Improving health in WA

WA Health Senior Aboriginal Leadership Group – member profiles


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Wendy Casey

A/Director, Aboriginal Health, Department of Health
SALG Chair

Wendy is a Karajarri and Yawuru woman from the west Kimberley. As the A/Director of Aboriginal Health, Wendy is responsible for leading high level strategic policy and planning reforms across WA Health to improve the health outcomes of Aboriginal people. Wendy has worked in the drug and alcohol field for the past 24 years and previously held the position of Manager, Aboriginal Alcohol and other Drug Program for the WA Drug and Alcohol Office. Wendy has also worked within community controlled and government sectors, in metropolitan and remote regions, in a variety of roles including clinical services management, policy, workforce and resource development, community development and research. Wendy is a member of the Senior Health Executive Forum (SHEF), and the AACC Health and Mental Health Sub Committee. Wendy is also an Executive member of the National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Committee.

Phone: 9222 2478
Email: Wendy.Casey@health.wa.gov.au


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Sandy Davies

A/Area Director, Aboriginal Health Improvement Unit, WACHS

Sandy is a proud Nhanda man of the Yamatji region WA. He has extensive experience in Aboriginal health working in both the public and community sectors.  In his current role as A/Director Aboriginal Health Improvement Unit, Sandy is responsible for the leadership of the state-wide implementation of the WA Footprints to Better Health Strategy, Aboriginal Early Childhood Development and the Aboriginal Primary Health and Chronic Disease Program’s. Sandy is the lead for the Country Health Connection Team which provides support for Aboriginal patients travelling to the metropolitan region. Sandy also provides strategic high level leadership to WACHS on key Aboriginal health priorities such as workforce development and quality and safety in care to ensure that Aboriginal people in the WACHS region have equitable access to culturally secure health care services. Sandy is a member of the Northern Remote Governing Council, the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) Board and the Chair of the Geraldton Regional Aboriginal Medical Service which he has been involved in for over 30 years. He was Chair of the West Australian Aboriginal Legal Service for three years and Chair of the ATSIC Yamatji Regional Council for 10 years. Sandy is passionate about social justice and making sure people get a fair go.

Phone: 6145 4120
Email: Sandy.Davies@health.wa.gov.au


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Diann Peate

Manager, Aboriginal Child Health Team

Diann is a Whadjuk woman of the Noongar nation.  Diann recently held the role as the A/Director Inland Zone, Child & Adolescent Community Health, providing professional leadership to a multi-disciplinary team including Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal health workers and professionals. In her current position, Diann manages the delivery of the Enhanced Aboriginal Child Health Schedule to Aboriginal families and carers of children aged 0-5 years old, across the metropolitan area. Diann is a member of Child and Adolescent Community Health Executive and provides Aboriginal cultural and health consultancy expertise to members of the Executive. Prior to her 12 years of working with the Department of Health, Diann was employed with the Department of Child Protection.

Phone: 9277 1300
Email:  Diann.Peate@health.wa.gov.au


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Leah Bonson

Director, Aboriginal Health, Child and Adolescent Health Service

Leah was born in Darwin and is of Torres Strait Islander origin on her mother’s side and Jawyon people of the Katherine River region on her father’s side. Leah moved to Perth 23 years ago and has been employed in the WA public service for 22 years. She is currently the Director of Aboriginal Health at Child and Adolescent Health Service. Her role involves providing strategic leadership in Aboriginal health and employment, leading the CAHS Aboriginal Cultural Learning Plan 2013-2015.  Leah has 15 years’ experience in senior public service roles including Aboriginal Advisor to the Commissioner for Children and Young People; Associate Director Regional Services, Aboriginal Workforce Development, Department of Training and Workforce Development; and Director, Department for Child Protection. Leah has also been involved in a number of cultural advisory, family advocacy and senior management roles. Leah holds a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Western Australia and a Masters of Business Administration in Public Administration from Curtin University.

