Experts

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Professor Gracelyn Smallwood

  • Professor Smallwood is a Birrigubba, Kalkadoon and South-Sea Islander woman from Townsville. Her experiences of racism and disadvantage spurred her to a life of nursing, community health work and academia spanning 45 years. In 1972, she became a registered nurse and has been a volunteer member of Townsville Aboriginal and Islander Health service, is a registered midwife and has worked with the late Dr Fred Hollows. Professor Smallwood was awarded the Queensland Aboriginal of the Year in 1986 and Order of Australia in 1992.
  • She was the first Indigenous Australian to receive a Masters of Science in Public Health (JCU). Professor Smallwood has been employed as an advisor to the WHO on HIV-AIDS and by the QLD Government. In 1994 she became the first woman, Indigenous person and non-paediatrician to receive the Henry Kemp Memorial Award at the International Society for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect. Professor Smallwood has also completed a Diploma in Indigenous Mental Health.
  • In 1997, Professor Smallwood was invited to South Africa by Nelson Mandela and worked with activists, giving HIV-AIDS prevention workshops and later devising the famous Condoman to promote safe sex in a culturally appropriate way.
  • In 2007, Professor Smallwood won the Deadly Award for Outstanding Lifetime Achievement in Indigenous Health.
  • From 2007-2011 she has been Special Advisor to the Vice Chancellor at JCU and in 2011, Professor Smallwood completed her PhD Thesis in Human Rights and First Australians’ Wellbeing, which has been published and is titled ‘Indigenist Critical Realism’. Professor Smallwood was awarded the UN of Australia QLD Community Award in 2013 in recognition of her service to public health.
  • In 2014, she received the prestigious award of NAIDOC Person of the Year. She is a member of the Queensland Mental Health and Drug Advisory Council and received the JCU Outstanding Alumni Award in 2014.
  • In 2015, Professor Smallwood was appointed Member, The Harvard FXB Health and Human Rights Consortium. Professor Smallwood was also awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives (CATSINaM).


Professor Yin Paradies

  • Professor Paradies is Chair of Race Relations, Australian Research Council Future Fellow and Deputy Director (research) at the Alfred Deakin Research Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation, Deakin University.
  • He conducts interdisciplinary research on the health, social and economic effects of racism as well as antiracism theory, policy and practice. With a focus on Australia and Brazil, his work is conducted across diverse settings, including workplaces, schools, universities, housing, the arts, museums and healthcare.
  • He has authored 143 publications, including 103 peer-reviewed articles and chapters and has delivered 219 presentations (63 international; 131 invited presentations), including 11 invited keynotes. He is an investigator on 13 current and 31 completed grants (10 as CIA) worth over $16.5 million as well as an invited reviewer for peer-reviewed journals.
  • As of May 2016, Prof. Paradies had 3,181 citations across all publications, with a Google h index of 28.
  • He has received a range of awards including the Australia Day Council’s 2002 Young Achiever of the Year for the Northern Territory, a 2003 4 Fulbright scholarship to study at the University of California, Berkeley and 2007 national NAIDOC Scholar of the Year.


Dr Chris Sarra

  • Dr Chris Sarra is the founder and Chairman of the Stronger Smarter Institute. Chris grew up in Bundaberg, Queensland as the youngest of ten children.
  • As an Aboriginal student he experienced many of the issues faced by Indigenous students in schools. On becoming a teacher in 1988 he dedicated his career to sticking up for his people.
  • In the late 1990s, Chris became Principal of Cherbourg State School. The school became nationally acclaimed for its pursuit of the Stronger Smarter philosophy, which significantly improved educational and life outcomes of its students. His work has been recognised with many prestigious awards including Queenslander of the Year in 2004 and Queensland’s nomination for Australian of the Year in 2011.
  • He has a Diploma of Teaching, a Bachelor and Masters in Education and a PhD in Psychology (Murdoch University). His thesis Strong and Smart - Towards a Pedagogy for Emancipation Education for First Peoples was published in 2011 and memoir Good Morning Mr Sarra was published in 2012. By sharing his journey, Chris encourages other leaders to accept the Stronger Smarter challenge.
  • Dr Sarra is an internationally recognised Indigenous education specialist and his advocacy of the Stronger Smarter approach has inspired dramatic transformation in schools across Australia. Dr Sarra is passionate about effecting sustainable change through positive leadership and mentoring with high expectations for a strong and smart Indigenous population.
  • He embraces a proud cultural identity and a holistic sense of what it means to be Aboriginal in contemporary Australian society.


Dr Julia Butt

  • Julia Butt is a non-Indigenous clinical psychologist, who was born and grew up in Perth, WA with her family. Her parents are both from England and she has family all over the world including in Mexico and Canada.
  • Julia spent five years working in Aboriginal and Islander Community Health Service (AICHS) in Brisbane as a psychologist with the Indigenous Youth Health team. During this time Julia developed a passion for working alongside the resilience and humour of young Aboriginal people, and learning from her colleagues about providing services which are community driven, dynamic and innovative. Julia has also worked with the Centre for Drug and Alcohol Studies at Queensland Health to develop training for workers about volatile substance misuse as well as spending time working in child and youth mental health.
  • After returning to WA in 2007 Julia worked for a family therapy service in the Dept of Corrections. She now also works on a project with the National Drug Research Institute at Curtin University and Indigenous community controlled primary health care services looking at how to address cannabis use in primary health care.


