The Lowitja Institute Board

The Lowitja Institute Board of Directors oversees the implementation of national research programs focused on improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. The Board has a majority Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander membership and comprises highly skilled and experienced health sector professionals. 

Board members: Ms Pat Anderson (Chairperson) | Professor Greg Anderson | Professor Peter Buckskin | Mr Selwyn Button | Mr Brendon Douglas | Mr Ali Drummond | Dr Tamara Mackean | Mr Russell Taylor | Past Directors

Ms Pat Anderson AO, Chairperson

Pat Anderson - Chairperson of the Lowitja Institute BoardMs Pat Anderson is an Alyawarre woman known nationally and internationally as a powerful advocate for disadvantaged people, with a particular focus on the health of Australia’s First Peoples. She has extensive experience in all aspects of Aboriginal health, including community development, advocacy, policy formation and research ethics.

Ms Anderson has spoken before the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous People, and currently serves as the Chairperson of the Lowitja Institute. She has also been the CEO of Danila Dilba Health Service in Darwin, Chair of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, Executive Officer of the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory (AMSANT), and was the Chair of the CRC for Aboriginal Health from 2003 to 2009. Ms Anderson has published many essays, papers and articles. She was a co-author with Rex Wild QC of Little Children Are Sacred, a report on the abuse of Aboriginal children in the Northern Territory. In 2007 she was awarded the Public Health Association of Australia’s Sidney Sax Public Health Medal in recognition of her achievements and she was awarded the Human Rights Community Individual Award (Tony Fitzgerald Memorial Award) in 2012 and an honorary doctorate from Flinders University in 2013. Ms Anderson won the public policy category in the 2015 Australian Financial Review and Westpac 100 Women of Influence Awards.

In June 2014, Ms Anderson was appointed Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for distinguished service to the Indigenous community as a social justice advocate, particularly through promoting improved health, educational and protection outcomes for children.

Professor Greg Anderson, Director

Professor Greg AndersonProfessor Greg Anderson is Head of the Iron Metabolism Laboratory (1995–present) and Deputy Director (from 2012) of the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, as well as a Senior Research Fellow of the NHMRC. He also has adjunct appointments in the School of Chemical and Molecular Biosciences and the School of Medicine at the University of Queensland and Griffith University. His major research interests lie in understanding the molecular basis of iron homeostasis and diseases associated with disturbances in iron metabolism. He retains a strong interest in the biology of other metals, notably copper and manganese. Professor Anderson’s research has led to over 140 publications, including contributions to journals such as Nature Genetics, Cell, New England Journal of Medicine, PNAS, Lancet, Gastroenterology, Blood, Journal of Biological Chemistry, Journal of Clinical Investigation, Hepatology and Gut. His work has been funded predominantly by the NHMRC, but also by the ARC and US NIH.

Professor Anderson has gained very strong national and international recognition in the field of iron biology and has made many contributions to his discipline. He was elected to the inaugural Board of the International Bioiron Society (2003-2007), and is currently the President of the Society. He is also a foundation Council member of the International Biometals Society (2010-present). Within Australia he convenes the Australian Biometals Group, has, until very recently, served on the Council of the Australian Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and has served on the Research Committee of the Gastroenterological Society of Australia for a decade. He chairs the Industry Professional Advisory Board for the School of Biomolecular and Physical Sciences at Griffith University, and the Program Advisory Committee for the X-ray fluorescence microscopy beamline of the Australian Synchrotron. He has previously headed the Cancer and Cell Biology Division and the Population Studies and Human Genetics Division at QIMR Berghofer.

At QIMR Berghofer, Professor Anderson oversees the management of Indigenous health research and he has served on the Lowitja Institute Advisory Board for the past two years.

