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New knowledge on Closing the Gap a main event for Monash

1 December 2009

The Monash Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences has put new approaches to Indigenous health on the agenda through its growing support for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation.

At a Dean's Lecture held at Federation Square on Monday 9 November, the chair of the foundation's interim board, Greg Phillips, led a panel of expert speakers in discussing "healing" as a new paradigm for improving Indigenous health.

The speakers spanned the areas of education, policy, health, government and philanthropy, and included the following experts: Aboriginal Senior Traditional Owner Aunty Joy Wandin-Murphy AO; educator and author Aunty May O'Brien BEM; Mike DeGagne, CEO of Canada's Aboriginal Healing Foundation; Jan Owen AM, Executive Director of Social Ventures Australia; Greg Phillips; Jeff Harmer, Secretary of the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs; and Professor Steve Wesselingh, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences.

Cathy Freeman and representatives from Stolen Generations Victoria were among the 200 attendees at the event.

The foundation, which has been funded for $26.6 million, focuses on unravelling and treating the underlying trauma that permeates Indigenous communities, and which leads to problems in education, health and life opportunities.

Learning from a Canadian model, the foundation focuses on reinforcing strengths and building pride in Indigenous community and identity.

Greg Phillips is also Indigenous advisor to the Dean of the faculty, and is completing a PhD in the Department of Health Sciences at Monash.

Symposium speakers with Professor Ed Byrne
Symposium speakers with Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ed Byrne AO (far right)

Joy Wandin-Murphy and May O'Brien
Aunty Joy Wandin-Murphy AO and Aunty May O'Brien MBE
Gregory Phillips and Steve Wesselingh
Gregory Phillips and Steve Wesselingh
Mike De Gagne and Jeff Harmer
Mike De Gagne and Jeff Harmer
Jan Owen and audience
Jan Owen and audience