Rugby League legend and Indigenous health ambassador Preston Campbell joins the ranks to improve health and wellbeing in Queensland, as an interim board member for the newly established Health and Wellbeing Queensland (HWQld).
Preston will be joined by seven other interim board members and an interim Chief Executive Mr David Conry AM, while permanent recruitment for these roles commenced this week.
Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles welcomes the new CE and board and looks forward to their efforts in getting Queenslanders eating better and moving more.
“The newly appointed interim board and CE is the next step to getting HWQld kicking goals for Queenslanders,” he said.
“Each board member brings their own wealth of knowledge and experience that will help us reach our goal of Queenslanders being among the healthiest people in the world by 2026.”
Previously a member of the advisory board and interim CE David Conry said he is delighted to be a part of the HWQld team and is looking forward to working with the board and community to establish HWQLd to achieve genuine outcomes for Queenslanders.
Mr Conry has significant business and community service experience and was honoured in 2007 as Queensland’s Australian of the Year, in recognition for his founding of the national disability group Youngcare.
“I’m looking forward to developing a strategy that makes sense, is deliverable and provides the subsequent foundation for success for many years,” he said.
“HWQld will work together with the community, private sector and all levels of government to drive collaboration and change and get Queensland more understanding and excited about their own health.”
Minister Miles said HWQld will start off with supporting the continued rollout of the successful Deadly Choices program, led by the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health (IUIH).
“In this state budget, we committed a $25.2 million boost over three years to expand the Deadly Choices program into more areas of the state,” he said.
“Since this program was developed by IUIH in 2010, there has been a significant increase in the number of health checks undertaken by Indigenous Queenslanders, which is really positive.
“We want to continue this great work to help reduce health inequity, and HWQld will help IUIH drive it.”
IUIH Acting CEO Wayne Ah Boo believes the commitment provides a sustainable funding base to implement its highly successful Indigenous preventive health program across Queensland.
“The solutions that we’re coming up with to improve health outcomes in our communities are actually solutions that benefit the whole country,” said Mr Ah Boo.
“Deadly Choices is the perfect example of an initiative that has been designed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
“Deadly Choices empowers Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to make healthy choices for themselves and their families – to stop smoking, to eat good food and exercise daily.
“In South East Queensland alone last year, Deadly Choices resulted in more than 20,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people having a health check, a 10% increase over the previous year.
“This continued commitment by the Queensland Government will contribute to improving the health outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people throughout Queensland. So we welcome this announcement – it is a highly valued package that puts control in the hands of those who can make the biggest impact.”
The interim board appointments are:
- Mr Thomas (Preston) Campbell, Founder of the Preston Campbell Foundation.
- Professor Amanda Lee, Professor of Public Health Policy, University of Queensland.
- Dr John Pickering, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Behavioural Scientist of Behaviour Innovation
- Mr Stephen Ryan, Director of GROW, a community-based mental health support service.
- Ms Jo Whitehead, Health Service Chief Executive, Mackay Hospital and Health Service.
- Associate Professor Robyn Littlewood, Director of Health Services Research at the Queensland Children’s Hospital Centre for Children’s Health Research.