From L-R: Corina Darkie, A/Prof Sophie Dwyer, Dr Joanne Flavel, A/Prof Brahm Marjadi, A/Prof Christina Pollard.
Helen Tran and BF, PHAA Interns
PHAA were pleased to announce the winners of five annual awards during the Annual General Meeting in Adelaide. We have briefly profiled these public health leaders, who were nominated by their peers and colleagues for their significant career achievements.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Public Health Award: Corina Darkie
Corina Darkie is an Aboriginal Health Worker and a proud Jaru woman from Balgo, a remote community in the south east Kimberley region of Western Australia. She is described by colleagues at the Balgo Health Centre as a passionate, hard working “silent achiever” and an extremely valuable member of the team. Despite significant improvements in health outcomes since the establishment of an Aboriginal Medical Service, Balgo experiences high rates of preventative disease, including diabetes, kidney disease, STI, rheumatic heart disease and trachoma. Corina Darkie plays a vital role as a skilled health worker, a committed interpreter, liaison and patient advocate. In 2021, she was critical in getting her community vaccinated against COVID-19. When Balgo experienced its first outbreak in April 2022, she was one of the first people to contract the virus. However, she continued to work with the outbreak response team, conducting contact tracing interviews and convincing people to stay home and isolate, all while she herself was in isolation. She is proactive, passionate and has a strong belief in the delivery of equitable care.
Sidney Sax Medal: Associate Professor Sophie Dwyer
A passionate champion of public health, Sophie Dwyer has spent decades as a highly respected health professional and committed advocate. Her diverse and extensive career with Queensland Health spanned more than 30 years, where she was involved in the management of public health units, environmental health, health protection and health promotion programs. Ms Dwyer holds adjunct appointments with Griffith University as an Associate Professor and at the University of Queensland as an Adjunct Professor. She has held key roles across the national health sector and in 2008, was awarded a Public Service Medal for outstanding public service in the field of environmental health. At a personal level, she is considered a leader in her field, credited with political astuteness and a professional and ethical approach. She is prepared to lead transformational change using new technology, shows a willingness to think outside the box and push boundaries from both a policy and implementation perspective. Her expertise is sought after and she has held significant state, national and international board positions. Her tireless protection and promotion of public health in Australia include notable achievements in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander environmental health, food safety, drinking water policy, environmental hazards and disaster and emergency management.
Mentor of the Year: Associate Professor Brahm Marjadi
Associate Professor Brahm Marjadi is an experienced and committed public health advocate with a track record of excellence in health research, education, and mentorship. He has a medical degree and general practice training from Indonesia and has spent more than 20 years as an academic, teaching medical microbiology, infection control, research methods, evidence-based medicine, and social determinants of health. He is an Associate Professor in Community Engaged Learning at Western Sydney University and Associate Dean for Engagement at the School of Medicine. His research interests include diversity, intersectionality, equity and inclusion, cross cultural knowledge translation and community engaged learning.
Through his work in public health, A/Prof Marjadi has been a champion of equity and social justice. His career has included working with trans and gender diverse community experts to address sexual violence, raising awareness and advocating for gender diversity minimum educational requirements at Australian medical schools and leading the medical curriculum review for LGBTQIA+ contents at Western Sydney University.
He founded the PHAA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Special Interest Group (SIG), which is the PHAA’s fastest growing SIG. He is also an active mentor at Western Sydney University, with the PHAA Mentoring Scheme, and with Out Australia, an organisation that supports LGBTIQA+ professionals.
Emerging Leader: Dr Joanne Flavel
Dr Joanne Flavel is a Research Fellow at Stretton Health Equity in the Stretton Institute, Adelaide. She is described as remarkable by her colleagues, who commend her for her leadership and contribution to the field of social determinants of health. She was Chief Investigator (CIA) on two Flinders Foundation grants examining health inequalities in Australia and she is currently CIA on a grant aimed at improving our understanding of Australian gender and health inequalities. In 2021, she organised a webinar on health inequalities, where Mark Butler (now Federal Minister of Health) stated that “having this capacity to really listen to your research Joanne is really timely for me as we think about health policy in the middle of a pandemic”.
She holds many leadership roles in PHAA, including on the PHAA South Australia Branch executive committee as Membership Secretary and Events Coordinator. She is also the SA representative on the National Membership Strategy Team and Co-Convenor on the PHAA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Special Interest Group, where she led the drafting and revision of the Disability & Health policy position statement and background paper. Dr Flavel has demonstrated leadership in all that she does, and she is deserving of the Emerging Leader Award.
Life Member: Associate Professor Christina Pollard
Associate Professor Christina Pollard has been a member of PHAA since 1994 and she has contributed greatly to public health, particularly in advocacy and food and nutrition. Following her outstanding contribution as the Convenor of the Food & Nutrition Special Interest Group, she became Vice President (Policy) between 2016-20, and Vice-President (Development) between 2020-22. Her contributions as a Board member have been highly regarded by her colleagues. A/Prof Pollard is an active PHAA Western Australia (WA) Branch member and is a long standing member of the PHAA WA Advisory Group. In her WA Government roles, she was key to the development and implementation of the Go for 2&5 campaign, as well as the Find 30 physical activity campaign, and facilitated their successful evolution into the LiveLighter campaign. In 2020, A/Prof Pollard was appointed as Director of the Public Health Advocacy Institute, where she provides opportunities for others to learn advocacy skills. Her leadership and commitment to public health makes her a worthy recipient of life membership.
Pictured in featured image from L-R: Corina Darkie, A/Prof Sophie Dwyer, Dr Joanne Flavel, A/Prof Brahm Marjadi, A/Prof Christina Pollard.