David has been the CEO of AWAHS for 15 years, having led the organisation from a single site with 10 employees in 2008, to now, employing over 75 staff across 3 operational sites in both NSW and Victoria.
With over 25 years’ experience working in the health industry, specialising in drug and alcohol counselling and intensive case management and high-risk support services, David has enjoyed close working relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their families throughout his career. His commitment to improving generational health change, as well his interest and connection to community led David to apply as CEO at AWAHS, a remit which has seen extraordinary growth.
When asked, ‘what is special about your time at AWAHS’, David says opening the Glenroy building in 2009 was significant. ‘It was the culmination of years of community consultation and valuable interactions in which we were able to secure funding and bring to fruition what the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community needed and had dreamed of, for a long time’.
Going forward, AWAHS growth plans include the development of a Wodonga site, equally impressive to that of Glenroy. The inaccessibility to healthcare brought about by COVID-19 cross border restrictions and the negative impact it had on community escalated the urgency to develop a more comprehensive healthcare offering on the Victorian side. The development is due to commence toward the end of 2023.
David’s leadership style, and the team he’s developed is testament to the success of AWAHS and its reputation within the broader community. His collaborative and consultative approach, and the teams’ professionalism ensures that AWAHS is accountable in its service delivery. ‘We’ve built a service that people can access equally, without prejudice’, says David. Recognising that AWAHS is driven by the work that needs to be done, as well the commitment of staff ensures the community benefits.
His goal is that AWAHS improves generational health change, and particularly for the organisation to have a positive impact on the younger people coming through. David would like for AWAHS to stand to be a part of the generational health change for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people for years to come, and for the organisation to continue to deliver on its promise.