South Australia Director and CATSINaM President
Shane is a Ngarrindjeri man. He is the current CEO of the Aboriginal Health Council of SA Inc. (AHCSA) and has been with AHCSA since November 2010. Shane has worked in Aboriginal health for over 25 years as a Registered Nurse (including in remote Kimberly, hospital and forensic health areas), as a Senior Executive in Government, University and Non-Government Organisation’s in South Australia and interstate. Shane enjoys working in the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health sector and is strongly committed to improving the health and well-being status of Aboriginal people and employment, in particular the advancement for Aboriginal Health Workers. Shane holds a Ministerial appointment to the Ethics Health Advisory Council in SA Health and sits on the newly established Torrens University of Adelaide (Laureate International Universities) Community Engagement Advisory Council.
Victoria Director and Deputy Chair
Ben was born in Melbourne and has lived there his whole life. His family originate from Kurnai/Gunai people of East Gippsland. Ben is a Registered Nurse with experience in education, critical care, mental health, pre-hospital and primary health care. He currently works full time as a Clinical Nurse Specialist with the Victorian Government and casually with Monash Health. Even though he is not working in the area, Ben continues to have a passion for education, and does whatever he can to increase the amount of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses that are graduating and entering the workforce.
Australian Capital Territory Director
Jennie is an Ngunnawal woman who was born in rural NSW and has developed a career from Nursing to Health Administration.
After leaving school she started working in the Health system on her seventeenth birthday and having completed Psychiatric and General Nursing qualifications under the hospital training systems she wanted to further her career.
Jennie completed a degree in Adult Education and a Masters in Management whilst working in rural NSW and developed a breadth of knowledge working in General Nursing, Rehabilitation and Palliative Care, Mental Health, Disability Services, Corrective Services and a period in Occupational Health nursing at NSW Police Academy. She worked for several years as the Director of Nursing and Aged Care Manager at a combined Nursing Home and Retirement Village whilst completing her Master’s Degree.
Jennie’s current is Director, Workforce Policy and Planning ACT Health. She has represented the jurisdiction since 2012 on multiple national committees and subcommittees including COAG Health Council’s Health Workforce Principal Committee (HWPC) and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workforce Working Group (ATSIHWWG).
New South Wales Director
Marni is a proud Tulgigin and Wonnarua woman who grew up on Bundjalung country in Far Northern NSW. A mother of five jarjums, Marni changed career paths from Law to Midwifery in 2013. Working clinically as the Aboriginal Liaison midwife at The Tweed Hospital and has been an active member of CATSINaM since 2013. Marni also sits on multiple committees and advisory groups including the Australian College of Midwives Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee and The Commonwealth Breastfeeding expert referencing group. Marni is extremely passionate about the provision of culturally safe, holistic midwifery care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and improvement of maternal infant health disparities.
Venessa is Ait Keodal, Sumu Torres Strait Islander who also has family lines to Keith South Australia. Venessa is currently the Director of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Management Unit at Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service. She has over 21 years of extensive experience in metropolitan, rural and remote areas throughout Australia. Working in national and Queensland state-wide industry development; management; service delivery; sustainable community development; and clinical practice. She specialises in adapting Western management systems and sector development to incorporate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Knowledges and practices. Her work experience includes 9 years of strategic industry development at the national level and prior to this an additional 7 years’ experience in Queensland state-wide development. She started initially as a practitioner, going on to management, training, mentoring, consultancy, research, lobbying, governance and development. Some highlights from her career include: lobbying for 12 years for the National Remote and Indigenous Services resource allocation for aged care service which is currently in place today; development and implementation of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Dementia Strategy; and advocating for Indigenous languages recognition and revitalisation which has recently had an increase resource allocation and commitment from government. She’s currently a board member with the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples, Committee Member on the Queensland Premier’s Social Cohesion Committee, and former national board member on the Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency.
She has a passion for national and local sustainable holistic development in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Countries.
Western Australia Board Director
I was born in Derby in the Kimberley region of Western Australia and grew up on the Gibb River Road in Ngallagunda community. When I was 8 years old we moved into Derby for school and after that I went to boarding school at Stella Maris College. I finished year 12 in 1989 and then in 1990 I commenced a Bachelor of Science (Nursing) at Curtin University completing the course in December 1993.
As a graduate I move back to Derby and completed 18 months in Derby Hospital working in paediatrics, general medical and emergency department. During this time I worked in Fitzroy Crossing hospital and the aged care facility in Derby called Numbla Nunga.
In 1996 I travelled overseas and lived in London for 6 months and then I returned to Perth and began working at Royal Perth Hospital a tertiary service were I worked for the next 2.5 years in aged care, acute medical and the intensive care unit. In 1998 I travelled to Dublin and lived there for a year with a friend and her family, working in a local aged care unit.
In 1998 I returned to Perth and commenced work in Princess Margaret Hospital were I worked in oncology, hematology and Intensive Care for the next 9.5 years. I loved working wit children and their families, which is a very specialised area and often extremely challenging.
In 2008 I decided to take a position as a nurse educator at Marr Mooditj Training and mentored and taught a number of Aboriginal students in enrolled nursing and Aboriginal Health Worker Programs. I loved this work and really enjoyed learning more about Noongar people and getting to know the local Aboriginal community.
In 2013 I took on a new position as a Senior Policy Officer in the Western Australian Department of Health. In 2015 I managed to gain a promotion into a Senior Development Officer role and I am currently studying part-time doing a Masters in Nursing Research at the University of Notre Dame Australia. In the next 5 years I plan to return to nursing and enroll in the Masters in Midwifery Practice to gain the skills as a midwife. Then when I return home to the Kimberley in 2021 I can practice as a registered nurse and midwife.
Karel is an Aboriginal midwife with connections to the Tasmanian and Western Arrernte/Waramungu Nations. Karel’s first job was at the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre in Hobart. She later moved to Canberra where she worked in senior levels in the Australian Public Service for many years und also undertook an executive exchange program in Ottawa, Canada.
Karel has taught, and been a guest lecturer in a number of courses related to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues, including health, at the University of Canberra. Karel completed her Bachelor of Midwifery in 2014 and at her graduation ceremony, received the Ngunnawal Centre Prize for Indigenous Students and was the inaugural recipient of the University of Canberra’s Tom Calma Medal. Karel commenced her graduate year in the Birth Centre at Canberra Hospital.