Being an advocate for yourself

TACT host Jen Seyderhelm standing with Jodie Kirkness in the UCFM studio

In this episode, Jen Seyderhelm is joined by TACT collaborator Jodie Kirkness to talk about how you can be your own best health advocate. Jodie is a journalist at Women’s Health Matters and a promoter of patient self-advocacy. At age 17, Jodie was diagnosed with a high-grade malignant Phyllodes tumour that resulted in five weeks of intensive radiation and a radical mastectomy. She chose not to tell people what she was going through, including many of her family and friends. Now at 24, Jodie is a passionate health advocate for both herself and others.

Many people often feel intimidated, confused and overwhelmed when visiting their doctor and navigating the healthcare system. Jen and Jodie discuss how to combat these issues by advocating for yourself and knowing your rights as a patient. They share tips for seeking appropriate health care, accessing health information, resolving health issues and identifying available treatment options. They discuss how to become an active participant in your healthcare journey by creating an open dialogue with your doctor and giving feedback to ensure you are receiving quality care. Knowing how to advocate for yourself protects your rights and ensures that you are heard.

Episode producer: Sarah Grieb

TACT is made possible thanks to a YWCA and Beyond Bank grant, and with the support of Women’s Health Matters, the voice for women’s health and wellbeing in the ACT; and Sexual Health and Family Planning ACT. The series is produced in partnership with The Owl at the University of Canberra.

You can share your thoughts, ideas and feedback by email ( or via the TACT podcast Facebook page.

Our theme song is Satisfied Minds by the fabulous Canberra band Miroji.

If anything we’ve talked about has raised concerns for you, there are many free support services you can reach out to for help, including:

13 11 14
Online chat

(1800 737 732)
Online chat

(13 92 76)
Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander support service

Being an advocate for yourself