• Pat Anderson (Photo/Lowitja Institute) (Lowitja Institute)
Alyawarre woman Pat Anderson AO, the chair of the Lowitja Institute, has been named one of the country’s one hundred women of influence.
By
Andrea Booth

25 Sep 2015 - 5:24 PM  UPDATED 28 Sep 2015 - 5:34 PM

The Australian Financial Review and Westpac listed Pat Anderson AO as one of the most influential women in Australia for her work in public policy.

Ms Anderson told NITV she was honoured to receive the recognition along with other outstanding Australian women.

"I also take this opportunity to celebrate the significant contribution that many strong, proud and hard-working Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are making every day to their communities around the country," she said.

Ms Anderson works to improve the health and welfare of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Currently she is engaged in this cause as the chair of the Lowitja Institute, which researches health issues affecting Indigenous people of Australia.

The institute is working with 22 partners from government departments and academic institutions across the country to lead a reform agenda in the effort to close the gap in health outcomes between Indigenous and other Australians.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples continue to experience poorer health than other Australians with the federal government’s target to close the life expectancy gap within a generation, by 2031 not on track.

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According to the latest data, the life expectancy of Indigenous Australians is 10 years less than non-Indigenous Australians.

"The rights and welfare of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have been central to my long career in education, primary health care, health research, early childhood development, violence against women and children, and, more broadly, the public policy implications of the social determinants of health," she said.

Ms Anderson has been improving the health of her people for many years at both local and international levels.

"I am honoured to receive this recognition together with some outstanding Australian women" 

She has spoken before the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous People, held the position as CEO of Danila Dilba Health Service in Darwin and was chair of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation.

She has also worked as the executive officer of the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory, and the chair of the CRC for Aboriginal Health, where she worked between 2003 and 2009.

Ms Anderson is well known for the report she co-authored with Rex Wild QC the Little Children Are Sacred report about the abuse of Aboriginal children in the Northern Territory.

"...Celebrate the significant contribution that many strong, proud and hard-working Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are making every day" 

Ms Anderson has been recognised for her efforts to improve the health and rights of her people. In 2007 she was awarded the Public Health Association of Australia’s Sidney Sax Public Health Medal. In 2012 she received the Human Rights Community Individual Award and the next year Degree of Doctor honoris causa, by Flinders University as a "powerful advocate" for the welfare of her fellow people.

"The rights and welfare of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have been central to my long career "

In 2014 she was appointed Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for her distinguished service to the Indigenous community.

"I have dedicated my life to creating and nurturing understanding, compassion and honesty between people, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, and there is much still to be done," she said about receiving the honour in a media statement.

Indigenous Australians have been making other lists of influential people in 2015. In AFR Magazine's Power Panel, Indigenous leaders Pat Dodson and Noel Pearson tied 12 in the Covert Power category. Adam Goodes ranked 14 in the Cultural Power category.