Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Lead appointed

CheckUP is pleased to share that proud Warrgamay woman Lynette Anderson has been appointed as the organisation's first Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Lead.

The creation and funding of this position mark an important milestone for the organisation as its primary purpose of it is to drive CheckUPs continued commitment to being a culturally responsible organisation, respectfully engaging with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and communities to ensure we are contributing to positive health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.  

Based in Townsville, Lynette originally commenced with CheckUP as a Regional Coordinator for North Queensland in September 2021. She is excited to accept this new challenge and apply her skills and experiences to this role.

"My passion is Aboriginal Health and health care delivery in our rural and remote areas, so I am really looking forward to working with these communities to come up with innovative ways to improve service delivery and access."

"I am also looking forward to working with the CheckUP leadership team and contributing my ideas so that as an organisation we are able to meet our goals and targets.

Speaking on the current state of healthcare for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and action needed to close the gap, Lynette said: "We all know that primary care in rural, remote, and Aboriginal communities is in crisis."

"We are currently experiencing a severe shortage of health care clinicians in these areas and it is becoming harder and harder to get a doctor's appointment when you need it, no matter where you live."

"I'm looking forward to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese staying true to his pre-election promise of boosting workforce incentives to get doctors, nurses, and allied health professionals to where they are needed most, in our rural, remote and Aboriginal communities. The new government has also committed to reducing the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) co-payment, which will ensure low-income earners can get access to vital medications in a timely manner. There has been a promise of training 500 new First Nations health workers with on the job training to gain minimum qualifications such as Cert III and IV’s, increase access to dialysis treatment by increasing the number of dialysis units in rural and remote locations and supporting efforts to reduce rheumatic heart disease in remote communities. These are important promises that need to be translated into action if we are serious about closing the health gap."

Prior to working at CheckUP, Lynette worked for 18 years within the community-controlled health sector, spending her time between QAIHC and Townsville Aboriginal and Islander Health Service (TAIHS). She has experience working in both clinical and management roles and has a real passion for Indigenous health and workforce development in rural areas.

On what advice she would give to someone starting out their career in the health sector, Lynette recommends people surround themselves with people who will support them at each stage of their career and keep moving forward.

"You don’t have to have it all figured out from the get-go, where you enter the health sector doesn’t have to be where you stay. I think also you should embrace the reality that things don’t usually work out how you planned them in your head. You may wander from your track but that’s okay because sometimes that’s how we make life-changing discoveries and those beaten tracks can also open up great opportunities you never thought about."

"There are so many different paths and opportunities to choose from - you're not just limited to being a doctor or nurse."