Staff Highlight – Shawana Andrews, First Indigenous Board Member

At the end of 2021, AV welcomed Dr Shawana Andrews as it’s first Indigenous Board Member. Shawana is a Palawa Trawlwoolway woman with a strong connection to her culture, community and country in Tasmania.

As Director and Associate Professor at the Poche Centre for Indigenous Health at the University of Melbourne, and Associate Professor at the Department of Social Work, Shawana is an excellent fit for the agency. With a professional background in paediatric health social work and public health, she brings deep knowledge of the social welfare system.

“Through my voice, I want to reflect community needs, wants and desires, which is really all around family.”

Shawana innately understands the journey to strengthen identity and connection to culture that young Aboriginal people embark on with Buldau Yioohgen. Shawana grew up knowing her identity but had to forge new relationships and connections to country. She has done this and is now strong in her identity as a member of Melythina Tiakana Warrana Aboriginal Corporation. One highlight that continues today is their annual family trip to Tebrakunna, north-east Tasmania, where Shawana’s children now learn cultural practice and language and celebrate their ancestors on Country.

Shawana is passionate about amplifying the Aboriginal voice and cultural safety across AV’s agency and supports Buldau Yioohgen’s work to change the “deficit narrative” about Aboriginal people and raise our expectations for our young Indigenous people.

“You can be well educated, have a well-paid job and drive a fancy car— and you can be strong in your culture as well; you are not somehow a lesser Aboriginal person. The two can sit together.”

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