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Group from project for Champions4Change in Groote Eylandt


First Nations heart health



The Champions4Change program is a national program that brings together people with the lived experience of acute rheumatic fever (ARF) and RHD.

Entirely designed and led by First Nations people with lived experience and their communities, it is a culturally safe prevention and support program.

It aims to raise awareness, provide health promotion and health prevention messages, to support communities at risk of ARF and RHD, advocate for health systems change and provide support to people with ARF and RHD.

Champions4Change amplifies the voices of the Champions and encourages them to tap into their cultural knowledge to bring about a richer understanding of what it truly means to live with ARF and RHD.

Champions4Change Ann Marie Lee

Examples of the Champions’ work include:

  • visiting schools and other forums/conferences to talk about living with ARF and RHD
  • helping families to navigate the health system
  • co-designing and implementing education and awareness programs for health professionals and their communities
  • advocating to end RHD
  • developing culturally appropriate resources.

The Heart Foundation needs support to continue to grow the successes of the Champions4Change program by:

  • expanding the program to key geographic areas of need
  • Remote Laundries project, particularly those across the Northern Territory where the rate of new diagnoses of RHD is highest
  • supporting more Champions and helping them to each find their voice through professional development, education, and upskilling
  • peer and carers support.

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Last updated01 September 2023