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Professor Kerry Arabena, a descendant of the Meriam people from the Torres Strait, is Chair for Indigenous Health and Director of the Indigenous Health Equity Unit at the University of Melbourne. Kerry has completed a Doctorate in Human Ecology and a degree in Social Work.
Kerry has extensive experience in public health, administration, community development and research. Her work has made significant contributions across states and territories in areas such as gender issues, social justice, human rights, access and equity, service provision, harm minimisation, and citizen rights and responsibilities.
In addition to her other roles, Kerry is the Lead Investigator on the Australian Model of the First 1000 Days Study, an interventions based pre-birth cohort study designed with, and for, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families. Prior to this, she was Inaugural CEO of the Lowitja Institute and Inaugural Chair of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples, a national Indigenous representative body established in 2010.
In recognition of her professional experience and contributions, Kerry was an Australian of the Year finalist in 2010. She was a recipient of the JG Crawford Prize for Academic Excellence at the Australian National University in 2011 and was nominated in The Bulletin magazine’s ‘Smart 100 Australians’ Health and Medical Research category in 2004. Among these accolades, Kerry has also represented Australia in international forums on HIV/AIDS and climate change.