Queensland’s first ever Chief Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Officer has been welcomed to her historic role with a traditional smoking ceremony this morning.
Starting today, Haylene Grogan will lead the newly created Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Division, which will drive efforts to improve health equity and outcomes for First Nation Queenslanders.
Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Jackie Trad today welcomed Ms Grogan to the role.
“This is an historic occasion because Queensland has never before had a Chief Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Officer,” Ms Trad said.
“This role will lead the development and delivery of Queensland Health’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander policies and programs – making real changes to close the health gap.
“I congratulate Haylene on her appointment. She is an accomplished leader and a passionate advocate with a wealth of experience in the health sector.”
Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles said the role would also be a champion for Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce.
“The new Chief Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Officer will hit the ground running, embarking on a state-wide tour to get a firm grasp of the issues facing First Nation Queenslanders,” Mr Miles said.
“I look forward to working with her and the new health division to improve health equity and outcomes for First Nation Queenslanders.”
The Queensland Government greeted Ms Grogan with a traditional Welcome to Country, a smoking ceremony and performance by the Mabuyag Dance Group.
A proud Kuku Yalanji and Tagalaka woman, Ms Grogan began her health career with the community-controlled Wuchopperen Health Service in Cairns in 1982.
She has since held senior positions in the federal and state governments, including in Queensland Health, in roles encompassing service delivery, policy development, program implementation and project management.
“To say I’m honoured to become Queensland’s first Chief Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Officer is an understatement,” Ms Grogan said.
“This is a wonderful opportunity and privilege for me to apply my skills and experience to make a positive impact on Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector with the Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and the broader health sector in Queensland.
“My first priority, in the initial months, will be to visit communities across the state to speak with local residents, health staff and other key stakeholders to understand the most urgent issues facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait people.
“Although I already have a strong knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health issues, I want to make sure I hear from the people who rely on our services and my colleagues on the frontline who deliver health care.”
Ms Grogan has held senior roles in representative bodies including the: National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Officials; National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Equality Council; Public Service Commissioner’s Indigenous Reference Group; and Queensland Health Training Advisory Council to the Minister.
She also comes with experience across the public sector in Aboriginal policy reforms relating to economic prosperity, procurement, planning, land, cultural heritage, and languages.