Co-Founder of Sunny Street, Sunshine Coast
Dr Nova Evans has always been passionate about community health and patient-centred care. After completing her Rural Generalist training in 2013 and working in Kingaroy for a number of years, Nova relocated to the Sunshine Coast and co-founded Sunny Street with colleague Sonia Goodwin in July 2018. Together, they set out to break down barriers by providing mobile nursing and medical services to people experiencing homelessness and at-risk members of the community.
Sunny Street launched on 28 July at the Maroochydore Neighbourhood Centre and cared for 48 people in the 4-hour launch. Since then, Sunny Street has rolled out clinics across the Sunshine Coast and into Brisbane City.
“Our model of care is different… we go to community hubs where people can get meals and access laundry services. We collaborate with established organisations like Orange Sky and deliver healthcare education by conversation. It’s the opportunity for us to be the doctors and nurses we always wanted to be. It’s the most rewarding and humbling experience to listen to people’s stories. The engagement we’ve had with the community’s most vulnerable is overwhelmingly beautiful and positive.”
Taking care of the Kingaroy community and keeping the patient at the centre of care has been another career highlight for Nova. Being an educator and leader in the South Burnett area was a rewarding personal and professional experience that fed her desire to do more. An unwavering commitment to the community drove Nova to develop innovative solutions to community health issues.
Nova’s advice to up and coming Rural Generalists who are looking to be a positive influence in their community is simple:
“Always have the patient at the centre of everything you do. If you do that with every decision you make, you’ll never go wrong and you will have the ability to continue to push boundaries and be a positive disruption to healthcare. Embrace the difference of being a Rural Generalist and don’t put any limits on yourself with where you can go with it.”
The Federal Minister for Industry, Science and Technology recently announced that Sunny Street has been accepted into the Australian Health Accelerator Program. The Program assists innovative health businesses to validate and commercialise products and services and provides access to industry experts and business education that will take Sunny Street to the next level. Nova, Sonia and their growing team of volunteers are set to launch in Adelaide soon, with a progressive national roll-out on the agenda.
“Being a Rural Generalist was the best beginning for my career. Starting with a broad base in a career that’s already a little bit out of the box has been the best gift. It’s enabled me to stay outside of the box and build organisations like Sunny Street.”
Click here for more information about Sunny Street services and how you can volunteer.