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Distinguished guests and keynote speakers

The following Distinguished Guests and Keynote Speakers have been confirmed for Congress Lowitja 2012. For more information, download presentations.

Pat Anderson - distinguished guest at Congress Lowitja 2012

Ms Pat Anderson
Chairperson, The Lowitja Institute

Distinguished Guest

Ms 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: Australia's National Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research. 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 had many essays, papers and articles published. 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. Ms Anderson is based in Canberra.

Ken Wyatt - distinguished guest at Congress Lowitja 2012

Mr Ken Wyatt AM, MP
Federal Member for Hasluck

Distinguished Guest

Ken Wyatt MP is the eldest child of Don and Mona Wyatt who raised 10 children who have succeeded in their chosen paths. He grew up in Corrigin before moving to Perth to study and work.

Ken started out as a primary school teacher before moving into leadership roles in education, such as the District Director for the Swan Education District. He has also held important positions in health. Ken’s career has allowed him to stay in contact with our community at many levels. His experiences have shown him the importance that education plays in our community and the need for a health system which has enough doctors, nurses and beds.

Ken has a history of fighting for important programmes in education and health. He was part of the team that secured $6.7m for Western Australia out of $13m available from the Federal Government for ongoing Aboriginal education funding. Ken was also on a Council of Australian Governments (COAG) sub-committee which fought and received a record $1.5b from the Federal Government for Indigenous health.

Since his election to the seat of Hasluck, Ken has worked tirelessly to advocate for his electorate at a local, state and federal level and has been vocal in raising the wants and needs of his constituents in Parliament.

Mick Gooda - distinguished guest at Congress Lowitja 2012

Mr Mick Gooda
Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander Social Justice Commissioner

Distinguished Guest

Mick Gooda is the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner. Mick commenced his term in February 2010.

Mick is a descendent of the Gangulu people of central Queensland.

As Social Justice Commissioner, he advocates for the recognition of the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia and seeks to promote respect and understanding of these rights among the broader Australian community.

Mick has been actively involved in advocacy in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs throughout Australia for over 25 years and has delivered strategic and sustainable results in remote, rural and urban environments.

His focus has been on the empowerment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Immediately prior to taking up the position of Social Justice Commissioner, Mick was the Chief Executive Officer of the Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health for close to five and a half years. Here, he drove a research agenda which placed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people ‘front and centre’ in the research agenda, working alongside world leading researchers.

Ian Anderson - keynote speaker at Congress Lowitja 2012

Professor Ian Anderson
The University of Melbourne

Keynote address: ‘Setting the Scene’ – The Lowitja Institute’s perspective on Knowledge Exchange and Translation into Practice

Professor Ian Anderson is the foundation Chair in Indigenous Health at the University of Melbourne. In 2012, he joined the University's senior leadership team as Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Higher Education Policy), and is currently Director of Murrup Barak, the Melbourne Institute for Indigenous Development, in the Provost Division.

Ian was the Research Director of the CRC for Aboriginal Health (2003–09) and the former Director of Research and Innovation at the Lowitja Institute. Since 2008, he has chaired the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Equality Council (NATSIHEC).

With a professional background in medicine and social sciences, Ian has written widely on issues related to Aboriginal health, identity and culture. He has a broad interest in the sociology of health and illness, related policy analysis, and theory development in the social sciences. Ian has worked in Aboriginal (Koori) health for more than 25 years: as an Aboriginal health worker, health educator, general practitioner, policy maker and academic.

Malcolm King - keynote speaker at Congress Lowitja 2012

Dr Malcolm King
CIHR Institute of Aboriginal Peoples' Health
and Simon Fraser University

Keynote address: The Aboriginal Canadian experience on Knowledge Exchange and Translation into Practice

Dr Malcolm King, a member of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation in Ontario, Canada, is a health researcher at Simon Fraser University (SFU) in Burnaby, British Columbia. Malcolm joined the SFU Faculty of Health Sciences as a Professor in September 2012, after many years at the University of Alberta, where he was a Professor in the Department of Medicine, Pulmonary Division, and an Adjunct Professor in the School of Public Health. In his career in pulmonary research, Malcolm developed new approaches to treat mucus clearance dysfunction in chronic lung disease, and continues to work on addressing issues in airborne disease transmission.

Since January 2009, Malcolm has led the CIHR Institute of Aboriginal Peoples’ Health as its Scientific Director. In this role, he leads the development of a national health research agenda aimed at improving wellness and achieving health equity for First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples. The CIHR Institute re-located to Simon Fraser University in September 2012.

At the University of Alberta, Malcolm served as Chair of the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry Aboriginal Healthcare Careers Committee from 1993 to 2009; during this period, this training program graduated more than 70 Aboriginal health professionals. Malcolm served as President of the Canadian Thoracic Society in 1999–2000, and from 2000–2004 was a member of the Governing Council of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. He has been recognised for his achievements by the Alberta Lung Association (1999), the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation (1999), and the University of Alberta Board of Governors (2003).

