Professor Jill Milroy
Professor Jill Milroy is Palyku from the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Jill is Pro Vice Chancellor Indigenous Education at the University of Western Australia and is the Director of the Poche Centre for Indigenous Health.
She has more than 30 years experience in Indigenous higher education developing programs and support services for Indigenous students as well as a range of Indigenous curriculum and research initiatives. Jill has served on a number of national policy advisory bodies and in 2011 was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in recognition of her services to Indigenous education. Her key research interest is in Aboriginal knowledge, history, place and story systems.
Professor Tom Calma AO
Professor Tom Calma AO is an Aboriginal elder from the Kungarakan tribal group and a member of the Iwaidja tribal group whose traditional lands are south west of Darwin and on the Coburg Peninsula in the Northern Territory of Australia, respectively.
He has been involved in Indigenous affairs at a local, community, state, national and international level and worked in the public sector for over 40 years and is currently on a number of boards and committees focusing on rural and remote Australia, health, mental health, suicide prevention, education, justice reinvestment, research, reconciliation and economic development.Read more
Prof Calma was appointed National Coordinator Tackling Indigenous Smoking in March 2010 to lead the fight against tobacco use in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Prof Calma was the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner from 2004 to 2010 and Race Discrimination Commissioner from 2004 until 2009 at the Australian Human Rights Commission.
Through his 2005 Social Justice Report, Prof Calma called for the life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to be closed within a generation and advocated embedding a social determinants philosophy into public policy around health, education and employment in order to address Indigenous inequality gaps. This spearheaded the Close the Gap for Indigenous Health Equality Campaign that effectively brought national attention to achieving health equality for Indigenous people by 2030.
Prof Calma chaired the advisory group that developed the inaugural National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy, is a SPA Ambassador and co-chairs with Prof Pat Dudgeon the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Advisory Group to the Commonwealth government and is an expert advisor to the Centre of Best Practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention management.
In November 2014 Prof Calma was awarded the Indigenous Allied Health Australia Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his lifelong dedication to improving the lives of Indigenous Australians and in September 2017 was appointed the inaugural Patron of Indigenous Allied Health Australia. Prof Calma was appointed a Professor at the University of Sydney Medical School from 1 January 2015 to perform the role of Chair and Patron of the Poche Indigenous Health Network.
Professor Pat Dudgeon
Professor Pat Dudgeon is from the Bardi people of the Kimberly area in Western Australia. She is a psychologist and Fellow of the Australian Psychological Society. Pat is a Professor and Poche Research Fellow at the School of Indigenous Studies at the University of Western Australia in Perth, Western Australia.
Her area of research includes Indigenous social and emotional wellbeing and suicide prevention. Amongst her many commitments, she is a former Commissioner of the Australian National Mental Health Commission (completed 5 year term July 2017), deputy chair of the Australian Indigenous Psychologist’s Association, chair of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leaders Mental Health, co-chair of the ministerial Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Advisory Group and member of NHMRC Mental Health Research Advisory Committee.Read more
She is the executive director of the National Empowerment Project: an Indigenous suicide prevention project working with eleven sites in Aboriginal communities across the country, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project and the Centre of Best Practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention.
Richard Weston is a descendant of the Meriam people of the Torres Strait. He has worked in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs for more than 20 years, 14 of these in Indigenous controlled health services in Far West New South Wales and Queensland.
As CEO of the Healing Foundation since September 2010 Richard has overseen the strategic development of the organisation, which has supported more than 135 culturally strong, community led Indigenous healing projects around Australia.
During his 13 years at Maari Ma Health in Far West NSW including nine years as CEO (2000-2009), Richard led the delivery of high quality health care and improved health outcomes for adults and children alike in a remote region known for the poor health status of its population. During this time Maari Ma won five NSW health awards and a national health award.Read more
Richard is a member of the National Health Leadership Forum and the Close the Gap Working Group. He is also an advisory committee member for the National Empowerment Project and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project.
Glenn Pearson is Head of Aboriginal Research at the Telethon Kids Institute in Western Australia joining the Institute in 2005.
As an accomplished educator, advocate and policy advisor, his state-wide directive is to ensure the Institute’s work reflects the needs of Aboriginal families, and is conducted in accordance with ethical and cultural protocols and brings to this role 15 years of working in senior positions within the State and Australian Governments with experience in health, education and child protection.Read more
In addition to leading the Kulunga Aboriginal Research Development Unit (KARDU), Glenn is a member of the Telethon Institute’s leadership team. He led the establishment of their Telethon Kids Kimberley Office, co-located in the Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Service (KAMS) in Broome. This will enable the Institute to maintain a permanent presence across the Kimberley, and will provide a model for conducting Aboriginal research in regions such as the Pilbara, Kalgoorlie and Perth metro.
