As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold, we want to take a moment to recognise the serious public health risk of the pandemic for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities and the fundamental importance for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to be involved in and lead the community response to this situation. We commend and wish everyone well in their work and the challenges confronting us all.
Since the postponement of the Close the Gap for Vision by 2020: The Gap and Beyond: National Conference 2020, which was due to take place in Adelaide on the 18 and 19 March 2020, Indigenous Eye Health has been establishing suitable dates for the rescheduling of the conference, together with co-hosts Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia (AHCSA). We look forward to sharing this further advice regarding the next conference as soon as we can.
In lieu of being able to hear the keynote presentations face-to-face at the conference, a number of our keynote speakers have kindly recorded presentations and video messages for conference delegates and the Indigenous eye health sector more broadly. Please note that these presentations have been recorded at different times, including prior to the event and the conference postponement announcement, and so should be viewed with the understanding that they are not contemporary messages.
We would like to thank Professor Hugh Taylor AC, The Hon. Greg Hunt MP, Dr Janine Mohamed and Dr Kris Rallah-Baker for taking the time to record their presentations so that they can be shared with you. We think they are great and capture important information and messages.
Indigenous Eye Health and the Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia (AHCSA) are pleased to present the ‘Close the Gap for Vision by 2020: The Gap and Beyond: National Conference 2020’ keynote presentation videos.
You are welcome to contact Guy Gillor (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Nick Wilson (email@example.com) for more information about the videos, future conference considerations or other related matters.
Combined Presentations Video
Professor Hugh Taylor AC | Harold Mitchell Chair of Indigenous Eye Health
Melbourne Laureate Professor Hugh Taylor is the Harold Mitchell Professor of Indigenous Eye Health at the University of Melbourne. He was Head of the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Melbourne and the Founding Director of the Centre for Eye Research Australia from 1990 to 2007. Prior to that, he was a Professor of Ophthalmology at the Wilmer Institute at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore with joint appointments in the Departments of Epidemiology and International Health. He has worked with WHO in different roles for over 40 years. Professor Taylor’s current work focuses on Aboriginal eye health. He has led the efforts to eliminate trachoma in Australia and developed and supported implementation of “The Roadmap to Close the Gap for Vision”, a blueprint to provide sustainable eye-care services to Indigenous Australians.
The Hon. Greg Hunt MP | Minister for Health
Minister Greg Hunt was elected as the Federal Member for Flinders in 2001. He has served as Minister for the Environment, and Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science. As Minister for Health since January 2017, Minister Hunt is working to deliver a world-class health system for Australia. He has been a strong and consistent supporter of Aboriginal eye health throughout his parliamentary career from 2001 and made a number of speeches in support of improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander eye health. As Health Minister he has set the goal of ending avoidable blindness in Indigenous communities by 2025 in Australia’s long-term national health plan.
Dr Janine Mohamed | CEO of the Lowitja Institute
Over the past 20 years, Dr Janine Mohamed has worked in nursing, management, project management, and workforce and health policy in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector. Many of these years have been spent in the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health sector at state, national and international levels, and most recently as the CEO at the Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives (CATSINaM). Dr Mohamed is now based in Melbourne and is the CEO of the Lowitja Institute. She was awarded an Atlantic Fellows for Social Equity Fellowship in 2019, and, in January 2020, a Doctorate of Nursing honoris causa by Edith Cowan University.
Dr Kris Rallah-Baker | Ophthalmologist & President of the Australian Indigenous Doctors Association (AIDA)
Dr Kris Rallah-Baker is a Yuggera/Biri-Gubba-Juru man. Born in Canberra, he moved to Brisbane with his parents at the age of four, where he and his brother completed their schooling. Dr Rallah-Baker was a bright student who did well in all his subjects, and at the end of high school he chose to pursue further studies in medicine. He’d been inspired as a young boy to join the medical profession after his nanna told him how her mother had passed away from pneumonia when his nanna was just 12-years-old.
As part of the Stolen Generation, she had been traumatised and had refused to see white doctors. Because of this, she didn’t get the medical assistance she needed, causing her to pass away before her time. “Her story was told frequently in our family and I credit her with the inspiration for me to become a medical doctor,” Dr Rallah-Baker says.
Dr Rallah-Baker knows firsthand how important it is to have Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples on the other side of the doctor’s desk. “Having Aboriginal ophthalmologists at the table brings a new perspective. These patients could be like me, they could be my uncle, they could be my cousins.
“The gap itself won’t be closed by me, but it helps the conversation move along.”