Professor Peter Buckskin PSM, FACE, Director

Peter Buckskin - Director of The Lowitja Institute Professor Peter Buckskin is a Narungga man from the Yorke Peninsula in South Australia. He is currently the inaugural Dean: Indigenous Scholarship, Engagement and Research at the University of South Australia. Prior to taking up this position, he was Dean and Head of School of the David Unaipon College of Indigenous Education and Research. In 2012 Professor Buckskin was appointed the Convenor of the State's Advisory Committee on the recognition of Aboriginal people in the South Australian Constitution Act 1934.

As an educator and professional bureaucrat for more than 30 years, Professor Buckskin’s passion has been the pursuit of educational excellence for Aboriginal students. He has worked as a schoolteacher, a Ministerial Adviser, Superintendent of Schools and as a senior executive at both State and Federal levels. He has been Chair of the South Australian Aboriginal Education Consultative Committee and a member of the National Aboriginal Education Committee. For more than a decade Professor Buckskin worked as an officer in the Commonwealth's Senior Executive Service, and in 2001 received the Commonwealth Public Service Medal (PSM). In 2003, Professor Buckskin was awarded the Frank G Klassen Award for Leadership and Contribution to Teacher Education from the International Council on Education for Teaching (ICET). In 2005, he received the Deadly Award for his outstanding contribution to Aboriginal Education and in 2007 was elected a Fellow of the Australian College of Educators.

Professor Buckskin is currently a member of the Australian Government's National First Peoples Education Advisory Group, and continues as Chair of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Higher Education Consortium, and an Executive Member of the World Indigenous Network of Higher Education Consortium. Professor Buckskin is Chair of the SA Aboriginal Education and Training Consultative Body, Co-Chair of Reconciliation SA, Patron of the Principals Australia’s Dare to Lead Program, a White Ribbon Ambassador, a Council Member of the ARC’s Advisory Council and a Board Member of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples. He has also served as a Commissioner of the Australian Commission to UNESCO.

Mr Selwyn Button, Director

Mr Selwyn ButtonMr Selwyn Button is a Gungarri man from South West Queensland who was raised in Cherbourg. With extensive experience working towards the achievement of an empowered and sustainable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Health sector in Queensland, he is currently Assistant Director-General (Indigenous Education), Department of Education, Training and Employment, Queensland (previously the CEO of the Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council) and the Chairperson of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service Brisbane Limited. Mr Button has also served on numerous councils and committees including the Queensland Indigenous Education Consultative Committee, the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Senior Health Officials Network and the Senior Officials National Network for Indigenous Education.

Mr Button has also held roles as the Director, Indigenous Health Policy Branch within Queensland Health, the General Manager of Sector Development at QAIHC, served as a Police Officer with the Queensland Police Service for six years and has worked in a variety of government policy development roles within the Department of Education and Training including a role as Principle Advisor within the Indigenous Education Branch. He is currently completing a Master of Business Administration at the University of Queensland, holds a Bachelor of Teaching degree and has been published regularly in Croakey, the Crikey health blog with a focus on the health of Australia’s First Peoples. In 2013, he was a contributing author to Prevention and management of chronic disease in Aboriginal and Islander Community Controlled Health Services in Queensland: A quality improvement study assessing change in selected clinical performance indicators over time in a cohort of services published in BMJ Open.

Mr Brendon Douglas, Director

Brendon DouglasBrendon has more than 15 years experience in consulting and executive and project management for academic, commercial and community institutions. His expertise includes executive leadership, capacity building, partnership brokering and innovation. He has had hands-on experience in the fields of governance; community, rural and youth development; women’s empowerment; and health systems strengthening. Brendon has designed, delivered and evaluated programs serving diverse groups in Australia, Central and South America, the Pacific Islands, and South East Asia. He presently works as the Director of Research and Innovation at Charles Darwin University and is an Executive Council member of the International Development Contractors group, providing strategic advice to the Australian aid program. Brendon is a lawyer, Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management and has postgraduate management qualifications.

Mr Ali Drummond, Director

Ali Drummond - Director of the Lowitja InstituteMr Ali Drummond was born and raised on Thursday Island in north Queensland, and is a descendant of the Dauareb people of the Murray Islands and the Wuthathi and Yadaigana people of North-Eastern Cape York Peninsula. In 2005, he was one of the three inaugural nursing graduates from James Cook University, Thursday Island Campus.

