Matthew Cooke is a young leader with a strong voice for Aboriginal health advocacy, commitment to embracing change and working cohesively with members, stakeholders and government all levels to ‘close the gap’ in national Aboriginal health outcomes
Just one of the many positive stories you will find in this weeks
NACCHO Aboriginal Health Newspaper- as an insert in the KOORI MAIL
Picture :NACCHO Chair Matthew Cooke with the Assistant Minister for Health Senator Fiona Nash and Dr Tom Calma AO at Parliament House Canberra for the launch of the Close the Gap report in February
Introducing our new chair Matthew Cooke
In 2006 as a young 19 year old, Matthew Cooke was appointed by the Board of Directors to fill the role of Chief Executive Officer in the fledgling Aboriginal community controlled health service in Gladstone, Nhulundu Wooribah Indigenous Health Organisation.
With the support of the Board and a small but dedicated staff, Matthew became the driving force in building this very under resourced, humble, local primary health organisation with a few community programs, into the major force for Aboriginal health in the region. His strong voice of advocacy ensured the service prospered, and on his departure from the service, it employed more than 30 clinicians and health professional across a broad range of services.
Matthew took a break from the Aboriginal health sector in 2012 and spent several years as Indigenous Affairs Manager for worldwide company Bechtel in Australia. His passion for the sector was never far away however, and during this time he filled the role of deputy chair of National Aboriginal and Islander Health Organisation (NACCHO), sat on the Board for Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC), and was instrumental in the establishment of the Central Queensland Regional Aboriginal and Islander Health Organisation (CQRAICCHO) and later became a skills based Director.
Matthew’s passion for promoting Aboriginal health at local, state and national level was never far away, and mid last year, he was appointed Chief Executive Officer for QAIHC. In December 2014 he became Chairman of NACCHO.
These roles have been both challenging and exciting, played out within an environment of constant change and uncertainty. However, Matthew’s commitment to embracing change and working cohesively to ‘close the gap’ in Aboriginal health outcomes, has never waivered.
His energy and innovative thinking as he oversees strategic planning and human resource management, implements funding proposals, and develops policies, is to be admired. One of Matthew’s greatest strengths lies in his ability to ‘think outside the square’ and these testing times have seen him take this skill to its highest level, cementing and negotiating partnerships, streamlining services and systems, mentoring and growing capacity, but never losing his connection to his community and his people, and always accepting his responsibility in the struggle to Close the Gap.
Along the way his many achievements have been recognised with Matthew accepting awards for Young Leader in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health (2007), Deadly Vibe Young Australian of the Year (2008), Winner of the Premier’s Reconciliation Award for Business Partnership (2010), and Regional winner and State finalist Australian Institute of Management Young Manager of the Year (2011).
He also fulfils other leadership roles as Native Title Applicant and Trustee Director for the Port Curtis Coral Coast Native Title Claimant Group, Central Queensland, Director of Bailai Aboriginal Corporation for Land & Culture and a recently appointed Director of the Lowitja Institute.
Matthew along with other key leaders within the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Sector recently completed the Company Directors Course with the Australian Institute of Company Director. This was a personal aspiration of Matthew’s to raise the bar in Corporate Governance knowledge and practice in the Aboriginal Health Sector. He is without doubt, an exceptional asset in Aboriginal health.
NACCHO NEWSPAPER INFO
If your interested in providing editorial or advertising in the next June/July edition
Contact the Editorial Consultant Colin Cowell 0401 331 251 EMAIL