Wuchopperen Chairperson, Donnella Mills has been recognised for her contribution to improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, through her appointment as Interim Chairperson of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO). Donnella has served as the Deputy Chairperson of the NACCHO Board for the past 12 months and takes on the role of Chairperson following the resignation of John Singer.
NACCHO is the peak body for the Aboriginal Community Controlled health sector and represents 143 services, and 302 health centres across the country. Donnella will work with the NACCHO Board to drive the national health debate in Australia, particular in regards to self-determination and community led solutions for closing the gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.
“I am very honoured and excited to be taking up the role of Chairperson for NACCHO. I would like to acknowledge the excellent leaders NACCHO has had in the past, I am following in the footsteps of some amazing people to continue the essential national conversation on community led health initiatives. I believe Community Control is the key model for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health care and will see us achieving greater autonomy and self-determination for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” says Donnella.
Ms Mills is a Torres Strait Islander woman with ancestral and family links to Masig and Nagir in the Torres Strait. She is a Cairns-based lawyer with LawRight, a Community Legal Centre which coordinates the provision of pro bono civil legal services to vulnerable members of our community, as well as the Chairperson for Wuchopperen. She will use her previous experience in the legal and health care systems to address the issues facing our community in both Cairns, and on a national level.
“Health and legal issues are intrinsically linked. It is no coincidence Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people – among the most incarcerated people in the world – also have some of the poorest health outcomes in the world. The provision of Community Controlled, holistic and culturally appropriate health care services really is a way to ensure a healthy future for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” says Donnella.
Wuchopperen CEO Dania Ahwang, says Donnella will bring a wealth of experience to her new role.
“Donnella is an innovative thinker and a passionate advocate for the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. She has been a true asset to Wuchopperen as our Chairperson and will no doubt be just as essential to the ongoing success of NACCHO,” says Dania.