Adjunct Professor Janine Mohamed, CEO of the Lowitja Institute, has been announced as 2024 Australian of the Year for Victoria.
The award statement says that in her nearly five years leading the Lowitja Institute in Melbourne, and before that as CEO of the Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives (CATSINaM), Mohamed has created important platforms for Indigenous peoples and championed culturally safe health care.
Mohamed is committed to dismantling racism, expanding opportunities for the Indigenous health workforce, and to closing the gap in Indigenous health outcomes through the systemic integration of cultural safety, the statement says.
Statement by Lowitja Institute
As Chief Executive Officer for Lowitja Institute since 2019, Janine Mohamed was chosen for her exceptional leadership skills and dedication to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing, championing culturally safe healthcare throughout her career.
“Dr Mohamed works tirelessly to advocate for justice in healthcare for our peoples. We are immensely proud that she has been recognised for this work,” Lowitja Institute Chairperson Selwyn Button said.
“The recent Referendum campaign highlights how important it is to close the gap in health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, dismantling racism and embedding cultural safety across our health systems,” he said.
A Narrunga Kaurna woman from South Australia, Dr Mohamed studied nursing at the University of South Australia where she is now an Adjunct Professor and a celebrated Alumni of the Year.
For the past 25 years, Dr Mohamed worked in nursing, health policy and research in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community controlled health sector. Prior to the Lowitja Institute, she was the CEO of the Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives.
In 2020, Dr Mohamed was awarded an honorary doctorate in nursing by Edith Cowan University.
“I feel honoured to be recognised for this award. Growing up in my community, there were too many funerals and too many preventable deaths. People like my Nanna and mum didn’t receive the healthcare that they deserved,” Dr Mohamed said.
“Through this award I will continue to advocate to transform the health system and shine a light on racism and its impacts on our health and wellbeing. I want my children to be able to celebrate the Blak excellence that we all strive for every day,” she said.
“And finally, I urge non-Indigenous Australians to reflect on cultural safety in the home, workplace and social settings – challenge your own assumptions, listen to our voices, and support Aboriginal-led decision making because we know what is best for our peoples’ health and wellbeing.”
• Mohamed was the inaugural Chair of Croakey Health Media (2019-2021).