Leadership award for health researcher

The Lowitja Institute has named leading Indigenous maternal health researcher, La Trobe University Associate Professor Catherine Chamberlain, its Research Leadership Award winner.

The award, made in partnership with the Cranlana Centre for Ethical Leadership to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research leadership and excellence, was announced at Lowitja’s International Indigenous health and Wellbeing Conference in Darwin.

Lowitja Institute Chairperson Pat Anderson AO said the award recognised outstanding work by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers whose important contributions to their academic field were known nationally and internationally, and who had contributed significantly to the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“I am thrilled that the award this year goes to Associate Professor Catherine Chamberlain, for her excellence and leadership. I also celebrate her particular work assisting young parents who suffered early childhood trauma to give their own babies the best start in life,” Ms Anderson said.

Cranlana Centre for Ethical Leadership chief executive Vanessa Pigrum said the award formally recognised Associate Professor Chamberlain’s exemplary research in this vital area.

“Cranlana aims to build the moral courage of our leaders through strengthening their critical reasoning and ethical decision-making skills. We do this by engaging with the ideas of some of history’s great thinkers during our Executive Colloquium — six days of deep reflection and discussion — not for an abstract purpose, but to bring insight and wisdom into our professional and personal lives.

“We look forward to welcoming Catherine into the Executive Colloquium and to learning from her deep knowledge in the process. Congratulations Catherine,” Ms Pigrum said.

Associate Professor Chamberlain said she was honoured to receive the award.

“This will be extremely helpful for me as I lead an exciting, important and complicated project. Cranlana and Lowitja’s generous support will assist me to expand my management skills, develop my leadership abilities and is ultimately an endorsement of the work my team and I are undertaking to improve support for Aboriginal families,” Associate Professor Chamberlain said.

Associate Professor Chamberlain, a NHMRC Career Development Fellow at La Trobe University’s Judith Lumley Centre, is principal researcher on the Healing the Past by Nurturing the Future project to co-design perinatal awareness, recognition, assessment and support strategies for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents who have experienced complex childhood trauma.   Its framework and protocol were outlined this month in the British Medical Journal.