Pat Anderson AO is an Alyawarre woman and national and international advocate for the health of Australia’s First Nations people. She has extensive experience in Aboriginal health, including community development, policy formation, and research ethics.
Pat has spoken before the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous People, has been the CEO of Danila Dilba Health Service in Darwin, Chair of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, Chair of the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory, and was the Chair of the CRC for Aboriginal Health from 2003 to 2009.
She has served as co-chair of the Prime Minister’s Referendum Council, is the current Chairperson of the Remote Area Health Corporation, and the Chairperson of the Lowitja Institute. She is also the Chairperson of the Batchelor Institute Council, and the inaugural Patron of WoSSCA, the Women’s Safety Services of Central Australia.
Pat Anderson has published many essays, papers and articles, including co-authoring with Rex Wild QC of Little Children Are Sacred, a report on the abuse of Aboriginal children in the Northern Territory.
In 2007, Pat was awarded the Public Health Association of Australia’s Sidney Sax Public Health Medal in recognition of her achievements. She was awarded the Human Rights Community Individual Award (Tony Fitzgerald Memorial Award) in 2012 and the Human Rights Medal in 2016 by the Australian Human Rights Commission. In 2019, she was named a Menzies School of Health Companion in recognition of her exceptional contribution and support to the continued development and success of the Menzies School of Health Research.
Pat won the public policy category Australian Financial Review and Westpac 100 Women of Influence Awards in 2015, and in 2018, the National NAIDOC Committee recognised her lifelong contribution with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
In 2013, Pat received an honorary doctorate from Flinders University. Edith Cowan University conferred on Ms Anderson a Doctor of Medical Science honoris causa in 2017. The University of New South Wales awarded Pat an honorary Doctor of Laws in recognition of her advocacy of social justice and lasting change for Australia’s First Peoples.
In December 2019, the University of Melbourne admitted her to the degree of Doctor of Laws honoris causa in recognition of her exemplary, inclusive leadership, her forthright advocacy for the advancement and recognition of Indigenous communities and voices, and her highly distinguished contributions to health research that benefit not just Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples but the nation at large.
Pat was appointed Officer of the Order of Australia in 2014 for distinguished service to the Indigenous community as a social justice advocate, particularly through promoting improved health, and educational and protection outcomes for children.