He currently sits on several boards in a continued commitment to make a positive difference in the lives of Aboriginal children and their families including as Deputy Chair for the WA State Government’s Ministerial Council for Suicide Prevention and as Chair of the Sister Kates Home Kids Corporation Board.
Professor Neil Drew
Professor Neil Drew is Director of the Australia Indigenous HealthInfoNet; an internet resource that informs practice and policy in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health by making research and other knowledge readily accessible. Neil has postgraduate qualifications in social psychology and over 30 years’ experience working with a diverse range of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and groups.
He was psychologist for the Department of Family Services in Queensland working with young offenders and the victims of child sexual abuse. Prior to joining the HealthInfoNet Neil held positions at the University of Notre Dame Australia including Foundation Head of Behavioural Science, Dean of Arts and Sciences and Deputy Head of the University Broome Campus of Reconciliation.Read more
From 2002-2005 he was Director of the University of Western Australia Institute for Regional Development. He was program coordinator of the Wundargoodie Aboriginal Youth and Community Wellbeing Program in the East Kimberley established in 2006. The program promotes wellness and suicide prevention with young people in East Kimberley Aboriginal communities. He is co-author of chapters in the text, Working Together: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Mental Health Wellbeing Principles and Practice (2010/14) and co-author of the text Social Psychology and Everyday Life (2010).
Professor Gary Robinson
Professor Gary Robinson leads the Indigenous Parenting and Family Research and the Suicide Prevention Research themes in the Centre for Child Development and Education.
He has led the evaluation of health, mental health and educational initiatives in the Northern territory, including the Tiwi Coordinated Care Trial (1997-2004) and the National Accelerated Literacy Program (2004-2009).
He has conducted long term ethnographic field research into Aboriginal adolescence, family relationships, parenting, suicide and self harm.Read more
He has been responsible for the development and evaluation of school-based early intervention and prevention programs for Indigenous children and parents in urban and remote communities, with the program ‘Ngaripirliga’ajirri’ in partnership with the Tiwi Health Board and others, (2000-2004) and the Let’s Start Parent-Child Program (2005-2013). In 2012, he led consultations to develop a National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy on behalf of the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing, and is currently chief investigator of a study of outcomes of admissions for deliberate self harm in Northern Territory hospitals.
Sally Bishop is currently an Assistant Director with the Department of Health, working in the area of mental health. She has worked in the allied health area for over 20 years, previously in the regional and metropolitan rehabilitation services settings. Sally has also been a member of Rotary for a number of years, and has a strong interest in supporting the work undertaken in the community sector.
Sally joined Pegasus 12 months ago, as she was keen to support an organisation that provides such valuable services and programs to help individuals grow and reach their potential.
Pat Turner AM
Pat Turner AM , the daughter of an Arrente man and a Gurdanji woman, was born in 1952 and raised in Alice Springs. Her long association with Canberra began with a temporary position with the Public Service Board, leading to the Social Policy Branch of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs (DAA) in 1979.
Joining the Australian Public Service (APS) in Alice Springs as a switchboard operator in the Native Affairs Department , she moved to Canberra in 1978, joining the senior executive ranks of the public service in 1985, when she became Director of the DAA in Alice Springs, N.T. (1985-86).Read more
Pat then became First Assistant Secretary, Economic Development Division in the DAA, and in 1989, Deputy Secretary. She worked as Deputy Secretary in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet during 1991-92, with oversight of the establishment of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation and with responsibility for the Office of the Status of Women among other matters.
Between 1994 -1998, Pat was CEO of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, which made her the most senior Indigenous government official in Australia. After stints in senior positions at the Department of Health and at Centrelink, Pat Turner left the APS and Canberra in 2006, returning to Alice Springs with her mother to live.
There, she has continued to advocate on the behalf of indigenous people, including taking on what she described as ‘one of the best working experiences of my life’ as CEO of National Indigenous Television (2006 -2010). Other memorable experiences include the period when she was Festival Director of the 5th Festival of Pacific Arts in Townsville, Queensland (1987 -88) and when she held the Chair of Australian Studies at Georgetown University in Washington DC (1998-99).
