Aboriginal-specific Medical Centre in the Peel Region. His efforts as the first Chair of the Board of GP down south (GPDS) were instrumental in realising this dream. His dedication and passion for improving healthcare for the Aboriginal community were evident in every step he took.
Dr. Walker's impact extended far beyond his administrative responsibilities. He led the way in clinical services, spearheading a nurse-led clinic that empowered the Aboriginal community with complex chronic diseases to develop self-managing skills. His expertise and guidance were invaluable, and he happily supervised medical student doctors during their placements at NWM, nurturing the next generation of healthcare professionals.
Beyond his exceptional medical abilities, Dr. Walker possessed a magnetic personality that endeared him to everyone he encountered. A great storyteller with a fabulous sense of humor and quick wit, he could light up any room and bring smiles to the faces of his patients and colleagues alike. Dr. Walker had a remarkable knack for making each person he engaged with feel important and an integral part of the team.
It was evident that Dr. Walker was born for his profession. His unwavering dedication to supporting others and his exceptional medical work set him apart. Throughout his 13-year tenure at NWM, he played a pivotal role in establishing Aboriginal Health services in the Peel region. Alongside Peter Wallace, he was the driving force behind a comprehensive Health Needs Analysis that ultimately led to the establishment of NWM in July 2010, after overcoming various obstacles.
Dr. Walker's commitment to NWM and its mission was unwavering. When the centre faced the challenge of losing GP hours, he stepped up without hesitation, increasing his workload to ensure continuity of care. He played a crucial role in securing the services of Dr. Foss, without whom NWM would have struggled to deliver clinical services. He postponed his retirement until he knew NWM had the necessary GP coverage, a testament to his unwavering dedication. As Dr. Walker embarks on the next chapter of his life, both clients and staff alike will keenly feel his absence. His warm smile, compassionate nature, and exceptional skills as a physician will be sorely missed. Dr. Willie Walker has left an indelible mark on Nidjalla Waangan Mia, PYMS, and the Peel Region, forever influencing the lives of countless individuals. We wish him well in his retirement and extend our heartfelt gratitude for his years of dedicated service.
GP down south is an exemplary not-for-profit community organisation. We have been providing health and wellbeing services in the Peel regions and the South West of WA since 1994.