$10M Gift to Indigenous Health Leadership
30 May 2014 at 4:25 pm
Australian philanthropist and retired transport magnate Greg Poche has donated $10 million to the University of Melbourne for a leadership development program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health professionals.
Poche – who has already donated more than $115 million to causes around Australia, including more than $40 million towards improving health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people – is the founder and former owner of Star Track Express.
“Improving the health and wellbeing of Indigenous Australians is one of our nation’s biggest challenges and it is vital that we do everything we can,” Poche said in announcing the gift.
The University of Melbourne Poche Centre for Indigenous Health joins sister Poche centres at the University of Western Australia, Flinders University in Adelaide and the University of Sydney.
The University of Melbourne said the goal of Poche centres around Australia was to contribute significantly to improved Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and to close the gap in health outcomes between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people.
Associate Dean (Indigenous Development) at the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences at the University of Melbourne, Associate Professor Shaun Ewen, said the gift was an investment in the future health of the nation, and would play a critical role in closing the health gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
“To make real, long-term gains in Indigenous health, we need leadership from highly skilled, well-qualified Indigenous people who are able to mobilise action and build an agenda for change in their areas of health practice,” Professor Ewen said.
“The mission of the University of Melbourne Poche Centre for Indigenous Health is to develop the next generation of Indigenous leaders who will influence the strategic directions of institutions, be mentors for emerging Indigenous leaders, build enduring partnerships and influence the health outcomes of Australia so that the gap in health status between Indigenous and other Australians is closed.
“In addition to its rigorous training programs, the University says the Centre will provide support to meet the needs of future Indigenous health leaders as they undertake their PhD qualifications and postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Melbourne.
“The Centre, along with the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, will aim to achieve twenty new PhD enrolments for Indigenous people in health by 2020.”