2013 Indigenous Allied Health Awards

2013 IAHA Awards

The purpose of the Indigenous Allied Health Awards is to recognise the contribution of IAHA members to improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The Indigenous Allied Health Awards showcase the outstanding achievements in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander allied health and provides identifiable allied health role models to inspire all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to consider and pursue a career in allied health.

The Indigenous Allied Health Awards were held on 26 November 2013 at the Hilton Adelaide during the second national conference Healthy Footprints – Leading Generational Change.

Click here to view a photo gallery from the Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony.

The winners for each category are as follows:

1.  Future Leader in Indigenous Allied Health Award – proudly sponsored by the Healing Foundation

This award celebrates the achievement of an IAHA Full Student Member who is currently enrolled in 2nd, 3rd or 4th year of an undergraduate allied health degree who has demonstrated significant contribution to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and/or health and is an inspirational role model for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Awards1Winner: Matthew West – Matthew is proud Wiradjuri man who is very active in his local community and is described by the Chairperson of his local Aboriginal Medical Service as “a young leader and role model for Aboriginal children and young people on the Central Coast of NSW, displaying many of the skills one would expect to see in a Future Leader; his years of study speak of his determination, devotion and ability to execute his plans in an effort to achieve any goal.” She goes on to say he is “a man of empathy, determined to do well not for himself but for the benefit of his community”. In 2012 Matthew was chosen to participate in the Wallatuka Indigenous Students Leadership Program, travelling to both Canada and the USA to experience other Indigenous cultures and build upon his existing leadership qualities. He is currently in his final year of a Bachelor of Podiatry at Newcastle University and is the first podiatry student to successfully apply for a NSW Aboriginal Allied Health Cadetship.

2.  Indigenous Allied Health Student Achievement Award – proudly sponsored by The Australian Council of Pro Vice-Chancellors and Deans of Health Sciences

This award celebrates the achievement of a current IAHA Full Student Member in their final year of an undergraduate or postgraduate allied health course who has shown consistent academic progress throughout their allied health course and demonstrated contribution to university life, their community and/or Indigenous health.


Awards2Winner: Trevor Ritchie
– Trevor is a Kaurna man and is currently involved in the revival of the Kaurna language. He is in his final year of his Occupational Therapy degree at the University of South Australia and academically has always performed at an above average level according to his Program Director. He works as a mentor to Aboriginal students of primary and preschool ages, which has sparked a passion to work in Paediatrics with Aboriginal children following his graduation. Trevor has served on steering committees and has been a strong advocate for Aboriginal issues, occupational therapy and culturally appropriate practice within the University of South Australia. He is described as a leader among Indigenous students on campus and actively involved in activities within the Indigenous Student Support Unit for the University’s Division of Health Science. He was also a semi-finalist in the 2012 South Australian Aboriginal Young Achiever Award.

3.  Indigenous Allied Health Professional of the Year Award – proudly sponsored by Dietitians Association of Australia

This award celebrates the achievement of an IAHA Graduate Full Member who has completed an undergraduate allied health degree and has made significant contribution to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and/or health and is an inspirational role model for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.


Awards3Winner: Tara Lewis
– Tara Lewis is a Jiman woman from the Taroom country of Western Queensland. She grew up in Brisbane and graduated with a Bachelor of Speech Pathology in 2002. She is described as “a strong, deadly Murri woman who is committed to providing and advocating for culturally responsive speech pathology services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.” Tara is a longstanding member of IAHA and was previously an IAHA Board member. Over the past two years she has developed a culturally appropriate speech pathology assessment tool for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and in 2013 has presented at both the National Allied Health Conference and IAHA conference. She has a passion for working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and has been working in that area for 11 years. She currently works with the ‘Institute for Urban Indigenous Health’ in Brisbane where she is the clinical lead in speech pathology, provides clinical Speech Pathology Services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and provides supervision to students on practicum placements. Tara is a guest lecturer at the University of Queensland and James Cook University and also runs a private practice called ‘All About Speech’, providing accessible and affordable services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

4.  Commitment to Indigenous Health Award - proudly sponsored by SARRAH (co-presented by Rod Wellington, CEO SARRAH)

This award celebrates the achievement of an IAHA Associate Members (individual or organisation) who actively contributes to improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through allied health and is an inspirational role model in Indigenous health.

Awards4Winner: Grace Ward –  Grace Ward is a Kamilaroi woman who is passionate about alleviating the health disadvantage in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. As an Aboriginal Health Worker, she has been working with community in the diabetes space for over two years.

Grace has been described as an outstanding professional, colleague and a community leader in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health in Queensland. Besides the many diabetes programs, educational seminars and community engagement activities that she has led and continues to lead, she is also recognised as a mentor to other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers.  In additional to this she provides advice and support to non-Indigenous health professionals across her organisation, ensuring programs and services delivered meet the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

She is in her final semester of a Graduate Certificate in Diabetes Education and Management, which is self-funded and undertaken while managing full-time work and family commitments. Throughout her course Grace has been able to utilise the knowledge and skills gain through completion of her course to enhance current diabetes programs and services delivered to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

She currently works as an Aboriginal Liaison Officer at Diabetes Queensland where her colleagues state she is “involved, dedicated and caring, her outstanding qualities making her a worthy and a deserving candidate for this award.”

5.  IAHA Life Time Achievement Award

This award celebrates the achievements of an IAHA Full Member who has demonstrated long standing commitment to improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.


Awards5Winner: Professor Pat Dudgeon
 - Pat Dudgeon has a long history of involvement in working to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing and was an inaugural board member of Indigenous Allied Health Australia back in 2009.

She is from the Bardi people of the Kimberley in Western Australia and is a professor at the School of Indigenous Studies, University of Western Australia. She is a psychologist and is well known for her significant involvement in psychology and Indigenous issues, and for her leadership in Indigenous higher education. Pat is passionate about working in ways that empower and develop Indigenous people. In 2008, she was the first Aboriginal psychologist to be awarded the grade of Fellow in the Australian Psychological Society. She was the first convener of the Australian Psychological Society Interest Group: Aboriginal Issues, Aboriginal People and Psychology, and has been instrumental in convening many conferences and discussion groups at national levels to ensure Indigenous issues are part of the agenda in the discipline. She has many publications in this area and is considered one of the ‘founding’ people in psychology for Indigenous people. Her committees include Commissioner, National Mental Health Commission,

  • Chair, Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Mental Health Advisory Group to DoHA,
  • National Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Advisory Group,
  • the National Indigenous Health Equality Council,
  • the Research Advisory Committee for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation,
  • Co-Chair of the Australian Psychological Society, Reconciliation Action Plan, and the Steering Committee and
  • Founding Member of Australian Indigenous Psychologist Association (AIPA).