Alex Brown

Professor Alex Brown
South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute

Keynote address: Knowledge Exchange and Translation into Practice – Experiences from the ground

Professor Alex Brown is an Aboriginal medical doctor and researcher. He grew up on the south coast of New South Wales (Wadi Wadi and Yuen Nation). His family history includes connections with Nowra, Wreck Bay and Wallaga Lake on the far south coast of NSW.

Alex trained in medicine at the University of Newcastle, then worked in hospitals on the central coast of NSW. He then travelled overseas to complete a Masters of Public Health and returned to Australia to begin work in Alice Springs where he has been for the past 13 years.

Alex first managed the local Centre for Disease Control in Alice Springs controlling outbreaks of disease, immunisations programs and the surveillance of disease before starting in research for the Menzies School of health Research. In 2007 he was appointed to set up a research unit and program in Central Australia with Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Unit, with a focus on heart disease and diabetes in Aboriginal people.

During this time Alex commenced and completed his PhD on depression and heart disease in Aboriginal men. Much of his work was based on the extensive work he did with senior men and Ngangkari from the APY Lands in northwest South Australia (SA).

Current research

- Heart disease and diabetes in Indigenous people
- Aboriginal men's health
- Social and emotional wellbeing
- Understanding the links between depression and chronic disease
- Health services research
- improving chronic disease outcomes for disadvantaged populations

A key activity for Alex is health system work to improve the way in which health services deliver better outcomes for Aboriginal people, particularly in relation to chronic disease.

Jane Freemantle - keynote speaker at Congress Lowitja 2012

Associate Professor Jane Freemantle
The University of Melbourne

Keynote address: Knowledge Exchange and Data

Associate Professor Jane Freemantle is a paediatric epidemiologist working with total population linked data describing the health and wellbeing of Indigenous children and communities, nationally and internationally. She has developed a unique and a comprehensive, total population mortality profile, describing the context within which deaths have occurred for all Western Australian live births from 1980–2006. Jane is currently leading a similar research program to establish an accurate population birth and mortality profile of Victoria's Aboriginal (and non-Aboriginal) children born between 1998–2008.

Jane argues that the correct acknowledgment of one’s Indigenous status in statutory and administrative data sets is a ‘human right’. She emphasises that the lack of complete and accurate data describing Indigenous populations, prevents us knowing whether we are ‘closing the gap’ on Indigenous disadvantage. Her research focuses on ensuring that complete and accurate data informs the policies, strategies and initiatives aimed at reducing the disparities and improving outcomes of the social determinants of health and wellbeing experienced by Indigenous populations.

Jane is Principal Research Fellow at the Centre for Health and Society, the University of Melbourne and  an ARC Australian Research Fellow. She holds Associate Professor positions at the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health at the University of Western Australia (UWA) and the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, Monash University. She is an Honorary Research Fellow, Telethon Institute for Child Health Research. 

Jenny Brands - keynote speaker at Congress Lowitja 2012

Ms Jenny Brands
Menzies School of Health Research

Keynote address: Implementing innovations in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Care: How do we enhance the non-commercial pathway to large scale impact?

An early career in journalism, and experience with organisational change and adult learning, provided good foundations for Jenny’s later work leading research translation and utilisation at the CRC for Aboriginal Health. Jenny played a key role in reforming the CRCAH’s research development, management and dissemination activities to increase the impact of its research on policy and practice. She has a continuing involvement in knowledge exchange as Research Implementation Manager within the Centre for Primary Health Care Systems at Menzies School of Health Research, with an increasing focus on the widespread implementation of evidence-based programs and tools. Jenny is a co-author of two of the Lowitja Institute’s most popular publications, Researching Indigenous Health: A Practical Guide for Researchers, and Supporting Indigenous Researchers: A Practical Guide for Supervisors.

Debra Reid

Ms Debra Reid
University of Sydney

Closing remarks and event summary

Debra Reid is currently Senior Manager Trust and Engagement, Office of Deputy Vice-Chancellor Indigenous Strategies and Services University of Sydney, supporting the strategic effort to expand and enhance levels of interpersonal and institutional trust and engagement between local and wider Aboriginal community and its leadership, civil society, government and industry and the University community.

Previously Ms Reid worked for Department of Health and Ageing, Office for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health in various roles including Senior Advisor for Data Development, Director National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan.  Ms Reid has been involved in the development of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework (HPF) since its inception in 2003.

Ms Reid has worked in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health in Australia for more than 27 years including 10 years in the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Sector, eight years in the Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Services, Aboriginal Health Policy Office and nine years in the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing.

Created: 19 July 2012 - Updated: 25 February 2013