IAHA 2015 National Awards

IAHA 2015 Indigenous Allied Health Awards


Click on a photo below to scroll through the 2015 National Indigenous Allied Health Awards & Dinner Photo Gallery

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The 2015 IAHA National Indigenous Allied Health Awards were held on Tuesday 1 December 2015 at the Pullman Cairns International, Cairns during the IAHA 2015 National Conference, where the 6 inspirational winners were announced at a gala dinner. The purpose of the IAHA National Indigenous Allied Health Awards is to recognise the contribution of IAHA members to their profession and/or improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The IAHA National 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.

Click here to read the 2015 IAHA National Indigenous Allied Health Award Nomination Guidelines.

And the winners for 2015 were…

Kerry Arabena
 2015 Winner – Professor Kerry Arabena

Professor Kerry Arabena – IAHA Life Time Achievement Award

Nominated and chosen by the IAHA Board of Directors, this award celebrates an IAHA Full Member for their long standing commitment to their profession and in improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

About The Winner

Professor Kerry Arabena is a descendant from the Torres Strait’s Meriam people. A Social Worker with a Doctorate in Human Ecology, she has an extensive background in public health, administration, community development and research working in senior roles in Indigenous health and policy, sexual health and in higher education. She spent eight years in central Australia, including several years working at the remote Kintore Aboriginal settlement where she became Administrator at age 21, then in Alice Springs as the TriState Project coordinator developing strategies to reduce the high burden of STIs and preventing HIV.  She then moved to Cairns to develop a northern Australian sexual health strategy and was a key implementer of the Well Person’s Health Check in north Queensland after which time she became the CEO of Apunimipa the Cape York health Council.  She also worked on health strategies across Australia and became an international consultant with communities across the Asia Pacific region, and has maintained her own consulting business ever since. Professor Arabena’s years of work have brought her to the forefront of Indigenous affairs in Australia. She was the inaugural Chair of the national Indigenous peak body, the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples, a collective voice to lobby governments on Indigenous issues. She was also the inaugural CEO of the Lowitja Institute, which commissions health research for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Her PhD won the prestigious JG Crawford Prize for academic excellence and she has since published a book based on her Doctorate. In January 2013, Professor Arabena was appointed Chair for Indigenous Health and Professor and Director, Indigenous Health Equity Unit, University of Melbourne, and was previously Professor and Director of Indigenous Health Research in the School for Indigenous Health, Monash University. She is on the Board of Indigenous Community Volunteers, Kinnaway Aboriginal Chamber of Commerce and Indigenous Women in Business and is developing a research and policy platform focusing on the First 1000 Days – from conception to age 2.  Her work continues to make contributions across many states and territories, in areas such as gender, social justice, human rights, addressing family violence, promoting access and equity, service provision, harm minimisation and capacity building. She has also represented Australia in international forums on HIV/AIDS and climate change.

I was delighted to receive this award with all the other category winners – it is a wonderful feeling to be recognised for your contribution to our communities and our country by your peers. The future of Allied Health for and by our mob looks particularly bright. It was an honour and a privilege to be part of the celebrations, and to be among friends and family who joined in the celebrations at another truly remarkable conference. Thanks IAHA – I am a very proud member and encourage all people who are eligible to join this forward thinking organisation!

Professor Kerry Arabena, IAHA 2015 Life Time Achievement Award Winner

2015 Winner – Ms Kimberley Hunter

Ms Kimberley Hunter – Future Leader in Indigenous Allied Health Award

HESTA An Industry SUperfundProudly Sponsored by: HESTA | Prize: $1,000
This award is open to all current IAHA Full Members (Student) enrolled in an entry level allied health degree who demonstrate leadership capabilities, a commitment to their studies and leadership journey and are an inspirational role model for other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

