The Lowitja Institute Board of Directors oversees the implementation of national research programs focused on improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. The Board has a majority Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander membership and comprises highly skilled and experienced health sector professionals.
Board members: Ms Pat Anderson (Chairperson) | Professor Peter Buckskin | Mr Selwyn Button | Mr Brendon Douglas | Mr Ali Drummond | Dr Tamara Mackean | Ms June Oscar | Professor Fiona Stanley | Past Directors
Ms Pat Anderson AO, Chairperson
Ms Pat Anderson is an Alyawarre woman known nationally and internationally as a powerful advocate 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, has 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. She has published many essays, papers and articles, including co-authoring with Rex Wild QC of Little Children Are Sacred, a report on the abuse of Aboriginal children in the Northern Territory.
In 2007, Ms Anderson was awarded the Public Health Association of Australia’s Sidney Sax Public Health Medal in recognition of her achievements; she was awarded the Human Rights Community Individual Award (Tony Fitzgerald Memorial Award) in 2012 and the Human Rights Medal in 2016 by the Australian Human Rights Commission. In 2013 she received an honorary doctorate from Flinders University in 2013 and in 2017 Edith Cowan University conferred on Ms Anderson a Doctor of Medical Science honoris causa. In 2015 Ms Anderson won the public policy category Australian Financial Review and Westpac 100 Women of Influence Awards. She currently serves as co-chair of the Prime Minister’s Referendum Council.
Ms Anderson was appointed Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 2014 for distinguished service to the Indigenous community as a social justice advocate, particularly through promoting improved health, and educational and protection outcomes for children.
Professor Peter Buckskin PSM, FACE, Director
Professor Peter Buckskin is a Narungga man from the Yorke Peninsula in South Australia. He is currently the Dean: Aboriginal Engagement and Strategic Projects at the University of South Australia. Prior to taking up this position, he was Dean: Indigenous Scholarship, Engagement and Research. In 2012, Professor Buckskin was appointed the Convenor of the State's Advisory Committee on the recognition of Aboriginal people in the South Australian Constitution Act 1934. As an educator and professional bureaucrat for more than 30 years, Professor Buckskin’s passion has been the pursuit of educational excellence for Aboriginal students. He has worked as a schoolteacher, a Ministerial Adviser, Superintendent of Schools and as a senior executive at both state and federal levels. He has been Chair of the South Australian Aboriginal Education Consultative Committee and a member of the National Aboriginal Education Committee. Professor Buckskin also served a term as a Commissioner on the Australian Commission to UNESCO and is a White Ribbon Ambassador and Council Member of the ARC’s Advisory Council.
For more than a decade Professor Buckskin worked as an officer in the Commonwealth's Senior Executive Service, and in 2001 received the Commonwealth Public Service Medal (PSM). In 2003, Professor Buckskin was awarded the Frank G. Klassen Award for Leadership and Contribution to Teacher Education from the International Council on Education for Teaching (ICET). In 2005, he received the Deadly Award for his outstanding contribution to Aboriginal Education and in 2007 was elected a Fellow of the Australian College of Educators. Professor Buckskin is currently Chair of the SA Aboriginal Education and Training Consultative Council as well as Chair of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Higher Education Consortium, and an Executive Member of the World Indigenous Network of Higher Education Consortium.
Mr Selwyn Button, Director
Mr Selwyn Button is a Gungarri man from South West Queensland who was raised in Cherbourg. With extensive experience working towards the achievement of an empowered and sustainable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Health sector in Queensland, he is currently Assistant Director-General (Indigenous Education), Department of Education, Training and Employment, Queensland (previously the CEO of the Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council [QAIHC]) and the Chairperson of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service Brisbane Limited. Mr Button has also served on numerous councils and committees including the Queensland Indigenous Education Consultative Committee, the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Senior Health Officials Network and the Senior Officials National Network for Indigenous Education.
Mr Button has also held roles as the Director, Indigenous Health Policy Branch within Queensland Health, the General Manager of Sector Development at QAIHC, served as a Police Officer with the Queensland Police Service for six years and has worked in a variety of government policy development roles within the Department of Education and Training including a role as Principle Advisor within the Indigenous Education Branch. He is currently completing a Master of Business Administration at the University of Queensland, holds a Bachelor of Teaching degree and has been published regularly in Croakey, the Crikey health blog with a focus on the health of Australia’s First Peoples. In 2013, he was a contributing author to Prevention and Management of Chronic Disease in Aboriginal and Islander Community Controlled Health Services in Queensland: A quality improvement study assessing change in selected clinical performance indicators over time in a cohort of services published in BMJ Open.
Mr Brendon Douglas, Director
Mr Brendon Douglas has more than 15 years' experience in consulting and executive and project management for academic, commercial and community institutions. His expertise includes executive leadership, capacity building, partnership brokering and innovation. He has had hands-on experience in the fields of governance; community, rural and youth development; women’s empowerment; and health systems strengthening. Mr Douglas has designed, delivered and evaluated programs serving diverse groups in Australia, Central and South America, the Pacific Islands, and South East Asia. He presently works as the Director of Research and Innovation at Charles Darwin University and is an Executive Council member of the International Development Contractors group, providing strategic advice to the Australian aid program. Mr Douglas is a lawyer, Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management and has postgraduate management qualifications.
