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Institute Council

Ms Patricia Anderson AO – Chairperson

Ms Pat Anderson is an Alyawarre woman known nationally and internationally as a powerful advocate for the health of Australia’s First Peoples. She has extensive experience in Aboriginal health, including community development, policy formation and research ethics.

Ms Anderson has spoken before the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous People, has been the CEO of Danila Dilba Health Service in Darwin, Chair of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, Chair of the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory (AMSANT), and was the Chair of the CRC for Aboriginal Health from 2003 to 2009. She has published many essays, papers and articles, including co-authoring with Rex Wild QC of Little Children Are Sacred, a report on the abuse of Aboriginal children in the Northern Territory.

In 2007, Ms Anderson was awarded the Public Health Association of Australia’s Sidney Sax Public Health Medal in recognition of her achievements; she was awarded the Human Rights Community Individual Award (Tony Fitzgerald Memorial Award) in 2012 and the Human Rights Medal in 2016 by the Australian Human Rights Commission. In 2013, she received an honorary doctorate from Flinders University and in 2017 Edith Cowan University conferred on Ms Anderson a Doctor of Medical Science honoris causa. In 2015, Ms Anderson won the public policy category Australian Financial Review and Westpac 100 Women of Influence Awards. She served as co-chair of the Prime Minister’s Referendum Council and she is the current chair of the Remote Area Health Corporation.

Ms Anderson was appointed Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 2014 for distinguished service to the Indigenous community as a social justice advocate, particularly through promoting improved health, and educational and protection outcomes for children. In 2018, the national NAIDOC Committee recognised her life-long contribution with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Mr Russell Taylor AM – Deputy Chairperson
MBA, GradDipPSM (UTS), GradDipArts (ANU)

An Aboriginal Australian (Kamilaroi) and former long term Senior Executive Service member of the Australian Public Service, Russell recently stepped down as CEO of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) in Canberra.

Russell is a highly respected senior Indigenous Australian with extensive experience in corporate governance and a long history in leadership and advocacy with particular passion for education and social welfare.

In 2015 Russell was awarded Membership of the General Division of the Order of Australia “for significant service to the community as a cultural leader and public sector executive in the field of Indigenous affairs”.

In 2016 Russell was the recipient of the UTS Sydney Inaugural Indigenous Alumni Award for Excellence.

In 2018 Russell was the recipient of the national NAIDOC “Male Elder of the Year” Award.


Mick Gooda

Mick Gooda’s people are the Ghungalu and Yiman from Central Queensland. Mick has been an advocate for the rights of First Nations Australians for the past 35 years. His appointments include ATSI Social Justice Commissioner, Co-Commissioner on the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the NT, CEO of the CRC for Aboriginal Health, and with ATSIC.

More recently, he has been appointed to the Queensland First Children and Families Board overseeing reforms to reduce over-representation in the child protection system, and as First Nations Advisor to the Queensland Minister for Housing and Public Works.


Lauren Ganley

Lauren is the CEO of Desert Knowledge Australia (DKA) based in Alice Springs.   DKA works closely with people, places and knowledges of the desert, to put knowledge into action, for a stronger desert and remote Australia.

Prior to DKA, Lauren worked at Telstra for more than thirty years working in the Northern Territory and South Australia.  In her last role at Telstra, Lauren led Telstra’s National Indigenous strategy.

Lauren is the Chair of Telstra’s Indigenous Advisory Committee; a Director of Kakadu Tourism, the Aboriginal Foundation of South Australia and Power Community Ltd; an Ambassador for Indigenous Community Volunteers; a graduate and Fellow of the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation; and a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

In 2014 Lauren was recognised as one of Australia’s most influential women winning a place in The Australian Financial Review and Westpac 100 Women of Influence Awards.

Donna Ah Chee

Donna Ah Chee is the CEO of Central Australian Aboriginal Congress (Congress), an Aboriginal community-controlled primary health care service employing over 400 staff to deliver integrated services in Alice Springs and six nearby remote communities.

A Bundgalung woman from the far north coast of New South Wales who has lived in Alice Springs for over 30 years, Donna is married to a local Yankunytjatjara/Arrernte man and together they have three children.

Donna holds directorships on the board of the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance of the NT (AMSANT), the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) and the NT Primary Health Network (NTPHN).

Donna is an expert member of the National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health Implementation Plan Advisory Group (IPAG), member Northern Territory Aboriginal Health Forum (NTAHF), Chair NT Children and Families Tripartite Forum and represents Congress on the Alice Springs Peoples’ Alcohol Action Coalition (PAAC).

Karen Weston

Ms Weston commenced with the NT Department of Education in March 2020 and has ignited a focus on engagement and partnering with families and community to deliver meaningful education. Before arriving in the NT, she led reforms in education, early childhood, inclusion and developed an Aboriginal education strategy (Birth to Year-12) in South Australia.

She has more than 20 years’ experience in the education sector, with particular expertise in early childhood education and broader school reforms. Ms Weston also holds a Master of Education focusing on education policy, educational leadership and evaluation.