Phone: 9340 7067
Email: Leah.Bonson@health.wa.gov.au


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Cheryl Hayward

Director, Aboriginal Health, North Metropolitan Aboriginal Health Service

Phone:9380 7755
Email: Cheryl.Hayward@health.wa.gov.au


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Iris Prouse

Manager, Aboriginal Environmental Health, WACHS Kimberley

Iris was born in Broome and is a Bardi woman on her father’s side and of Torres Strait Islander origin on her mother’s side. Iris has worked in the public health sector for almost three decades during which time she contributed to the establishment of the Aboriginal Environmental Health program and the National Population Health Training Package for WA. Iris was a founding member for the National Indigenous Environmental Health Forum; a founding member of the Marnim Bowa Dumbra Women’s Safe House, and Chair of the Jayida Buru Violence Prevention Forum, Derby which addressed Sue Gordon’s recommendations. As a testimonial to her determination to improve Aboriginal environmental health, Iris was awarded ‘Outstanding Achievement Award for Leadership in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Environmental Health’ (2011). In her current position, Iris is responsible for establishing and maintaining cross-sector strategic partnerships to support the delivery of effective and culturally appropriate environmental health services and programs for the Kimberley region. Iris is also a serving member for Local Government, a position she has held for the past 15 years.

Phone: 9193 3270
Email: Iris.Prouse@health.wa.gov.au


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Valerie Swift-Otero

Manager Aboriginal Health, South Metropolitan Public Health Unit

Val is a proud Noongar woman who was born in Gnowangerup, situated in the Great Southern region of Western Australia. Val spent most of her life in Jerramungup, before moving to Albany in the early 1980’s. Val has extensive public sector experience working with agencies including Education, Child Protection and Health where she led and participated in programs designed to support Aboriginal families and individuals. In her current role as Manager Aboriginal Health, Val’s provides strategic leadership in Aboriginal health and employment, leading a large team that supports the delivery of culturally appropriate and responsive health services to Aboriginal people living in the south metropolitan area.  Val holds an Associate Degree in Aboriginal Community Management and Development from Curtin University.

Phone: 9431 0200
Email: valerie.swift-otero@health.wa.gov.au


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Denese Griffin

Manager Aboriginal Maternity Services Support Unit, Women and Newborns Health Service

Denese is a Nygikina and Djaru woman from the Kimberly region of Western Australia. Denese is currently employed as Manager, Women and Newborn Health Service, Aboriginal Maternity Services Support Unit.  Denese’s role includes providing statewide leadership on Aboriginal health and cultural issues that impact on primary health care, health promotion, education and workforce issues within the Aboriginal maternity sector in Western Australia. Denese also supports the Aboriginal Maternity Services Support Unit (AMSSU) team to determine and maintain the operational direction of the AMSSU. Denese leads all aspects of the planning, development and implementation of evidence-based Aboriginal health programs in line with recommendations made by the Aboriginal Women’s Reference Group to whom the position is accountable. Other positions held include Manager, Aboriginal Health, North Metropolitan Health Services and Coordinator, Aboriginal Health Program, North Metropolitan Health Services.

Phone: 9340 1593
Email: Denese.Griffin@health.wa.gov.au


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Lester Coyne

Manager, Aboriginal Health, WACHS Great Southern

Lester is a Menang man of the Noongar nation. Lester is currently employed as the Regional Aboriginal Health Consultant to WACHS Great Southern. Lester’s role involves providing professional leadership in Aboriginal employment and cultural awareness. Lester is also the Aboriginal representative on the Executive team at the Albany Hospital and has many years’ experience in senior management positions. Former positions include: Regional Manager, Commonwealth Employment Service, Albany; Manager, Training Aboriginal People, Aboriginal Employment Unit, State Coordinator Group Training Australia; WA Recruitment Manager, Aboriginal Medical Service; Director, Marr Mooditj Foundation; Manager, Carnarvon Community Development Employment Program; National Chairperson and Manager of the Federation Aboriginal Torres Strait Island Languages (FATSIL) Sydney; and Policy Planning Officer, St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne.