About The Winner

Nominated by her University, Kimberly Hunter is a Nyiki na woman from the Lower Fitzroy River, in the remote West Kimberley region of Western Australia however she was born and raised in Adelaide. She is described by her program director as a woman who “is determined to assert her identity and to take a leadership position on cultural and other issues with her student group.” Currently in her final year of a Bachelor of Applied Science Occupational Therapy, our winner is an active participant in her university’s Indigenous student services events and is also a student representative member of the Division of Health Sciences Indigenous Strategy Group that responds to the University’s Reconciliation Action Plan and crossing the horizon strategy. Kimberley has completed placements at the Wiltja Residence PCP community development project with Indigenous youth and the leadership and sensitivity Kimberley showed throughout the project was reflected in her outstanding performance, recognized by both her agency and university supervisors. Throughout her degree Kimberley has volunteered as a mentor for the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME), even being named ‘Mentor of the Month’. She is described as having “unique and culturally diverse views and ideas and promoted discussion and a commitment to equity.” And that “she is a confident and proud Aboriginal woman and has had an incredibly positive impact on the student group.” She continues to demonstrate her leadership capabilities by recently applying to travel to Central Australia to promote health careers to high school students in rural and remote schools through the Health Network Northern Territory’s Rural Health School Visits Program.

I am incredibly honoured to have received the “Future Leader in Indigenous Allied Health” award last week at the IAHA 2015 national conference in Cairns. What was even more honouring was being in the presence of such inspiring, intelligent and motivating individuals who are, and will be, some of our peoples greatest leaders and game changers. The face of health for Indigenous peoples is going to see some big changes in the years to come and there is nothing more I want than to be a part of that. These changes cannot be made alone, and we need our non-Indigenous brothers and sisters to walk this journey with us. Never underestimate your ability to act and advocate for change.

Ms Kimberley Hunter, IAHA 2015 Future Leader in Indigenous Allied Health Award Winner

Sarah Logan
2015 Winner – Ms Sarah Logan

Ms Sarah Logan – Indigenous Allied Health Student Academic Achievement Award

SARRAH 20th anniversaryProudly Sponsored by: Services for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health | Prize: $1,000
This award is open to all current IAHA Full Members (Student) currently completing their two final years of an entry level allied health course. They must have demonstrated consistently high academic progress throughout their allied health course; contribution to university life and/or community and/or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health; and evidence of being an inspirational role model for other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

About The Winner

Sarah Logan is a Walpri woman from the western desert of the Northern Territory. A high achieving final year student within the Bachelor of Pharmacy program (with a current GPA of 6.15 out of 7), our winner has been awarded a Vice Chancellors Top 5% of Health Science award for her academic achievements.  Upon graduation our winner will be the first identified Aboriginal person to graduate from UniSA with this degree. Our winner is described as an outstanding leader within the Indigenous Students services unit – volunteering at NAIDOC week, reconciliation events, football united programs and peer support events for the unit. She also mentors and supports another Aboriginal pharmacy student since this person began their degree. Sarah has already secured a pharmacy internship after graduating and has articulated a strong desire to positively influence the health outcomes of Indigenous Australians through provision of culturally appropriate and equitable medication access to Aboriginal communities.

Ms Samara Dargan
2015 Winner – Ms Samara Dargan

Ms Samara Dargan – Indigenous Allied Health Professional of the Year Award

Proudly Sponsored by: HESTA | Prize: $1,000
This award is open to current IAHA Full Members (Graduate) who have graduated from an entry level allied health degree; demonstrated commitment, dedication and contribution to improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals, families /or communities within their profession; and an inspirational role model for other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

About The Winner

Samara Dargan is an accredited Exercise Physiologist and Manager of the Work it Out program, an inter-professional rehabilitation and self-management program developed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living with, or at risk of a chronic disease. In her role, she manages the day to day operations of the program as well as managing an inter-professional team comprising a range of allied health staff and allied health assistants.   Our winner has led the roll-out of this program from one location in 2011 to 13 locations in 2015 resulting in over 800 clients accessing the program. She also provides input and direction to the research evaluation of this program and ensures the research is conducted and disseminated in a culturally appropriate way. Samara is dedicated to her staff and her clients, often going above and beyond what would normally be expected of an allied health professional. This includes attending weekend community events to connect with the community and supporting staff though professional and personal challenges. Under her le adership the Work it Out program has won several local and national awards, including the esteemed National Lead Clinicians Group Award for Excellence in Innovative Implementation of Clinical Practice. Samara is described as “always humble in her approach to these awards, highlighting the team effort rather than her individual contribution.” She is passionate about improving the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and leads by example in her dedication to delivering a high quality, evidence-based, culturally appropriate service. She is described as “a living example of reconciliation in action, leading her team in a culturally responsive approach to the Work it Out program.”