Turner retired from the APS in 2006, not particularly happy with the state of the organisation she was leaving, but happy about the prospect of spending more time with family and focusing on grass roots projects. She worked on the development of the recently launched (2013) National Indigenous Television until 2010. In 2011, she was appointed to the advisory council of the Australian National Preventative Health Agency.In April 2016 she was appointed CEO of NACCHO Turner holds a Masters Degree in Public Administration from the University of Canberra where she was awarded the University prize for Development Studies.
Rob McPhee is the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Kimberly Aboriginal Medical Services based in Broome. He has cultural connections to Derby and the Pilbara. He has held a number of roles including teaching positions at Curtin University and the University of Western Australia. He has worked in the private industry as a senior adviser to the oil and gas industry. He is passionate about social justice for Indigenous people and currently co-chairs the Commonwealth funded Kimberley Aboriginal Suicide Prevention Trail Site Working Group.
Adj. Associate Professor Learne Durrington
Chief Executive Officer, WA Primary Health Alliance Limited.
Adj. Associate Professor Learne Durrington, has a long held professional and personal interest in, and commitment to improving, mental health and wellbeing in vulnerable communities. As the CEO of the WA Primary Health Alliance she influences the design and implementation of the range of suicide prevention activities undertaken by the PHNs in WA. Learne has held senior roles in mental health with responsibility for statewide public mental health services along with a range policy and funding roles. Learne is an Adjunct Associate Professor in health services, a social work and post graduate management qualifications.
“Challenging stereotypes about vulnerable people drives me.”
Nieves Murray commenced as CEO of Suicide Prevention Australia in May 2018. Throughout her 30+ year career in the social sciences, Nieves has lived and breathed her passion for enabling vulnerable people to have more choice and control over how they live their lives.
Nieves spent over a decade at the helm of IRT Group, one of Australia’s largest community-owned seniors’ lifestyle and care providers, driving record growth, customer satisfaction and social impact. She has held non-Executive leadership roles in financial services, tertiary education, property development, retail, research, health, aged care and retirement living since 2001. Her contributions have been recognised at a regional, national and international level. In 2013 Nieves was named one of Australia’s 100 Most Influential Women by the Australian Financial Review.Read more
As a long-term Lifeline and Vinnie’s Van volunteer and previous Director of Coordinare, South Eastern NSW Primary Health Network, Nieves has been at the front line of homelessness and mental health in Australia.
A Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and Fellow of the Australian Institute of Managers and Leaders, Nieves is currently:
- Independent Chair of Family Spirit, a joint start-up venture by Marist 180 and CatholicCare Sydney.
- A Member of the University of Wollongong Council and Member of its Audit and Risk and Nominations Committees.
- A Director of the Community Alliance Credit Union and Member of the Board Governance and Remuneration and Nominations Committees.
Barbara Ahmat is a Noongar woman descendant of the Wagyl Kaip people from the South West of Western Australia.
Barb has spent the majority of her working life devoted and advocating for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities. Barb’s experience stems from administration, human resources, policy and research, project management, and leadership.
Barb started her career in child protection, and worked in other various government departments in Western Australia. Through her career she has been able to influence government programs and policies that were developed and implemented to reflect the current needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities. This is when she realised her passion in Aboriginal mental health and suicide prevention.Read more
Barb has a Bachelor of Applied Science (Indigenous Community Health) and has spent the past ten years in mental health in a clinical role and leadership in acute mental health. Barb was the Service Coordinator of the Specialist Aboriginal Mental Health Service and Graylands Hospital North Metro Adult Mental Health for the past 6 years.
Currently Barb is a member of the Suicide Prevention Australia Hub Expert Advisory Group and the National Suicide Prevention Trial Evaluation Steering Committee which are both national focus.
Steffanie Von Helle
In her role with the Black Dog Institute, Steffanie Von Helle supports the implementation of National Suicide Prevention Trials across the country. She comes to this role with lived experience of suicide and mental illness after a long career as a senior executive with the NSW Government.
Steffanie is particularly interested in the impact of public policy on different population groups. She has applied her strategic planning and communication skills to some of the most challenging and complex working environments. This includes anti-corruption, child protection, human rights and police reform with the United Nations in Bangladesh, and working on policy issues for women, refugees and asylum seekers, LGBTQI and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Steffanie has Bachelor qualifications in Law and Psychology and a Masters of Public Sector Leadership. She also has specialist qualifications in Implementation Science, Governance, Adult Education and Training and has studied at the NSW Police Academy to be a police officer.