IAHA Celebrate 2020 National Indigenous Allied Health Awardees

This week marked the first Indigenous Allied Health Australia National Online Conference, held virtually on 1-3 December 2020 with participants joining from all over Australia and internationally.

Each year, the IAHA National Conference brings together the largest Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander allied health workforce audience to network, create personal and cultural connections, and to hear from leaders across fields. While the 2020 National Conference was hosted online, delegates were able to experience these same benefits. We acknowledge our Conference sponsors, including major sponsor NSW Health, for their support in making this important event happen.

Highlights of the 2020 IAHA National Conference included a Welcome to Country from Ngambri Traditional Custodian Paul House and keynote presentations from eminent guests Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner June Oscar, Scott Gorringe Murri Matters, and CEO of the Healing Foundation, Fiona Peterson..

The conference concluded with a member’s day, consisting of a workshop with our International guests George Kingi & Dr Teah Carlson, of IAHA’s Ma?ori partner organisation Nga? Pou Mana, providing a powerful opportunity to share stories of history, experiences and spirit, and to discuss Indigenous models of care in the modern context, and a members forum.

IAHA also hosted the annual National Indigenous Allied Health Awards, celebrating the work of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander allied health workforce during what has been a challenging year. Once again, the Awards recognise current and future leaders who have each had significant impact on the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, families, and communities. IAHA recognise the following award recipients:

  • Allied Health Professional of the Year – Gari Watson, Dentistry
  • Allied Health Workforce Leadership – Centre for Rural and Remote Health, James Cook University
  • Commitment to Indigenous Health Award – Ken Allen, Aboriginal Health Practitioner
  • Contribution to Indigenous Research – Professor Sue Green, Social Work
  • Future Leader in Indigenous Allied Health – Shaun Solomon, Social Work
  • Indigenous Allied Health Inspiration Award – Kirrilaa Johnstone, Public Health
  • Indigenous Allied Health Student Academic Achievement Award – Renee Briggs, Public Health
  • Innovative Practice – Tahnee Elliot, Occupational Therapy
  • Local Allied Health Champion – Sam Paxton, Occupational Therapy


Professor Sue Green, said of the role of research and receiving the Contribution to Indigenous Research award:

I am so honoured by the recognition of my peers. Ensuring that research is co-designed and lead by community can be difficult due to the constraints by institutions and funding which operate within the Western model of research. However, it is important that we ensure that our communities demand what research is done, how it is done and then how it is used. I thank everyone for their support of me and my work.

Indigenous Allied Health Australia congratulate all award recipients.

IAHA would also like to thank the generous sponsors of these awards, the Australian Catholic University, the Australian Health Professional Regulation Agency, Dieticians Australia, HESTA Super, the Lowitja Institute, Medtronic, and the National Association of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Practitioners.


Charlie Giles
P: (02) 6285 1010
E: charlie@iaha.com.au

Download Media Release here: IAHA Release – IAHA Celebrate 2020 National Indigenous Allied Health Awardees

December 4, 2020

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Posted by: Renae Kilmister