Farewell to a trailblazing community leader and nurse

2020 is the international year of the nurse and midwife and throughout the year the PHN is paying tribute to nurses and midwives that inspire.

This month we're celebrating the life and legacy of inspirational pioneer of the health sector, Aunty Pamela Mam.

In January, trailblazing leader Aunty Pamela Mam passed away after more than 60 years working to improving the health and wellbeing outcomes of Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders.

Aunty Pamela Mam (nee Ah-kee/Bligh), a pioneer of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services, was born in 1938 in Richmond, western Queensland, and was a descendent of the Kuku Yalanji peoples in the Cooktown area.

She started her remarkable career as a nurse aid at Palm Island Hospital, and later trained as a nurse at Townsville Hospital, becoming one of the first Aboriginal nurses in Queensland. Aunty Pamela helped establish the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service (ATSICHS) Brisbane and in 2015, Griffith University established the Aunty Pamela Mam Indigenous Nursing Scholarship to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nursing and midwifery students.

She was awarded an honorary doctorate from Griffith University in December 2018 for her service to her people in health services and to the community and named as a life member of the Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council and ATSICHS Brisbane, and patron for the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health.

Aunty Pamela was an inspirational figure who created an ongoing legacy of compassion and commitment for health care for First Nations Queenslanders.

For more infomation on the Aunty Pamela Mam Indigenous Nursing Scholarship visit the Griffith University website.