Mr Drummond's nursing experience began in 2006 in the Orthopaedic Unit at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane. Since then, he has worked in most of Brisbane's hospitals in numerous specialty medical and surgical wards and emergency departments. His pathway into nursing policy began in mid-2010 when he began work with the Nursing and Midwifery Office, Queensland (NMOQ) as a Nurse Project Officer. As well as project management roles, Mr Drummond has also been the Indigenous Nurse Advisor to a number of Queensland’s Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officers, and is currently an Assistant Director of Nursing in NMOQ.

When graduating in 2005, Mr Drummond became the inaugural recipient of the 'Sally Goold Award' (for the most outstanding Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander nursing student), and in September 2012 received the 'Early Career Outstanding Alumni Award', both from James Cook University (JCU). He is an Adjunct Senior Lecturer with JCU, and also a regular guest lecturer with the School of Nursing at Queensland University of Technology. He is currently completing a Master in International Public Health.

Dr Tamara Mackean, Director

Tamara Mackean - Director of the Lowitja Institute

Dr Tamara Mackean MBBS, MPH, FAFPHM is a Senior Research Fellow at the Poche Centre for Indigenous Health and Wellbeing, Flinders University.

Dr Mackean is a descendent of the Waljen Peoples of the Goldfields region of Western Australia (WA). Her great-grandmother was registered with the Protector of Aborigines in WA, as were her children, and her children’s children. The reverberations from these actions traverse family trees and spiritual songlines and have helped build strength and tenacity through trauma and conflict across generations.

Within this context, Dr Mackean has endeavoured to create positive change and promote wellbeing within her work and life efforts to date. At the Poche Centre, Dr Mackean leads the development of the Centre’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research agenda. She is also a Chief Investigator on the National Health and Medical Research Council Centre for Research Excellence in Social Determinants and Health Equity, a collaborative undertaking between Flinders University and the Australian National University. Her research activities span public health, mental health, health systems and pedagogical disciplines and include the development and implementation of patient journey methodology, examining racism in health services and looking at the role of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Hospital Liaison Officers in the provision of quality health care.

Dr Mackean is a Fellow of the Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine (FAFPHM), within the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP). She is the Chairperson for the RACP’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Committee, which aims to strengthen the college’s capacity to improve the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Her contributions to the College in this regard were recognised with Dr Mackean receiving the RACP Trainee of the Year Award in 2015.

Mr Russell Taylor AM, Director

Mr Russell TaylorMr Russell Taylor has been the Principal (Chief Executive Officer) at AIATSIS, Canberra, since March 2009.

Born and raised in Millers Point, an inner city Sydney waterfront suburb that today forms part of the tourist precinct area known as ‘The Rocks’, Mr Taylor proudly identifies as a Kamilaroi man with family connection to La Perouse in Sydney and to traditional country in the New England area of New South Wales.

Mr Taylor is a current member of the Council of the University of Technology Sydney, a member of the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Higher Education Advisory Council, and he is a member of Charles Darwin University’s Vice Chancellor's Indigenous Advisory Committee.

He is a former Chief Executive Officer of the New South Wales Aboriginal Housing Office, a former member of the University of Canberra Council, and a founding and former Director of the Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre.  He has a recognised record of leadership in the Indigenous community and wide-ranging expertise in a diversity of public administration and related strategic management fields.

His career includes more than 20 years in various public sector Senior Executive Service positions including terms with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, the Aboriginal Development Commission and previously as Principal at AIATSIS (1997–2003).  Mr Taylor’s career also includes 20 years in the banking and finance sector.

Mr Taylor’s academic qualifications include Graduate Diploma qualifications in Public Sector Management (UTS) and Arts (ANU) and a Master of Business Administration (UTS).

Created: 03 May 2012 - Updated: 13 May 2016