The World Health Organization states that the community into which people are born, live and work is the single most important determinant of health. Wiimali is a ‘virtual’ community that allows learners to explore the social determinants of health as they gain unique insights into the meaning and practice of primary healthcare. Rich and meaningful patient journeys are presented so that learners develop an understanding of how peoples’ social networks and life histories influence their health and wellbeing.
Wiimali (pronounced Weemulee) comes from the Gamilaraay Australian Aboriginal language and has been used with permission. Wiimali means ‘to light a fire’ and the town was so called because of our conceptualisation of ‘education as the lighting of fire, not the filling of a pail’ (William Butler Yeats).
Wiimali is situated in a ‘virtual’ part of New South Wales. It is five hours from Sydney and covers an area of almost 300 square kilometres. We recommend that you begin your exploration of Wiimali by taking the virtual tour. As you do, remember that, although relatively small, Wiimali is a diverse community made up of a number of different cultural groups.
When you have finished the tour, you can explore Wiimali in more depth by clicking on the some of the key landmarks on the map. By scrolling over map, the live links will become evident. This will allow you become more familiar with the people and the community. The Wiimali Council Chambers provides an overview of the health indicators and demographic characteristics of Wiimali, which will give you insights into the strengths of the Wiimali community as well as some of the challenges residents face. A number of community members provide personal insights about living in Wiimali through a series of Blog posts, and the Wiimali community radio station and Wiimali Chronicle provide regular updates about the dynamic and unfolding nature of the community. There are stories about some of the Wiimali residents that can be traced from their homes and throughout their healthcare journeys, as they interact with different members of the interprofessional healthcare team, both in community and in healthcare settings.
Wiimali was designed to inspire and explore, to transform understandings of healthcare, and to challenge traditional views of culture and community. I hope that these insights give you a new appreciation of the interactions between peoples’ lived realties and their healthcare experiences.
Professor of Nursing Education, University of Technology Sydney