Indigenous Reference Group
Lyn is a Wiradjuri, Yorta Yorta, Wirundjuri woman with over 35 years of experience working in Aboriginal Health across many fields including Aboriginal Health Worker, Victorian Aboriginal Health Service (VAHS) Manager, Women's & Children's Health MCH, Maternity Programs, VAHS Breast Screen & Pap Screen Program.
Lyn retired from her role in Integrated Team Care at VAHS in 2020, following a career as Manager of the Home & Community Care Elders Program and Coordinator of Gurwidji House at the Aboriginal Advancement League.
Lyn is passionate about helping her Community. In her own words: “I have been a member of the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service since I was 18 years old and strongly believe in Aboriginal self-determination and Community control and have always been a strong advocate for our Aboriginal voice and Community consultation. I have used my art and design skills throughout my career to develop health promotion resources for VACCHO, VAHS, Victorian Dispute Center, Breast Screen Victoria and Cervical Screening Vic, New Directions Program MERCY Hospital. I have such respect and value working and walking with our Aboriginal Community Elders.”
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.
Prof. Yvonne Cadet-James
Professor Cadet-James has extensive experience in the field of health and education as a registered nurse and midwife, followed by an academic teaching and research career. She has experience as a principal and chief investigator on NHMRC, ARC and other funded grants.
Her research interests lie in community based models to address tobacco; maternal and child health; social, emotional and mental health wellbeing; and research benefit and impact. She is a co-leader on the Family Wellbeing Empowerment Research Program now utilised in some 57 organisations/communities across the nation which assists people to gain the knowledge, skills and confidence to make positive changes in their lives.
Professor Cadet-James has been involved in national Indigenous research reform through representation on NHMRC committees including the Principal Committee Indigenous Caucus, working group for the revision of the NHMRC national ethical guidelines for research which involves Indigenous people and the Australian Health Ethics Committee.
She plays a major advisory and mentorship role in strengthening the capacity of researchers, organisations and communities; she provides master classes and workshops specifically designed for Indigenous groups to set and take control of their own research agendas. As a member of the Gugu Badhun nation Professor Cadet-James provides leadership for the Gugu Badhun Djima Research Centre activities.
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”.
Venessa is a Koedal Sumu Torres Strait Islander and has extensive experience working in metropolitan, rural and remote areas throughout Australia.
Currently, she is Executive Director of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health at Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service, and board member of the recently formed National Advisory Group for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Aged Care (NAGATSIAC).
Previously, she has collaborated on the development of National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Dementia Strategy, and as a board member of the National Congress Australia's First Peoples contributed to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages recognition and revitalisation.
Dementia care in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities is an area of research interest for Venessa, who also specialises in adapting Western management systems and sector development to incorporate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledges and practices.
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.
Terry identifies as a Gumbayngirr / Biripai man. His father was a Gumbayngirr man and his mother a Biripai woman. Terry has had a diverse career, from military service, working in local government and not-for–profit community services to providing education to health professionals on Aboriginal cultural awareness.
Terry worked with the National Parks & Wildlife Service of NSW as one of 3 Aboriginal Sites Officers. As an Aboriginal sites officer, he travelled to all Aboriginal communities in NSW and collected information about Aboriginal sacred sites, Aboriginal occupational sites and Aboriginal history & culture. This process was to instigate registration and preservation of the sacred sites.
He has also worked:
– As a lecturer in TAFE;
– As an Aboriginal Case Worker – Youth Support Worker;
– As an Aboriginal Housing Corporation Coordinator;
– As a team Leader and labourer on Nambucca Shire Council; and
– As an outreach worker, with the North Coast Primary Health Network.
Terry is a much valued member of the Koori Growing Old Well Study team on the Mid North Coast and is employed as a Knowledge Translation Officer for the OurMOB study
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.
Dallas is a Yuuwaalaaray woman with family ties to the Dirranbandi nation in far South-West Queensland.
Currently she works as Executive Director of Primary Health Care at Apunipima Cape York Health Council. She is an Executive Board member at Wuchopperen Health Service and a member of the Far North Queensland Human Research Ethics Committee.
Throughout her career in the health industry Dallas has worked across government departments, in tertiary education, and Aboriginal community-controlled services. She has a keen interest in research and has been involved in a variety of research projects relating to health and wellbeing, and has pursued post-graduate qualifications in Indigenous health and management.
Adju/Prof Dr Mark Wenitong
Dr Mark Wenitong (Adjunct Prof) 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 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 CD and MH over the lifespan and across generations.