The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Protection AHPPC subcommittee

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Protection (NATSIHP) subcommittee of the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC), replaces the former Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group on COVID-19.


NATSIHP provides holistic and culturally safe advice on health protection matters for First Nations peoples and communities. NATSIHP’s focus is on communicable and chronic diseases, environmental health, and disaster management in primary health settings, and health issues related to COVID-19.

Actions include:

  • ensuring appropriate responses to current and emerging health protection issues for First Nations peoples
  • reducing data gaps and improving data use, ensuring adherence to First Nations data sovereignty principles
  • ensuring robust First Nations shared decision making and partnerships
  • ensuring health protection responses include culturally safe and effective communication strategies
  • establishing First Nations led strategic and collaborative governance arrangements
  • providing nationally agreed policy health protection policy advice to the AHPPC.

The Australian Government established the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group on COVID-19 (Advisory Group) in March 2020. The Advisory Group provided clinical expertise to advise and inform decisions on COVID-19 related health issues for First Nations peoples and communities.

On 17 October 2022, the Advisory Group became the NATSIHP subcommittee of the AHPPC. NATSIHP’s remit has expanded beyond COVID-19, to include First Nations health protection matters and relevant health outcomes of the National Agreement on Closing the Gap.


The NATSIHP co-chairs are the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) and the Department of Health and Aged Care.

NATSIHP members as at August 2023

Dr Dawn Casey (co-chair)National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) Deputy CEONational
Ms Melinda Turner (co-chair)Department of Health and Aged CareFirst Assistant Secretary - First Nations Health DivisionNational
Dr Ana HercegWinnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health and Community Services Public Health Medical OfficerAustralian Capital Territory 
Mr Yehuwdiy Dillon Australian Capital Territory Government Senior Director, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Partnerships Australian Capital Territory 
Dr Lorraine AndersonKimberley Aboriginal Medical Services Medical Director (CDNA representative) Western Australia
Ms Francine Eades Western Australia Government Area Director Aboriginal Health East Metro Service Western Australia
Dr RevleBangor-JonesWestern Australia Government Deputy Incident Controller - Public Health Western Australia
Dr Pippa MayWestern Australia Government Consultant Public Health Medicine Western Austrtralia 
Dr Caitlyn WhiteAboriginal Health Council of Western Australia (AHCWA)Senior Medical Advisor - Public Health Medical Advisor Western Australia
Dr Prashanti ManchikantiVictorian Government Principal, policy and strategy - Aboriginal Health Victoria
Dr Louise Flood South Australia Government /CDNADirector Disease Prevention and Control, and Chief Human Biosecurity Officer for South AustraliaSA
Mr Abe RopitiniVACCHO - Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation Executive Director - Population health Victoria 
Dr Liz MooreAboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory (AMSANT)Public Health Medical Officer Northern Territory
Dr John BoffaCentral Australian Aboriginal Congress Chief Medical Officer Public Health Northern Territory
Dr Belinda Greenwood-SmithNorthern Territory Government  Co-ordinator of the Center for Disease Control Central Australia Northern Territory
Ms Yolanda AdamsNorthern Territory Government Chief Aboriginal Health and Engagement Officer Northern Territory
Ms Geraldine Wilson-MatengaNew South Wales Government Executive Director, Centre for Aboriginal Health at the NSW Ministry of Health New South Wales
Dr Tara SmithNew South Wales Government Medical Advisor - Centre for Aboriginal Health New South Wales 
Ms Kristy CrooksNew South Wales Government Aboriginal Program Manager, Hunter New England Health DistrictNew South Wales 
Dr Katie Panaretto Queensland Health - Office of First Nations Health Public Health Physician Queensland 
Dr Jessica LeonardAboriginal Health Council of South AustraliaPublic Health Medical OfficerSouth Australia
Mr Damien ShenSouth Australia Government Aboriginal Public Health LeadSouth Australia 
Dr Julie GrahamTasmania GovernmentDeputy Public Health DirectorTasmania
Dr Jason AgostinoNational Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) Medical AdvisorNational
Ms Katrina Clark National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) National Indigenous Immunisation Co-ordinatorNational
Ms Yvonne UrenNational Indigenous Australians Agence (NIAA) Branch Manager - Health and Wellbeing BranchNational 
Ms Melissa ConnorsAboriginal Hostels LimitedDirector - Business StrategyNational
Dr Kath KeenanAboriginal Health and Medical Research Council (AHMRC)Public Health Medical OfficerNational
Dr Yuanee WickramasingheAboriginal Health and Medical Research Council (AHMRC)Public Health Medical OfficerNational
Ms Lauren Owen Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council (AHMRC)Public Health Advisor  National
Prof. James Ward The University of Queensland, Poche Centre for Indigenous Health Director   National 


The group meets fortnightly, with ad hoc meetings scheduled as required.


Read communiques from NATSIHP.

Related committees or groups

Some NATSIHP members are also members on other AHPPC sub-committees:

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