The Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives (CATSINaM) has announced the appointment of Professor Roianne West as its new Chief Executive Officer.
A renowned leader in health, academia and research, Professor West brings a wealth of experience to the position and ensures the organisation is primed to realise its vision of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses and midwives playing a pivotal role in achieving health equity across Australia’s health system for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.
“The Board and I are excited about the future of our organisation and the work we will do together,” CATSINaM President Marni Tuala said of the appointment.
“We truly believe we have secured the country’s best to lead CATSINaM.”
Professor West, who will commence her new role on 5 October, is a Kalkadunga and Djaku-nde woman hailing from her grandmother’s ancestral lands near Mount Isa, giving her a deep appreciation of the challenges facing CATSINaM members across rural, remote and regional settings.
Her drive to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health echoes a long family tradition and includes careers in nursing spanning four generations.
Her twin sister and brother are also registered nurses, and her twin daughters are studying nursing and midwifery.
Professor West has completed a Bachelor of Nursing, a Masters of Mental Health Nursing and a PhD which developed a model of excellence for increasing the number of Indigenous nurses.
She began her journey as an Aboriginal health worker in an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service and her decades of broad experience includes leadership positions in hospitals, policy, VET, and academia.
Australia’s first Nursing Director in a tertiary hospital with a dedicated portfolio of Indigenous Health, Professor West was also the country’s first Professor of Indigenous Health, Foundation Chair in First Peoples Health, Director of the First Peoples Health Unit and the inaugural Dean of First Peoples Health at Griffith University.
An active researcher, Professor West leads the Yuwan Gulgan study if Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Cultural Safety Education and Training at Griffith University, which aims to improve safety and quality in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Cultural Safety health professional education and training through an Indigenous research lens.
The only Aboriginal nurse in the country who has been a recipient of both the CATSINaM Sally Goold Award and Fellowship, Professor West was warmly welcomed by the CATSINaM’s Elders Council.
“Roianne will bring to our organisation her wealth of experience as a well renowned leader in health, academia and research,” Aunty Dr Doseena Fergie OAM, CATSINaM Inaugural Elders Council Member said.
“We face exciting times ahead in the midst of our challenges as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. We are confident that Roianne’s unique style and the networks she has fostered will open new doors of opportunity for our organisation to walk through.”