• Speakers

Plenary 4 - Lore / Law / Justice

Professor Juanita Sherwood

University of Sydney

Professor Juanita Sherwood is a highly respected champion of cultural change and social justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

A proud Wiradjuri woman, Professor Sherwood has led Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander engagement at the University of Sydney since August 2017 as Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Strategy and Services). She has been a driving force behind building cultural competence across Australia, and was the founding Director of the National Centre for Cultural Competence (NCCC), which is housed on the University’s main campus in Camperdown. She pioneered the NCCC’s Cultural Competence Leadership Program for University staff from all backgrounds – one of her proudest achievements.

Professor Sherwood maintains close connections to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, consulting regularly with Elders to guide her decision making and ensure her change agenda meets critical community needs.

She is also an accomplished health and Indigenous education scholar. During her 30-year career, which she started as a registered nurse, she has been an inspirational mentor to thousands of students and a lifelong learner. Her own studies culminated in a PhD (at the University of New South Wales), and her most influential teaching roles include:

• Adjunct Professor of Public Health, James Cook University
• Professor of Australian Indigenous Education, Faculties of Arts and Social Science and Health, University of Technology, Sydney
• Senior Lecturer and Academic Coordinator, Nura Gili, University of NSW.

Professor Sherwood divides her time between her academic responsibilities and her research, but each role complements the others. Her research keeps her grounded and enriches her work as Deputy Vice-Chancellor because it gives her first-hand insights into Aboriginal communities and their stories.

Professor Sherwood has been awarded more than $2.5 million by the National Health and Medical Research Council to conduct two important new research projects, due to finish in 2022. One focuses on developing and evaluating birthing on Country primary maternity units, and the other is framed around decolonising practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary health care.

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