Ms Jordana Stanford
2015 Winner – Ms Jordana Stanford

Ms Jordana Stanford – Allied Health Inspiration Award

Palliative Care AustraliaProudly Sponsored by: Palliative Care Australia | Prize: $1,000
This award is open to current IAHA Full Members (Graduate or Student) who have demonstrated ability to inspire others through their positive approach to their personal and professional allied health journeys – overcoming challenges and taking a strengths based approach to success; Demonstrated commitment to improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; and an inspirational role model for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

About The Winner

Jordana Stanford is a proud Kamilaroi woman who grew up in the Sydney area. She attended the University of Sydney where she undertook a Bachelor of Applied Science (Speech Pathology) which she completed in 2012. Whilst studying Jordana was awarded a cadetship with the Department of Family and Community Services- Ageing, Disability and Home Care. Amongst completion of her Bachelor’s degree Jordana commenced work as a Speech Pathologist for the Liverpool Hospital in 2013. After a couple years in early 2015 Jordana moved to Brisbane to further prosper her love and devotion to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community by taking up employment as a Paediatric Speech Pathologist with the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health. Jordana has shown great commitment to her profession by giving back by marking Speech Pathology student’s assessments for Charles Sturt University and undertaking Speech Pathology students for practical placements. Her love and passion for the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is prominent amongst her co-workers. Alongside her treatment and management of children with communication disorders, including difficulties with speech, language, social communication, swallowing, fluency and voice. She practices gracefully with such great results to her patients through culturally appropriate practices. Through her efforts she continually educates her non-Indigenous co-workers on Indigenous affairs and concepts of delivering effect health care towards their patients. Jordana is a great team player and contributes greatly to the large inter-disciplinary health team at the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health. Jordana shows strength and commitment to succeeded and deliver in the under-represented area of speech pathology. Further to excel her knowledge Jordana has commenced a Masters of Public Health at the University of Queensland where she hopes to one day contribute to public policy for the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Ms Lin Oke
2015 Winner – Ms Lin Oke

Ms Lin Oke – Commitment to Indigenous Health Award

Dietitians Assoc of AustraliaProudly Sponsored by: Dietitians Association of Australia | Prize: $1,000
This award is open to current IAHA Associate Members (Individual or Corporate) who have demonstrated commitment and contribution to improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through allied health; Demonstrated cultural responsiveness in the delivery of services/programs/initiatives to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; and an inspirational role model in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing.

About The Winner

Lin Oke has demonstrated a career-long commitment to improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. She is a graduate of the Victorian Occupational Therapy (OT) School and is currently the Executive Officer Allied Health Professions Australia and part time Executive Officer of Weenthunga Health Network. She initiated the Koori Occupational Therapy scheme to assist First Australians in the career path of OT in Victoria and seeded the idea of an allied health association for First Australians in the early 2000’s. Through sheer determination and hard work, she was instrumental in securing funding to start Indigenous Allied Health Australia, launched in 2010. From this she went on to focus on First Australian health in her home state of Victoria through the creation of Weenthunga Health Network, a First Australian led organisation that encourages collaboration between First Australians and Australians working in health roles, to contribute to better health and wellbeing for First Australians and their communities. She has been the Executive Officer of Weenthunga since its inception and her commitment, respect and desire to work in the space of improving outcomes for Indigenous Victorians cannot be understated. To quote one of her colleagues she “never wants to be the one in spotlight, but rather facilitate First Australians in what and how they want to contribute to Closing the Gap. I was one of the young First Australian OT students that connected with Lin many years ago, and I have been truly inspired by her dedication and commitment to support other First Australian Allied Health clinicians from an individual to an organisational level. Her efforts are tireless and she does all of this whilst undertaking a high level Executive Officer Position in Allied Health Professions Australia – the national voice of allied health in A ustralia.”