Kerrie Oakes

With a background in community development, and government policy roles, Kerrie Oakes understood the power and potential of transforming local communities through herbal medicine. After training as a herbalist, Kerrie developed grassroots, cooperative models of herbal medicine care, ensuring access to these invaluable herbal medicine resources to those who need them most.  

Kerrie has done this through establishing the South East Queensland chapter of the international Herbalists Without Borders network, and leading the chapter with dedication and innovation. Her focus on providing herbal support to homeless services, refugees, and disaster-affected individuals has made a profound impact on these communities. Kerrie's leadership extends to encouraging fellow professionals to engage with and assist communities during crises, using diverse approaches from collecting donations, distribution of herbal products, and organising 'making herbal products' sessions.

Her efforts have been a beacon of hope for communities in Southern Queensland and Northern NSW facing bushfires and floods between 2020 and 2023.

“Working with community is hard work and can be challenging...but it's also fun, rewarding, and exciting! There is little else I would prefer to be doing - unless it is sitting under a tree, watching the seasons change. 

Community-supported Herbalism and Cooperative Models of Healthcare

Kerrie has also actively worked with her local Somerset Region community to establish the Somerset Health Hubs Community Cooperative and Somerset Community Herb Clinics. Through these organisations, Kerrie supports her community in making decisions about improving the health of individuals and the community through natural medicine healthcare which is affordable and accessible.

Kerrie is currently undertaking a PhD with the National Centre for Naturopathic Medicine at Southern Cross University. Her doctoral work is focused on developing models of policy integration of community herbalism, to support communities to develop, lead and sustain their own preferred models of intergrative healthcare. Her work placed her as a well deserving finalist for the 2023 Southern Cross University Student Excellence Awards.

With additional funding, Kerrie is hoping to develop some valuable flood resources for herbalists wanting to get involved in natural disasters. She also wants to travel to herbal community clinics worldwide as part of her PhD, to examine different models of community clinics, and develop an understanding and definition.

Donate to the Centre to help us continue to support Kerrie's work with vulnerable communities through the development of community herb clinics and empowering people through education.

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