Indigenous Reference Group
Diane is a member of the Gugu Badhun nation of the Valley of Lagoons in Northern Queensland.
Currently, she is part of the Healthy Ageing Research Team undertaking a project to better understand what healthy ageing means for Torres Strait Islanders. Previously, she has worked in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education, supporting students to reach their full potential and families to navigate the system.
Her research interests include working with groups and communities to ensure appropriate research protocols are in place and assisting researchers to engage respectfully and ethically with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the research process.
"My lived experience as an Aboriginal person in conjunction with qualifications and experience working in the Indigenous sector informs my approach to working to improve outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people."
Aunty Margaret Clarke is a proud Muthi Muthi Woman who has dedicated her life supporting the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in Education, Out-of-Home-Care, Community Services, Health and Aged Care.
Margaret is the recipient of a Roberta Sykes Indigenous Education Foundation grant for graduate studies at Harvard University, Massachusetts. Throughout her career in social work and community services she has worked in the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care, Victorian Aboriginal Community Services Association Limited, Link-Up Victorian, VACCHO, and the Aboriginal Advancement League. She has been a board member of the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency, The Stolen Generation Committee and The Aboriginal Community Elders Services Inc.
“For me there are three main areas in my life that give me strength and courage to go on when the odds are against me. The first are our Elders who I admire and respect; for if not for them and their fight for rights; I shudder to think where we’d be today. My second, is my passion for genealogy in particular, my own Aboriginal family history. I have a need to find out who my Ancestors are; who determined my Aboriginality, culture, sprit and of course my genetics and last but not least is my writing both personal and at VACCHO”.
Gail is a proud and strong Kamilaroi woman. She started working at the Aboriginal Medical Service in Redfern in 1978 as a receptionist and worked her way up to Dental Coordinator. Since, she has had senior roles in the public sector, local government, the Department of Education and Training and NSW Health.
Gail was elected by the Sydney Aboriginal Community as an ATSIC (Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Commission) Councillor and in 2012 she was inducted into the NSW Aboriginal Health Hall of Fame at the NSW Aboriginal Health Awards. This award was presented to her by the Minister and was in recognition for over 30 years of service to Aboriginal Health.
Gail has a passion for Aboriginal affairs and helping others. Since retiring in 2015, Gail has been involved with the Jimmy Little Foundation, NeuRA (Neuroscience Research Australia), Stepping Stones House and the Aboriginal Medical Service, Redfern. Gail enjoys reading, quilting and spending time with her grandson, Isaiah.
Harold is a proud Gunnai man from south eastern Victoria. He is a research officer on the Let’s CHAT Dementia project and IRG co-ordinator, and also an Integrated Team Care Co-ordinator at the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service. Harry has worked as an aged care consultant and personal care assistant for 20 years and was also the manager of a planned activity group at the Aboriginal Community Elders’ Service (ACES) for a number of years. He was even the cook and gardener there for a while!
“I love working with my Community and in particular with Elders. I have found that taking a holistic approach to care, which might sometimes mean doing tasks outside the scope of my job description like taking people shopping, cooking them a meal, or physically taking clients to appointments, makes all the difference to my clients’ health and wellbeing. I have a lot of experience working with people on the dementia journey, and more recently have had the very personal experience of dealing with my mum’s diagnosis with dementia and the challenges of helping to care for her. I feel very strongly that the research that I’m involved with at Melbourne University is going to help my community improve their quality of life and get better, culturally appropriate support. I’m very keen to let Community know about what I’m doing and change perceptions about research and its potential value for Indigenous people, when it is conducted in a culturally and spiritually appropriate manner.”
Roslyn Malay is a Yurriyangem Taam Kija women from the East Kimberley of Western Australia. She has expert knowledge on the complex social, environmental and cultural issues that both affect and influence the health and wellbeing of older Aboriginal people in the Kimberley.
Roslyn has worked as a Researcher/Project Officer at the University of Western Australia Centre for Health and Ageing (WACHA) for 9 years. She is one of few Aboriginal Research Officers working in the Kimberley and has been instrumental in improving the lives and health of older Aboriginal Australians who live there.
Roslyn's research interests include healthy ageing among Aboriginal people, particularly in the remote community setting. She facilitates knowledge exchange of Aboriginal culture to non-Aboriginal people and has helped increase awareness of dementia and cognitive impairment in remote communities in the Kimberley. She is also the Co - Chair of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australian Association of Gerontology Ageing Advisory Group and completed her cert IV in ageing support at the North Regional TAFE in Broome.
Adju/Prof Dr Mark Wenitong
Adjunct Prof. Dr Mark Wenitong is an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medical graduate and a founder and past president of the Australian Indigenous Doctors Association, and has been involved in clinical primary health care in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health as well as policy and research. He also has an interest in research translation both into policy and practice.
He is the medical advisor for a large regional remote ACCHS and also advises on both federal and state Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health policy. His main research interests are the intersection of early childhood, epigenetics and generational adult Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health improvements, including the influence of allostatic load, and ACE’s on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health with respect to both childhood development and mental health over the lifespan and across generations.