Because of Her I must …
Adrian Carson and Aunty Pamela Mam
Adrian Carson has worked in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health for more than 25 years and has been the CEO of the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health since 2011.
Adrian nominated Aunty Pamela Mam’s story to lead the Because of Her campaign, a celebration of women who have made our communities what they are today.
Aunty Pamela Mam (Aunty Pam) was one of the first Aboriginal nurses in Queensland. She was the first Nurse Manager of the Aboriginal and Islanders Community Health Service Brisbane (now ATSICHS Brisbane) and the first Manager of the Jimbelunga Nursing Centre – where she worked for 15 years.
Raised on Palm Island, Aunty Pam started working as a Nurse Aide at Palm Island Hospital, later receiving permission to train as a nurse at Townsville Hospital.
She went on to study midwifery at the Royal Women’s Hospital in Brisbane and in conjunction with her late husband, Uncle Steve Mam, was hugely active in advocating for and establishing many services that exist today.
Adrian says that he chose to nominate Aunty Pam because of the sacrifices she has made to lead our community to where we are today. He says, “She has supported IUIH since we were established in 2009 and has always been here for us when we needed her.
“Aunty Pam is a great leader in the community and we are so lucky to have her as our patron. Her hard work and tireless efforts to make sure we are accessing the health care we need in the way that we need it has made a huge impact on the health of our people.
“Through her amazing work in the community, she connects all of us to our humble beginnings.”
He mentions that Aunty Pam has impacted his life greatly by providing support within the work that IUIH does. He says, “She has always been a great support for me, she always gives a good counsel, and she’s there when I need her.”
“She lives by three words, commitment, compassion and dedication. These are the qualities that IUIH as an organisation reflects on when working with and for our people.”
Aunty Pam continues to serve as the patron for IUIH, and supports many other community projects that focuses on improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in South East Queensland.
To recognise Aunty Pam’s contribution the Because of Her project was launched at Aunty Pam’s 80th birthday celebration held at Jimbelunga Nursing Centre in March this year.
Share your own story of a deadly woman in your life at www.facebook.com/IUIHBecauseofHer
Image: Adrian Carson (IUIH), Aunty Pamela Mam, Jody Currie (ATSICHS Brisbane)