Ben was born in Melbourne and has lived there his whole life. His family originates from the Kurnai/Gunai people of East Gippsland. Ben is a Registered Nurse with experience in education, critical care, mental health, pre-hospital and primary health care. Ben is proud to be a director of CATSINaM, an organisation that has given so much to him and his fellow nurses and midwives.
New South Wales Director and Deputy President
Marni is a proud Bundjalung and Wonnarua woman who grew up in Far Northern NSW. A mother of five jarjums, Marni changed career paths from Law to Midwifery in 2013. Working clinically as the Aboriginal Liaison midwife at The Tweed Hospital and has been an active member of CATSINaM since 2013. Marni also sits on multiple committees and advisory groups including the Australian College of Midwives Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee and The Commonwealth Breastfeeding expert referencing group. Marni is extremely passionate about the provision of culturally safe, holistic midwifery care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and improvement of maternal infant health disparities.
Australian Capital Territory Director
Roxanne is a Palawa woman who was born and raised on Gubbi Gubbi land in southeast Queensland. She completed a double degree in Nursing and Health Science (Paramedics) from the Queensland University of Technology. Roxanne completed her graduate nursing year on Thursday Island in the Torres Strait. She then undertook further training in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital. She relocated to Canberra in 2017 to commence postgraduate study in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research. Roxanne is passionate about child and infant health, with a particular interest in the epidemiology and experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children admitted to PICUs in Australia.
Venessa is Ait Keodal, Sumu Torres Strait Islander who also has family lines to Keith South Australia. Venessa is currently the Director of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Management Unit at Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service. She has over 21 years of extensive experience in metropolitan, rural and remote areas throughout Australia. Working in national and Queensland state-wide industry development; management; service delivery; sustainable community development; and clinical practice. She specialises in adapting Western management systems and sector development to incorporate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Knowledges and practices. Her work experience includes 9 years of strategic industry development at the national level and prior to this an additional 7 years’ experience in Queensland state-wide development. She started initially as a practitioner, going on to management, training, mentoring, consultancy, research, lobbying, governance and development. Some highlights from her career include: lobbying for 12 years for the National Remote and Indigenous Services resource allocation for aged care service which is currently in place today; development and implementation of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Dementia Strategy; and advocating for Indigenous languages recognition and revitalisation which has recently had an increase resource allocation and commitment from government. She’s currently a board member with the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples, Committee Member on the Queensland Premier’s Social Cohesion Committee, and former national board member on the Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency.
She has a passion for national and local sustainable holistic development in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Countries.
Western Australia Board Director
I was born in Derby in the Kimberley region of Western Australia and grew up on the Gibb River Road in Ngallagunda community. When I was 8 years old we moved into Derby for school and after that I went to boarding school at Stella Maris College. I finished year 12 in 1989 and then in 1990 I commenced a Bachelor of Science (Nursing) at Curtin University completing the course in December 1993.
As a graduate I move back to Derby and completed 18 months in Derby Hospital working in paediatrics, general medical and emergency department. During this time I worked in Fitzroy Crossing hospital and the aged care facility in Derby called Numbla Nunga.
In 1996 I travelled overseas and lived in London for 6 months and then I returned to Perth and began working at Royal Perth Hospital a tertiary service were I worked for the next 2.5 years in aged care, acute medical and the intensive care unit. In 1998 I travelled to Dublin and lived there for a year with a friend and her family, working in a local aged care unit.
In 1998 I returned to Perth and commenced work in Princess Margaret Hospital were I worked in oncology, hematology and Intensive Care for the next 9.5 years. I loved working wit children and their families, which is a very specialised area and often extremely challenging.
In 2008 I decided to take a position as a nurse educator at Marr Mooditj Training and mentored and taught a number of Aboriginal students in enrolled nursing and Aboriginal Health Worker Programs. I loved this work and really enjoyed learning more about Noongar people and getting to know the local Aboriginal community.
In 2013 I took on a new position as a Senior Policy Officer in the Western Australian Department of Health. In 2015 I managed to gain a promotion into a Senior Development Officer role and I am currently studying part-time doing a Masters in Nursing Research at the University of Notre Dame Australia. In the next 5 years I plan to return to nursing and enroll in the Masters in Midwifery Practice to gain the skills as a midwife. Then when I return home to the Kimberley in 2021 I can practice as a registered nurse and midwife.
Special Appointment by the Board Director
Renee Blackman (RN) is a Gubbi Gubbi Woman from the Sunshine Coast and her inspiration to pursue a career in health came from her grandmother.
Renee is now part of the Senior Management Team at the Brisbane Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service based in Woolloongabba. Renee is responsible for the oversight of 7 Aboriginal medical clinics and a 74 bed Residential Aged Care facility, as the Director for Health Services.
Renee began her career in Aboriginal Primary health care as an Aboriginal health worker. It was this beginning that sparked her passion for Aboriginal health which led to the completion of her nursing degree. Renee has over 20 years in service delivery experience as an Aboriginal health worker and a registered nurse. In that time, Renee has dedicated herself to working within the health system with a goal of continual improvement and to provide better access for her mob to much needed health care. She also enjoys assisting her colleagues, (if they become ‘stuck’) when working within her community.
Her research area of interest is critically analysing the cultural capability of the health workforce and governance systems responsible for the delivery of quality health care to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.
Tasmania Board Director
Joshua is a Torres Strait Islander man and has been a member of CATSINaM since he was a student in 2004 at Australia Catholic University. He is also the recipient of the inaugural Sally Goold Award.
Joshua has always wanted to contribute to our people's health and assist in building our nursing workforce. This has led him to be a lecturer, tutor and mentor to other aspiring nurses.
Joshua's career as a nurse started at St Vincent's Private Hospital where he gained experience working in cardiac care.
Joshua has worked as a nurse with RAHC in remote Indigenous communities including Mutijulu, Areyonga and Tennant Creek.
Joshua worked as a volunteer for Volunteers in Community Engagement (VOICE) in the Indigenous Youth Leadership Program. I was the Indigenous Australian youth leadership field staff/supervisor. Myself and other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Youth were in Vanuatu for a cross cultural exchange, where we built a first aid post with Ni-Van Youth for a remote community.
While in Vanuatu Joshua was able gain a insight into the health issue that the Vanuatu people are experiencing and also see the similarities with our own people.
South Australian Board Director
I am a proud KURNAI man from Lake Tyers Aboriginal Trust, Lake Tyers Victoria, I was one of the first Aboriginal QANTAS Long Haul Flight Attendants a career that spent 15 years all over the world.
Then I entered nursing as my 2nd career, I felt I needed to give back to my community.
I studied at RMIT Melbourne, Bachelor of Nursing, did the pilot program for cadetship at St Vincent's (that year won award St Vincent's for the program).
I did my grad year at St Vincent's, 6 months ED, 6 months endocrine ward.
I worked at VAHS, Victorian Aboriginal Health Service 2 years RN.
I worked remote AURUKUN FNQ 2 years as CNC.
Currently now working Oak Valley/Maralinga S/A RN
I Love being on the front line remote with my people