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QAIHC congratulates Indigenous leaders for appointments to Queensland hospital and health boards

Joseph Guenzler -

The Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC) has congratulated three Indigenous health leaders on their appointments as Chairs of Queensland hospital and health service boards.

Matthew Cooke, 37, Chair of QAIHC, now leads the Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service Board.

Mr Cooke, a Bailai man, is the CEO of Nhulundu Health Service in Gladstone and the Executive Chairperson of the First Nations Bailai, Gurang, Gooreng Gooreng, Taribelang Bunda People Aboriginal Corporation.

Additionally, he is a former chair of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) and brings over 18 years of executive leadership experience to his positions.

The Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service manages several facilities in its region, including Biloela Hospital, Capricorn Coast Hospital, Emerald Hospital, Gladstone Hospital, and Rockhampton Hospital.

QAIHC Acting chief executive Paula Arnol said the boards of Central Queensland HHS, Torres and Cape HHS and Gold Coast HHS were fortunate to have secured accomplished leaders.

"Mr Cooke, Ms Williams and Professor Shannon are exceptional leaders who are dedicated to improving the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Queensland," she said.

"This is another step forward for health equity in Queensland."

Renee Williams. (Image: Supplied)

Renee Williams, CEO of Torres Health Indigenous Corporation and a QAIHC member, has been named Chair of the Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service Board.

With paternal ties to the Bindal and Juru peoples and maternal connections to Wakka Wakka, Mer, and Erub Islands, Renee formerly held the role of General Manager – Policy and Research at QAIHC.

Her experience includes positions as the consulting CEO of Boorndawan Aboriginal Health Service in Victoria and roles at VACCHO, NACCHO, and Apunipima Cape York Health Council.

The Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service oversees the direct management of several facilities within its geographic area.

These include Weipa Integrated Health Service, Thursday Island Hospital, Bamaga Hospital, and Cooktown Multipurpose Health Service.

Ngugi woman, Professor Cindy Shannon, an esteemed advisor in Indigenous health, has been appointed as the Chair of the Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service Board.

She played a pivotal role in establishing the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health (IUIH), a QAIHC Regional Member. Currently serving as the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Indigenous, Diversity, and Inclusion) at Griffith University.

Professor Shannon also holds the position of Emeritus Professor at the University of Queensland.

The Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service is tasked with the direct management of facilities within its geographic boundaries, including the Gold Coast University Hospital and Robina Hospital.

"With their background in Indigenous health, they will provide a strong voice for their people and will be influential in shaping health policy focused on closing the health gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait

Islander peoples and other Queenslanders," Ms Arnol said.

"We are looking forward to working with them on delivering health solutions that are comprehensive, culturally safe and accessible to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of all ages, needs and abilities across Queensland."

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