SPA welcomes Dr Vanessa Lee as Board Director

4 August 2016

The Suicide Prevention Australia Board is delighted to welcome Dr Vanessa Lee as its newest Director.

Vanessa, from the Wik and Meriam Nations, has lived on the land of the Gadigal people for the last five years.

She is a social epidemiologist, educator and public health/ health sciences researcher in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Sydney. Her area of expertise is Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health service delivery. Vanessa is a member of the National Public Health Association of Australia, Indigenous Allied Health Association and the International Group of Indigenous Health Measurement; she chairs the Public Health Indigenous Leaders in Education Network and is on the executive board of the Australian Health Care Reform Alliance. She holds expert advisory positions with NAGATSIHID, Close the Gap Steering Committee and the Sydney Centre of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Statistics.

All of the research, engagement and curriculum development that Vanessa is involved in are directed towards the overarching goal of improving the determinants of health, efficacy and linkages of services for better health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Vanessa has recently completed her PhD research on the Aboriginal Medical Services. She has local, national and international research experience within the area of public health and Indigenous health.

On a personal note, Vanessa has been touched by suicide and, in recent months, has discovered her talents as a poet, something she has found invaluable in processing this lived experience and others. As well as being a presenter/speaker, she was honoured to read some of her poetry during the inaugural Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Conference. 

On commencement as an SPA Director, we put Vanessa straight to work chairing the National Sucide Prevention Conference Plenary Panel on 26 July entitled 'Culture, Context and Capability: Essential Elements for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention' featuring Professors Tom Calma and Murray Chapman.

IN THE MEDIA: Read Vanessa's Croakey article reflecting on this panel session, 'I saw shocked faces in a state of inertia: calling all Australians to embark on a journey of suicide prevention and healing'.

If you would like to get in touch with Dr Lee in relation to her work with Suicide Prevention Australia, please email the team or give us a call on 02 9262 1130.

A very warm welcome to Vanessa.