Phone: 9892 8125
Email: Lester.Coyne@health.wa.gov.au


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Alex McIntosh

A/Regional Aboriginal Health Coordinator, WACHS Mid-West

Alex is a Budimia, Yamatji man from the Mt Magnet, Paynes Find region of Western Australia. He grew up with the language name of “Myaroo” which in Budimia means “Nephew”. Alex is currently employed as the A/Regional Aboriginal Health Coordinator, WA Country Health Service Midwest.  Alex’s role involves the coordination planning, implementation and evaluation of culturally appropriate strategies, policies and programs to meet the health needs of Aboriginal people in the Midwest. Alex has also held positions as A/Regional Manager and Youth Services Officer with Compari Midwest CDST, and Housing Manager and Support Worker for Victoria Park Youth Accommodation. Alex has a Cert IV in Aboriginal Leadership from the Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre, Canberra.

Phone: 9956 2434
Email: Alexander.McIntosh@health.wa.gov.au


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Michael Mitchell

Program Manager, Statewide Specialist Aboriginal Mental Health Program
North Metropolitan Health Service

Michael is a Yamatji man (Nyamal/Mulgana) from the Shark Bay/Gascoyne/Pilbara region of Western Australia. Michael has been working in Mental Health for the past 14 years. He has extensive experience working across rural and remote areas as well as metropolitan. Michael has previously worked in the community controlled sector as a Director, Carnarvon Aboriginal Medical Service, and the Manager, Community Development Employment Program. Michael has completed a Bachelor of Applied Science specialising in Mental Health at Curtin University and also has completed an apprenticeship as an electrician. Michael is currently the Program Manager of the Specialist Aboriginal Mental Health Service Metropolitan (SAMHSM).

Phone: 9235 2400
Email: Michael.Mitchell@health.wa.gov.au


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Garry Taylor

Aboriginal Health Coordinator, WACHS Wheatbelt

Garry was born in Kellerberrin and is a Balladong man of the Noongar nation. Garry is employed as the Aboriginal Health Coordinator with WA Country Health Service Wheatbelt and is currently acting in the role as Aboriginal Health Coordinator, Wheatbelt Mental Health Service. Garry’s role involves coordinating the development, implementation and evaluation of programs that improve health service delivery for Aboriginal people in the Wheatbelt region. In this capacity, Garry provides ongoing community consultation on health needs, needs assessment, improved cultural awareness inductions, and on-country presentations. Prior to this role, Garry spent six years employed with the Department of Education as Aboriginal Liaison Officer for the Bunbury District Education Office and Aboriginal Coordinator and Manager (acting) with the Narrogin District Office.

Phone: 9621 0999
Email: Garry.Taylor@health.wa.gov.au


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Sharon Clews

Senior Program Officer, Statewide Specialist Aboriginal Mental Health Program
WACHS

Sharon is a Wongi woman originally from Coolgardie in the Goldfields regions of WA. Sharon is currently employed as the Senior Program Officer for the State-wide Specialist Aboriginal Mental Health Program. The SSAMHS program has established multi-disciplinary specialist teams located in mainstream mental health services across Country WA, which provide culturally and clinically safe care to Aboriginal mental health consumers. Sharon’s role supports the specialist teams in their role working with the Aboriginal community. Sharon is very passionate about making a difference for Aboriginal people and over the past decade, has worked in the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Sector in Victoria and Western Australia in a variety of roles in the primary health care sector, moving to Department of Health to work in public health. In the past twelve months she has moved into the mental health sector. Sharon holds a Bachelor of Health Science (Health Promotion) and Masters of Public Health (Policy).