Rosemary Wanganeen

  • Rosemary is a proud Kaurna woman of the Adelaide Plains, Koogatha and Wirrangu both of the west coast of South Australia, similarly she is proud of her English heritage. Rosemary is the founding CEO of the Sacred Site Within Healing Centre (1993), the prelude to the Australian Institute for Loss and Grief in 2005. She chose to specialise in loss and grief following three significant life experiences.
  • The first of these was in 1986 when she became the national research officer in the Sydney office of the Committee to Defend Black Rights (CDBR), which campaigned vigorously for four years to call for the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.
  • The second was in 1987 when Rosemary was in a women’s shelter, whereby she became aware of her own personal losses and unresolved grief from the sudden death of her mother in 1964. This resulted in Rosemary becoming a part of the Stolen Generation, enduring all forms of abuses.
  • The third experience was when Rosemary’s work with CDBR resulted in her being asked into the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody from 1988-1991. Rosemary integrated these significant life experiences, her non-academic theories, methodologies and practices and ‘Indigenous disadvantage’.
  • Within 22 years she has become self-employed, a holistic entrepreneur, a clinical loss and grief counsellor, educator and assessor, presenter and author of her unique and innovative model called the ‘Seven Phases to Integrating Loss and Grief ’©. The philosophy of the Seven Phases is to grieve, heal and become inspired to create a unique ‘Aboriginal prosperity’.
  • Some of Rosemary’s proudest moments were receiving accolades such as: the Aboriginal Health Council (SA) NAIDOC Health Awards 2016; The Gladys Elphick Centenary Medal; Business Woman of the Year Nomination; South Australian of the Year Winner – Community; Australian Ethnic Award Nomination; and State Finalist and Zonta Club of Adelaide – Women of Achievement Award (SA).


Dr Blake Hamilton

  • Dr. Blake Hamilton is a clinical psychologist and researcher who works in Sydney at headspace Camperdown and The Fatigue Centre.
  • In 2005 he was awarded a NSW Institute of Psychiatry research fellowship and in 2008 he completed a doctor of clinical psychology and Master of Science degree at the University of Sydney. His thesis was titled ‘Assessment of at-risk mental states for psychosis in young Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people using the CAARMS.’
  • He has completed psychiatric research work for health services and universities in Sydney and London and was a visiting fellow at the University of Zurich Institute for Toxicology and Pharmacology, in chronobiology, in 2012.
  • His research interests are the assessment and treatment of mental health problems in Aboriginal people, young people’s mental health and fatigue syndromes.


Dr Graham Gee

  • Graham Gee is an Aboriginal man, also with Celtic heritage, who was born and raised in Darwin, Northern Territory. His grandfather was born near Belyuen, a small community outside of Darwin, and his great-grandmother was originally from the Barkly Tablelands.
  • He has been a registered psychologist since 2008 and has worked at the Family Counselling Services unit of the Victorian Aboriginal Health Services (VAHS) in Melbourne for over 8 years.
  • Graham successfully completed a combined Masters and PhD degree in Clinical Psychology at Melbourne University. His research on resilience and recovery from trauma among Aboriginal help seeking clients was conducted at VAHS.
  • Graham has been a past steering committee member of the Australian Indigenous Psychologists Association, and was a founding board member of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation.


Dr Tracy Westerman

  • Dr Tracy Westerman is the Managing Director of IPS and is of the Nyamal people near Port Hedland, WA. She founded IPS to address the inequity between the high rates of mental ill health amongst Aboriginal people and low rates of access to services.
  • Dr Westerman has a Post Graduate Diploma in Psychology, a Masters Degree and a Doctor of Philosophy (Clinical Psychology).
  • She is a recognised leader in Aboriginal mental health having won numerous awards including the NAIDOC National Scholar of the Year (2002); the Vice Chancellors Award for her PhD research; the National Health & Medical Research Council Post Doctoral Fellowship to investigate ADHD in Aboriginal people (2004; the only Aboriginal person to be awarded such a fellowship) and the Suicide Prevention Australia Award for Emerging Researcher (2006).
  • She has been recognised in the “Who’s Who of the Worlds Women” from 2007 and won the WA Business News Award recognizing her as one of the foremost business leaders under 40 in WA.
  • Dr Westerman is widely sought after as a keynote speaker in Australia averaging six addresses per year, having presented over fifty invited national keynotes to date. She been an international keynote speaker in Canada (2003); the USA (2004), Auckland, New Zealand (2006 & 2007) and Wellington (2009).
  • In 2005 the Canadian government sent a delegation to Australia to explore Dr Westerman’s innovative approaches and recommended the same approach be adopted for Canadian Aboriginal people.
  • Her PhD provided a much needed evidence base regarding the cultural manifestations of mental illness, the development of psychometric tests which represent world ‘firsts’ (Canadian Health, 2009).
  • Dr Westerman has now trained over 20,000 individuals making her one of the most in demand trainers and public speakers in the field.


Dr Marisa Fogarty

  • Dr Marisa Fogarty is currently at the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR) at the Australian National University.
  • She holds a PhD in Anthropology from Charles Darwin University, a Masters of Applied Anthropology and Participatory Development (ANU) and Bachelor of Arts (Psychology and Anthropology).
  • Marisa specialises in qualitative research methods, with a particular research focus on the impacts of gambling in Indigenous communities in Australia. She has also focused significant research attention on models of social service delivery and program development, particularly in remote Indigenous communities.