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Queensland locals working to close the eye health gap

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The Fred Hollows Foundation welcomed Country Director Vincent Bin Dol and Program Manager Tanya Morris to take the helm of its Indigenous Australia Program.  

As proud Indigenous North Queenslanders, Vincent and Tanya bring fresh perspectives and determination to The Foundation’s efforts to close the gap in eye health between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and other Australians.  

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples are three times more likely to be blind than other Australians but will wait almost 40% longer for cataract surgery. Currently, it’s estimated that over 18,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults over the age of 40 are living with vision impairment or blindness.  

In these pivotal roles, Vincent and Tanya will support The Foundation to continue its work with partner organisations delivering culturally appropriate eye care services to remote and under resourced Indigenous communities Australia wide.  

“As a proud Torres Strait Islander man, I am committed to contributing to sustainable eye health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and I am honoured to contribute to the legacy of Professor Fred Hollows,” said Vincent. 

This renewed focus will be fully informed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and social justice leaders, seek public accountability and to ensure that The Foundation is a true ally.  

“By amplifying the voices of those facing barriers to healthcare, I strive to create positive change and work towards a future where everyone has equal access to the resources and support they need to thrive,” said Tanya. 

In Queensland, The Foundation partners with several organisations to deliver culturally competent eye care services to communities including Palm Island, Mt Isa and Mornington Island. 

Vincent has an extensive professional history with a keen interest in social justice and community development. Vincent’s professional qualities lay in the implementation of strategic direction, achieving organisational growth and ensuring the delivery of high-quality services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. Vincent’s extensive experience is at the executive level in both Government and NGOs with a career spanning 31 years working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.   

Related:The Fred Hollows Foundation pays tribute to trailblazing Aboriginal nurse and life member Jilpia Nappaljari Jones AM

“My approach to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities is through co-design, and having genuine conversations so we get it right the first time. Only then can we design capacity-strengthening models that improve the eye health needs of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.”    

“In the words of Fred Hollows, ‘The basic rule of human nature is that powerful people speak for the powerless; when you’re in a position to help others, you should do it.,” said Tanya.  

As a proud descendant of the Bar-Barrum people from the Atherton Tablelands and raised in the Burdekin, Tanya said that this has laid the foundation for a career dedicated to Indigenous health and chronic disease.  

“My upbringing in these rural areas instilled a deep appreciation for the unique health challenges faced by communities living in remote regions.” 

With a background in nursing and more extensively in public health, Tanya has channelled my passion into addressing the health disparities prevalent in rural and remote areas, particularly among Indigenous populations.  

“I recognise the disparities and barriers that exist in accessing quality healthcare, particularly for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families.” 

“This awareness fuels my determination to advocate for equitable health access for all, ensuring that no one is left behind due to systemic inequalities,” added Tanya. 

Check out Third Sector’s 4th National Indigenous Empowerment Summit!

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Menchie Khairuddin is a writer Deputy Content Manager at Akolade and content producer for Third Sector News. She is passionate about social affairs specifically in mixed, multicultural heritage and not-for-profit organisations.

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