The Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC) is saddened by the recent death of Aunty Pamela Mam (Aunty Pam) who passed away on Friday 17 January 2020.
QAIHC sends our sincere condolences to Aunty Pam’s family and many friends during this difficult time.
Aunty Pam was inducted into the QAIHC Hall of Fame in 2008 as recognition for her leadership and commitment to improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.
She is credited with pioneering improvements in health by ensuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people got access to culturally appropriate health services.
Growing up on Palm Island, Aunty Pam started working as a Nurse Aid in Palm Island Hospital and continued to work there for four years.
She completed her general training at Townsville Hospital between the years 1954 and 1959 and then went on to Midwifery at the Royal Women’s Hospital.
QAIHC Chairperson, Gail Wason said Pam has been an inspiration to many.
“For over 60 years she dedicated her life to establishing health services and improved health service delivery which has made an enormous difference to generations of people. Her long career is a truly remarkable and outstanding feat,” she said.
Aunty Pam was one of Queensland’s first Aboriginal nurses when she graduated from Townsville Hospital in 1959.
During her lifetime, Aunty Pam was instrumental in establishing the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service (ATSICHS) Brisbane in 1973 and supported the establishment and expansion of other Community Controlled Health Services across South East Queensland; inspiring the establishment of the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health in 2009.
Aunty Pam also played a key role in supporting the operation of Jimbelunga Nursing Home at Eagleby operated by ATSICHS Brisbane.
QAIHC CEO, Neil Willmett expressed that the community has lost a real trailblazer and an incredibly humble leader.
“Many will talk about her successful professional life and forging a career in the difficult and complex world of health, but Aunty Pam also succeeded tremendously in her personal life and was loved and cared for by many.”
“Across Queensland, Aunty Pam has been a motivational role model to many people, encouraging and supporting them to lead change like she did,” he said.
QAIHC pays tribute to Aunty Pam for her dedication and leadership in health and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community and send our sincere condolences to Aunty Pam’s family and her many friends.