Dr Abela Mahimbo brings expertise in refugee and migrant health to Women’s Health Special Interest Group Co-Convenor role

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The PHAA Women’s Health Special Interest Group (SIG) has been previously led by women’s public health experts including Professor Angela Dawson, Dr Geraldine Vaughan, and Pip Buckingham. They have passed the baton to new co-convenors Dr Abela Mahimbo and Dr Amie Steel for 2022.

In the second of our Q&A blog series on PHAA SIG convenors, we spoke to Dr Abela Mahimbo.

Name, title/position, and summary of Public Health career trajectory to date.

Dr Abela Mahimbo, Lecturer, School of Public Health, Faculty of Health, University of Technology Sydney.

I am an overseas-trained medical doctor who migrated to Australia in 2012 to undertake a dual Masters in Public Health and Health Management, a turning point in my career trajectory. I then completed my PhD in 2018 and have since had public health-related research and academic roles with a particular focus on refugee and migrant health.

Who has been the person that most influenced your career path, and how?

Prof Raina MacIntyre has been instrumental in the early days during my MPH training, and throughout my PhD, offering me incredible support and opportunities to ensure that I thrived in this field. Her strong work ethic and passion are but two of many of Prof MacIntyre’s attributes that I’ve always admired.

Greatest achievement to date

Being a recipient (Chief Investigator) of a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Ideas Grant in 2021. A shout out to Prof Angela Dawson and Assoc Prof Melissa Kang who have been fantastic mentors in my post-doc career trajectory.

Why did you volunteer to become an office bearer in this Branch/SIG?

I am passionate about health equity and improving the health outcomes for migrant and refugee women. I believe this role will be a great opportunity for me to influence policy and practice tailoring to the specific health needs and issues of migrant and refugee women across their life course.

What are your goals or priorities for your Branch/SIG during your term?

To ensure the voices and unique needs of refugee and migrant women are considered in health policies.

Favourite quote or life lesson?

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humour, and some style.” – Maya Angelou.


Read the Women’s Health SIG policy position statements here.

Recent submissions that the Women’s Health SIG has contributed to include:

Submission to the TGA on Proposed amendments to the Poisons Standard (oral contraceptives) – ACMS

Read our profile of Dr Mahimbo’s fellow Women’s Health SIG co-convenor, Dr Amie Steel.


Read more on Women’s Health topics on Intouch:

The $55 billion formula industry – violating international commitments

Uniquely precarious: Temporary visa holders experiencing domestic violence

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