Featured News JCU honours Outstanding Alumni

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Mon, 6 Dec 2021

JCU honours Outstanding Alumni

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JCU Chancellor Bill Tweddell, Mark Jackson, Professor Roianne West, Dr Alexander Robson, Jack Growden, Professor Andrew Mallett, Peter Hodgson and JCU Vice-Chancellor Sandra Harding at this morning’s JCU Outstanding Alumni Awards.

James Cook University graduates who have excelled in their chosen careers have been honoured at this morning’s Outstanding Alumni Awards.

12 alumni from six JCU Colleges comprising a wide range of fields, including medicine, public health, charity, finance, government and aquaculture, have been represented at the Awards, highlighting the diverse educational opportunities JCU has to offer.

The Outstanding Alumni Awards recognise alumni of JCU, and its predecessor institutions, who have made an outstanding contribution in their field of endeavour at a local, state, national or international level, and celebrate their successes and achievements.

In addition to the College winners, the Chancellor’s Outstanding Alumnus Award has been presented to the Chief Executive of Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives (CATSINaM), Professor Roianne West.

Growing up on her grandmother’s ancestral lands in North West Queensland, Prof West is a proud Kalkadunga and Djaku-nde woman, continuing a family legacy of four generations of Aboriginal nurses and a long line of healers that includes her mother, a twin sister and a brother who are Registered Nurses, and twin daughters who are studying Nursing and Midwifery.

Prof West completed a Bachelor of Nursing and Masters of Mental Health Nursing. She attended JCU to do her PhD which developed a model of excellence for increasing the number Indigenous nurses in Australia and has also worked in a variety of teaching and research roles with the University since 2000.

Whilst Prof West’s career in health started at a grassroots level, with strong Eldership and mentorship from her family and community, she became Australia’s first tertiary hospital Nursing Director with a dedicated portfolio of Indigenous Health before going on to become Australia’s first Professor of Indigenous Health in a joint appointment between a state health service and a university.

Prof West exhibited institutional strategic leadership as Griffith University’s Foundation Professor of First Peoples Health in the School of Nursing and Midwifery then the Health Group, before spearheading the establishment of the First Peoples Health Unit and going on to become the inaugural Dean of First Peoples Health.

Last year, she was acknowledged for her outstanding research leadership as the 2020 Lowitja Institute Cranlana Award recipient and is the only Aboriginal Nurse in the country who is a recipient of both the CATSINaM Sally Goold Award and Fellowship.

JCU Chancellor Bill Tweddell said the high calibre of this year’s recipients made it extremely difficult to choose a winner of the Chancellor’s award.

“This is not a best-of the-best award and we are immensely proud of the wonderful work our graduates go on to do in their respective fields. They should all be congratulated for continuing to inspire others along their journey,” he said.

“The Chancellor’s Award goes to someone of my choosing, whose particular achievements resonate strongly with me and whose contribution I wish to acknowledge.

“Roianne is not only a trailblazer for Indigenous nurses but her compassion, dedication and commitment to improving the health outcomes of Indigenous people across Australia is incredibly important.

“We are extremely proud to have played a role in furthering Roianne’s research, education and academic career. Her achievements speak to core values embraced by JCU and the example she has set for future Indigenous nurses is truly admirable.”

Full list of winners

Chancellor's Outstanding Alumnus Award

Professor Roianne West, CEO, Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives, and Foundation Chair and Professor of First Peoples Health, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Griffith University.

Outstanding Early Career Alumni Award winners

College of Business, Law and Governance 

Mr Peter Hodgson, Partner, Walshs Practice.

College of Science and Engineering 

Mr Jack Growden, Founder and CEO, LiteHaus International.

College of Medicine and Dentistry

Dr Tahnee Bridson, Doctor, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Psychiatry Registrar at Orygen, Founder of Hand-n-Hand Peer Support and Co-Chair, AMA Wellbeing SIG.

College of Healthcare Sciences

Mr Ryan Wynch, Global Head of Occupational Health, Novartis.

College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences

Dr Robert Gillies, Fellow-in-training - Royal Australian New Zealand College of Psychiatrists - Psychiatry Department, Alfred Health.

College of Arts, Society and Education

Ms Matija Squire, Employee Culture & Wellbeing Consultant, Startup Mentor, Educator, Australia Philippines Business Council Director and creator of The Paradigm Effect.

Outstanding Alumni Award winners

College of Business, Law and Governance 

Mr Mark Jackson, Commissioner of State Revenue and Registrar of the State Penalties Enforcement Registry, Queensland Treasury.

College of Science and Engineering 

Mr James Brown, Managing Director, Cygnet Bay Pearls Pty Ltd.

College of Medicine and Dentistry

Professor Andrew Mallett, Director of Clinical Research and Consultant Nephrologist, Townsville Research Education, Support and Administration Unit, Townsville University Hospital.

College of Healthcare Sciences

Professor Roianne West, CEO, Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives, and Foundation Chair and Professor of First Peoples Health, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Griffith University.

College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences

Professor Brett Sutton, Chief Health Officer, Department of Health and Human Services, Victorian Government.

College of Arts, Society and Education

Dr Alexander Robson, former Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Australia to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Click here for more information on each Outstanding Alumni recipient.

Contacts

Media enquiries: michael.serenc@jcu.edu.au