Phone: 6145 4132
Email: Sharon.Clews@health.wa.gov.au


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Katie Papertalk

Aboriginal Mental Health Coordinator, WACHS Pilbara

Katie is a Yamatji woman from the Mullewa Wadarji decent who has lived in the Pilbara for 36 years. Katie has worked in the mental health area for the past 15 years and with the health system for 26 years. Katie is currently employed as the Aboriginal Metal Health Coordinator with the Pilbara Mental Health and Drug Service. Her role involves working closely with the regional health management team, Aboriginal health service providers and the community to develop and implement culturally appropriate state-wide mental health services. Katie works to ensure that cultural respect is achieved through the health system in a safe environment for Aboriginal people and where cultural differences are respected and valued.  Katie has a wealth of experience working with cultural diversity groups within the Pilbara Region and also ensures that this is integrated into existing mental health services. Katie completed her Bachelor of Health Science (Mental Health) in 2011 and was one of the first WA students to graduate from Charles Sturt University (CSU), NSW.  During her undergraduate studies at CSU, Katie won the Dean’s Award and in 2013 won the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander First Aide Mental Health Instructor Award.

Phone: 9174 1626
Email: Katie.Papertalk@health.wa.gov.au


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Joseph Drayton

Aboriginal Community Development Officer, WACHS Goldfields

Joseph was born in Moora and is a Yued man of the Noongar nation whose country is situated in the central Wheatbelt district of Western Australia. Joseph is currently employed as the Aboriginal Community Development Officer with WACHS-Goldfields. His role involves providing support to Aboriginal employees and delivering cultural awareness training to staff. In this capacity, Joseph has developed an Aboriginal Cultural Awareness Training Program which was delivered to staff at the Kalgoorlie Regional Hospital with plans for further implementation across the Goldfields region. Joseph’s health experience extends to the community-controlled sector where he was employed as the Indigenous Environmental Health Practitioner with Bega Garnbirringu Aboriginal Health Services. During this time, Joseph obtained a Certificate IV in Indigenous Environmental Health.

Phone: 9080 8200
Email: Joseph.Drayton@health.wa.gov.au


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David Pigram

Aboriginal Health Promotion Officer, South Metropolitan

David is a Yawuru man from Broome, Western Australia. He has worked in health promotion for more than10 years. David’s current role involves working closely with organisations and health professionals to deliver culturally appropriate healthy lifestyle initiatives for Aboriginal youth aged 15-24 years in the south metropolitan area.  Previous to this role, David worked as the Men’s Health Coordinator leading the development of culturally supportive programs for Aboriginal men in the Kimberley region. In recognition of his work as founder of Alive and Kicking Goals, a youth suicide prevention program in Broome, David was awarded the 2014 Australian Medical Association (WA) Healthway Healthier WA Award. David is also a professional musician using Indigenous music to deliver health messages. Furthermore, David is a qualified electrician, holds a Certificate III in Youth Work and Certificate IV in Training and Assessment.

Phone: 9431 0215
Email: David.Pigram@health.wa.gov.au


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Tessa Grimshaw

Aboriginal Mental Health Coordinator, WACHS South West

Tessa is a Bardi woman from the Kimberly region, and has lived in the south west of WA for over 37 years. Tessa previously worked with WA Health as an Aboriginal Community Health Worker based in Collie.  She then spent over 14 years in Child Protection, most of which was in the Senior Officer Aboriginal Services. Tessa returned to WA Health three years ago and is currently employed as the Aboriginal Mental Health Coordinator for the south west region. Tessa works to develop culturally appropriate services within the health sector supporting agencies in mental health and education. Tessa holds a Bachelor of Health Science (Mental Health) Charles Sturt University; Bachelor of Social Work, Edith Cowan University; Bachelor of Applied Science, Aboriginal Community Management and Development from Curtin University; and a Graduate Certificate in Child Protection, University of Western Australia.

Phone: 9722 1456
Email: tessa.grimshaw@health.wa.gov.au


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