PAHA Newsletter

Pilbara Health Challenge 2023

Issue #04   |  December 2023


CEO Report

Chris Pickett

As we head toward Christmas and reflect on the year nearly gone, I have a few standouts. PAHA has done some great work this year and bought nearly $10million of new health projects into the Pilbara. The Australian Family Partnership Program and Culture Care Connect are at the sharp edge of this investment and will impact in a big way over the coming year.

There are other smaller projects in the pipeline which give me great heart that there is a policy shift toward greater investment in preventive health. This is exciting. You don’t always see the immediate results but it’s the only way to stop that ambulance at the bottom of the cliff.

The Yule River meeting was another standout. Quite a spiritual event for me. The Call to Action Statement from the meeting has just been released and PAHA hopes to be working at the forefront of the health initiatives in that statement and it will help guide our activities through PAHA and the Pilbara Aboriginal Health Planning Forum.

There was however a pall over the year and we all know what it was. I don’t want to dwell on it except to say it was a very disappointing result and a lost opportunity. But if there is anything I have learned working alongside our First Nations people over the past 23 years there is an incredible resilience; passionate and dedicated people who will drive for better outcomes and not let this setback deter them. PAHA will do its best to be your voice on health issues.

I am grateful to have such a great little team at PAHA. They make my working life a pleasure. So thanks Winnie, Kesi-M, Sam, Brianna, Lutanna, Sandy and Jodie for all your hard work. And a big thankyou to my colleague CEOs Joan, June and Robby and my amazing Board whose guidance and insights lead me every day.

Have a wonderful and safe break.

Good News

Pilbara Health Challenge 2023

Pilbara Health Challenge

The Department of Health’s Pilbara Global Health Challenge– was a special experience to share with a fantastic group of people. We covered a lot of ground in a short amount of time – more than 1100 kilometres in 3 days (not counting the odd scenic route our driver took us on…)

The tour was months in planning, and we couldn’t have pulled it off without support from Dr Stacey Waters and Patrick Callaghan from the Department of Health. Our group was warmly received at each of the clinics and medical centres, and we are incredibly grateful to each of them for opening their doors to us.

A special thanks also to Justine Griffin and the entire WACHS team for their work in supporting the tour and the Challenge program overall. Our visits to the WACHS hospitals and health campuses required the valuable time and attention of many senior executive and clinical staff, and their participation in our program is greatly appreciated.

We would also like to thank the Minister for Medical Research, the Hon Stephen Dawson MLC, for taking the time to join us across 2 days of the tour. Our dinner with the Minister at Mia Mia after the Jigalong visit was a rare and valued opportunity to reflect together on The Challenge and tour so far. This ministerial focus and attention on The Challenge and on your solutions highlights the value of the program and of your innovative work.

Member Highlights

Member Highlights


Richard Ansey

Board Member

Richard Ansey has been MHS Chairperson for the past 4 years, and has taken a strong interest in the health and wellbeing of the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander community. Richard has lived in the Pilbara since the age of 10 years and originates from Mer Island in the Torres Strait. Richard proudly calls the Pilbara home; and is married with three children.

Sam Barba

Samantha Barba

AFPP Nurse Coordiantor

Sam has spent the last 20 years passionately working within the child health system throughout WA.  Sam has a key focus on primary, holistic, sustainable, and preventative health within remote communities.  Sam has formed solid relationships within the three Pilbara AMS’s as a clinical nurse with the WA RHD Register and Control Program. Sam enjoys mentoring and supporting local clinicians with education and resources that support preventive, sustainable solutions for their clients and communities and looks forward to continuing her professional relationships with Pilbara AMS’s whilst working towards the AFPP program goals of improving outcomes in pregnancy and child health development.


Winsome Henry

Executive Operations Manager

Winsome Henry AFCHSM is a non-Indigenous primary health care service manager with extensive experience in rural and remote settings, including services co-designed with Aboriginal communities. Winnie has a steadfast commitment to human rights, social justice and health equity. She is highly regarded for service improvements and developing partnerships for common goals.


NACCHO Pilbara Family


Another great turn out from the Pilbara mob at this year’s NACCHO Conference, yet again one of the biggest region representations.  Our very own Kesi-Maree Prior delivered a riveting presentation on Culture Care Connect which is funded through NACCHO and she is successfully rolling out through the Pilbara.  One of the highlights apart from two full days of presenters would be the Karaoke evening where Minister Butler shined brightly with his Elvis rendition.


The very first I-ASIST for the Inland Pilbara was held on the 29th & 30th November in Newman. I-ASIST is a 2-day suicide intervention skills workshop delivered in a culturally appropriate way. This training was made possible by Puntukurnu Aboriginal Medical Service and was facilitated by our Culture Care Connect Coordinator Kesi-Maree and PAMS’s Community Health Programs Manager Beck Johnson. Congratulations to the 12 newly trained suicide first aiders across Newman, Perth, and Tom Price. If you would like more information on suicide awareness and intervention training, you can reach out to [email protected]


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