2021 national INDIGENOUS women's health conference GUEST speakers

Janette Young

Strategic Communications Manager 

Indigenous Wellbeing Centre 

Ms. Janette Young is a strategic communicator who has worked with major companies and not-for-profit organisations for more than 30 years. She specialises in behavioural communications and community engagement. Janette is Strategic Communications Manager with IWC, an Aboriginal community-controlled health and wellbeing organisation that works across one of the most disadvantaged areas in Australia. Janette takes a lead role in facilitating grassroots solutions to social issues through community leadership and delivered the 2016 Bundaberg Region Community Ice Forum.

Hope Mcmillan

Indigenous Health Programs Manager

BAIBS at Darling Downs Health

Hope is the Indigenous Health Programs Manager for BAIBS at Darling Downs Health. She has worked in health sector (public and private) for over 15 years and has extensive knowledge on the local health services across Darling Downs Health area. Hope has been the lead in implementing the BAIBS (Bridging Antenatal care, Indigenous Babies & Smoking cessation) project across the area. Hope has established and built on an ongoing relationship with all birthing facilities and Aboriginal Medical Services to facilitate a collaborative practice approach.

Johanna Bou-Samra    

Project Officer for Smoke Free Healthcare

Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service and involved in BAIBS

Johanna is an accredited consultant pharmacist with 25 years’ experience. Since 2011 she has worked for Queensland Health as part of the Toowoomba Community Health Chronic Disease Team as the Indigenous Health Outcomes Pharmacist, helping to reduce chronic disease related hospital admissions through outpatient medication and smoking cessation services to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. Johanna works closely with Aboriginal Medical Centres in the area providing clinics at the medical centres and home visits. She also conducts smoking management clinics for surgical candidates at out-patient clinics.

Johanna is a member of the The Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs, American Association for the Treatment of Tobacco Use and Dependence and an accredited Tobacco Treatment Specialist. She is the Project Officer for Smoke Free Healthcare for the Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service and involved in BAIBS.

Hayley Longbottom

Waminda South Coast Women's Health and Welfare Aboriginal Corporation


Toni L. Smith

Principal Female Aboriginal Health Worker in Domestic Violence & Women’s Health

Sydney Local Health District

Toni Smith is a ‘Gadigal’ born woman with ‘Yuin’ ancestry. She has lived and worked in her local Aboriginal community, Redfern for many years. Toni is the Principal Female Aboriginal Health Worker in Domestic Violence & Women’s Health

 (Community Health Specialist Services, SLHD RPAH). Toni is an experienced Registered Nurse, graduating from The University of Sydney in 1995. She has worked for NSW Health in identified positions including Aboriginal Education Officer, Promotions Officer, Project Officer and Aboriginal Hospital Liaison Officer across St. George and The Sutherland Hospitals.

Toni has worked with her local Aboriginal community as the Camps and Conferences Manager at the National Indigenous Centre of Excellence (NCIE) and the Redfern PCYC.

Toni was granted the ‘Equity Challenge’ of $10,000 to begin her project “Tidda-Links” (Linking Sisters), her first project when newly appointed in her role at Sydney Local Health District.

Desley Thompson 


Ninti One Limited

Desley Thompson is a proud Mamu woman from Far North Queensland with a working career that spans over 11 years with the Commonwealth Public Service and another 16 years with the non-government sector. Before commencing with Ninti One Limited in Adelaide, Desley was involved in a number of National Boards and has been heavily involved in the Family Support and Child Protection fields.  Desley is currently the full-time Program Manager of the National Best Practice Unit Tackling Indigenous Smoking (NBPU TIS). As the inaugural Program Manager Desley has led the successful establishment of support and assistance to the TIS-funded ACCHSs, Peak Bodies and AMSs.  Desley is also a company Director of a family-owned business. 

Christine Fing

Aboriginal Engagement Project Officer

BreastScreen Aboriginal Engagement Project

BreastScreen NSW GW Aboriginal Engagement Project embodies the ‘First Nations Women’s Health’ and ‘Successful community partnerships between First Nations peoples, governments and NGO`s’ themes of the 2020 Closing the Gap Indigenous Health Conference. Our project has been going for 3 years and our stats confirm it is a success. The aim of the project is to increase the participation rate of Aboriginal women in the target age group (40-74 years) through the use of community led ‘Yarning Circles’. These sessions will discuss the importance of screening mammograms and also address fears and barriers to screening.  Yarning Circles will precede a Screening Session in which eligible attendees of the Yarning Circle can then be screened. We are currently in Phase 2 of our project and concentrating on re-Engagement of past participants as well as engagement with new ladies who haven’t attended a yarning circle before.  We have also had success in building strong relationships within our LHD Aboriginal Health Leadership Team as well as community NGQs as we recognise local Aboriginal Health Workers and Aboriginal community organisations are vital to the success of engagement of local Aboriginal women.

Meg O’Brien


BreastScreen service at Greater West

My name is Meg O’Brien and I am the manager of the BreastScreen service at Greater West. I have been working in this role for over 5 years and within this time I have learned a great deal about breast screening and breast cancer management and treatment. I am a Registered Nurse/midwife and I was drawn to BreastScreen when my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer through BreastScreen. She owes her life today to the early detection of breast cancer through BreastScreen and with subsequent treatment we are fortunate to have her in our lives today. My role is to oversee the operations of the BreastScreen service that stretches from Lithgow to Broken Hill and all city rural and remote sites in between. We have very strict accreditation standards to monitor and meet and some of these oversea cancer screening assessment and detection. I have been fortunate to work with some wonderfully passionate and likeminded staff and I have also met some incredibly brave, strong and determined women though this programme. If there is one mission I have is to reduce the deaths from this dreadful indiscriminate disease by screening and early detection.

TO BE CONTINUED...........

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Indigenous Conference Service Toni Smith
Indigneous Conference Services Desley Th
Womens Health Conference Christine Fing
Womens Health Conference Meg O`Brien Ind