Mr Ali Drummond, Director
Mr Ali Drummond was born and raised on Thursday Island in north Queensland, and is a descendant of the Dauareb people of the Murray Islands and the Wuthathi and Yadaigana people of North-Eastern Cape York Peninsula. In 2005, he was one of the three inaugural nursing graduates from James Cook University, Thursday Island Campus.
Mr Drummond's nursing experience began in 2006 in the Orthopaedic Unit at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane. Since then, he has worked in most of Brisbane's hospitals in numerous specialty medical and surgical wards and emergency departments. His pathway into nursing policy began in mid-2010 when he began work with the Nursing and Midwifery Office Queensland (NMOQ) as a Nurse Project Officer. As well as project management roles, Mr Drummond has also been the Indigenous Nurse Advisor to a number of Queensland’s Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officers, and is currently an Assistant Director of Nursing in NMOQ.
When graduating in 2005, Mr Drummond became the inaugural recipient of the 'Sally Goold Award' (for the most outstanding Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander nursing student), and in September 2012 received the 'Early Career Outstanding Alumni Award', both from James Cook University (JCU). He is an Adjunct Senior Lecturer with JCU, and also a regular guest lecturer with the School of Nursing at Queensland University of Technology. He is currently completing a Master in International Public Health.
Dr Tamara Mackean, Director
Dr Tamara Mackean MBBS, MPH, FAFPHM is a Senior Research Fellow at the Southgate Institute for Health, Society and Equity at the Flinders University of South Australia.
Dr Tamara Mackean is a Waljen woman of the Goldfields region of Western Australia (WA). Her research activities span public health, mental health, health systems and pedagogical disciplines.
She is a Fellow of the Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine (FAFPHM), within the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP). She is also the Chairperson for the RACP’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Committee, a current Board member of the Lowitja Institute and a Past President (2007–2009) Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association.
Ms June Oscar AO, Director
Ms June Oscar is Chief Executive Officer of Marninwarntikura Women’s Resource Centre and a proud Bunuba woman from the remote town of Fitzroy Crossing. She is a Bunuba language speaker and is considered one of the most outstanding Aboriginal leaders in the Fitzroy Valley and across Australia. She is a strong advocate and activist for Indigenous Australian languages, social justice, women’s issues, and Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). Her courage and determination to address the most complex and sensitive issues affecting the lives of Aboriginal Australians is inspirational. She does this with little regard for the immense personal toll that such actions necessitate. Her focus on Aboriginal children, and her determination that we do not sacrifice the health of our children for the so-called ‘right’ to buy full strength take-away alcohol, makes her a role model for all Australia. In 2011, in an article appearing in The Age and Sydney Morning Herald (Weekend Magazines), Ms Oscar was named as one of the 50 most influential women in the world for her work in improving the lives of those living in remote Aboriginal communities.
Ms Oscar has held the position of Deputy Director of the Kimberley Land Council and is the first woman to chair the Marra Worra Worra Resource Agency (Fitzroy Crossing). She is a Director on the Boards of Bunuba Films Pty Ltd and Bunuba Pty Ltd. She is the former chair of the Kimberley Language Resource Centre and the Kimberley Interpreting Service. In 1990, Ms Oscar was appointed by the Federal Government to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission. She has a Bachelor's degree in business from the University of Notre Dame, Broome, Western Australia, and is currently writing her PhD. She is a co-founder of the Yiramalay Wesley Studio School and is a Community member of the Fitzroy Valley Futures Governing Committee.
In 2012, Ms Oscar was appointed Ambassador for Children and Young People by the Western Australian Commissioner for Children and Young People. She is a Chief Investigator on the Lililwan Project to address FASD. In 2013, Ms Oscar was awarded an Order of Australia and was the winner of the Westpac and Financial Review 100 Women of Influence Social Enterprise and Not for Profit Category. In 2014, she was awarded the Menzies School of Health Research Medallion for her work with FASD and in 2015 she was was appointed an Ambassador for the National Organisation for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. In 2016, the Global Reconciliation Foundation awarded Ms Oscar the Desmond Tutu Reconciliation Fellowship.
Professor Fiona Stanley AC, Director
Professor Fiona Stanley AC FAA FASSA is the Founding Director and Patron of the Telethon Kids Institute (formerly Telethon Institute for Child Health Research), Distinguished Research Professor at the University of Western Australia and Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of Melbourne where she was Director of the 2013 Festival of Ideas.
Trained in maternal and child health, epidemiology and public health, Professor Stanley has spent her career researching the causes of major childhood illnesses such as birth defects. Her research includes the gathering and analysis of population data for epidemiological and public health research; the causes and prevention of birth defects and major neurological disorders, particularly the cerebral palsies; patterns of maternal and child health in Aboriginal and Caucasian populations; various ways of determining the developmental origins of health and disease; collaborations to link research, policy and practice; and strategies to enhance health and wellbeing in populations. She pioneered the development, linkage and analysis of population level data and record linkage in Western Australia as a research and evaluation capacity.
Her major contribution has been to establish the Telethon Kids Institute, a unique multidisciplinary independent research institute focussing on the causes and prevention of major problems affecting children and youth and to establish the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth. She has over 300 publications, books and book chapters. For her research on behalf of Australia's children and Aboriginal social justice, she was named Australian of the Year in 2003 and in 2006 she was made a UNICEF Australia Ambassador for Early Childhood Development.