Ngank Yira Research of Indigenous Health and Social Equity
Director, Aboriginal Health Strategy, EMHS
Denese is a Ngikina, Walmajarri and Jaru woman from Western Australia born in Derby in the Kimberley. Denese’s education included attending Holy Rosary School in Derby, secondary at St Brigid’s College, Lesmurdie and completed Degree in Bachelor of Applied Science in Aboriginal Community Management and Development at Curtin University WA. Denese has developed her leadership skills through her roles and a number Aboriginal leadership programs including graduate of the Department of Health Leadership Excellence and Development Program.
She has 20 years’ experience in Indigenous policy and practice development and has developed her roles to incorporate strategic direction and operational leadership of substantial program areas. Her first role was working in Derby at Community Health providing health services and support to Aboriginal population locally and in the remote communities of the central west Kimberly. She has also worked in Aboriginal education in Pilbara, in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women’s legal services sector, at state-wide policy level with Department for Communities; Denese returned to work in Aboriginal health with North Metro Health Service, Women and Newborn Health, Aboriginal Maternity Services Support Unit and the WA Country Health Service developing and implementing Aboriginal health programs and services aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal community.
Denese currently works at East Metropolitan Health Service leading the strategic direction of Aboriginal Health in partnership with the Aboriginal community and the organisation. She has conceived, initiated and established the new area-wide Aboriginal Health Strategy team, underpinned by an emerging strategy based on identifying and promoting existing best practice and fostering consistent performance around community engagement, workforce development and cultural security with the aim of enhancing service user outcomes. Critical to her role is the effective stakeholder engagement, starting with local Aboriginal community groups as well as building strong linkages with primary healthcare organisations and other service provider cohorts. Overall, the mandate is to achieve better patient outcomes through culturally-safe patient journeys and the methodology is based both on existing pockets of best practice and culturally-appropriate engagement with community groups and service users to feed into continuous improvement initiatives.
Additional to all of the above for the last five years she has been an Associate Investigator of the Birthing on Noongar Boodjar Project, the Chair of the Cultural Leadership and Brokerage Stream and is the current the Chairperson of the Kaadaninny Aboriginal Advisory Committee of Ngangk Yira.