10 July 2023

Advisor Spotlight Article with the Hon. Jaala Pulford

Spotlight on Osara Health Advisor, Jaala Pulford

Enabling Workforce Continuity and Well-being

In our recent advisor spotlight interview, we had the privilege of speaking with Osara Health’s most recently appointed advisor, The Honourable Jaala Pulford.

Jaala was a Member of the Victorian Parliament for 16 years (2006-2022) and a Minister in the Victorian Government for eight years (2014-2022) during which time she held nine ministerial portfolios. Prior to entering politics, Jaala worked in the union movement, largely focussed on supporting injured workers to navigate complex workers’ compensation systems and return to work.

During the latter years of her ministerial career Jaala was Minister for Employment; Minister for Small Business; and Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy. Jaala’s work across so many sectors of the economy, combined with her union background and a very personal experience of cancer enables her to bring a unique perspective to Osara Health.

Jaala’s working life has been defined by a deep passion for safe and secure jobs, strong businesses and communities, and life sciences innovation. She will be an invaluable addition to the Osara Health advisory team.

Jaala urges organisations, whether they are small or large, private or public sector to recognise the profound value of becoming cancer friendly employers.

On the importance of retaining employees

Our economy has been experiencing historically low levels of unemployment which has made it more important than ever for businesses to rethink recruitment and retention.

In Australia, 40% of people diagnosed with cancer will be of working age (25–64 years).

While nothing can prepare us for the emotional and physical impact of this, we can prepare to support staff in a meaningful way. Osara provides valuable additional support and tools that help preserve the employment relationship during periods of illness – something that is good for employer and employee alike.

The Intersection of Health, Work, and Well-being

For most people, a health crisis is a job and income crisis. Beyond that, treatment often requires long periods away from workmates and usual routines.

For many of us, our workplace is a community. Facilitating an ongoing connection to work, and where possible, participation in work, provides mental health and well-being benefits as well as financial relief.

Employers, managers and directors wanting to do the right thing in a situation like this often lack the tools to provide the right kind of support. Doing this right creates a positive impact on the entire workplace community.

The Role of Osara Health in Workplace Well-being

I’m delighted to be joining Osara Health as an advisor. Osara Health’s unique approach and belief in the universality of supporting employees while improving health outcomes strongly resonates with my own personal and professional experience.

Osara Health offers a practical and holistic approach that normalises the work environment for individuals impacted by cancer. By providing tools and resources to navigate the complexities of cancer and offering support tailored to each person’s needs, Osara enables people to find some normalcy amid the chaos of their cancer journey, and when the time is right, to help them take well supported steps back to work.

The Call for Employers

I urge employers of all sizes, across public, private and non-profit sectors alike, to consider the opportunity to better support their employees when facing cancer diagnosis and treatment. These carefully designed programs provide great benefit to the patient, employer and the entire organisation.