New Charles Sturt appointment to boost Indigenous engagement  

[by Bruce Andrews]


Professor Juanita Sherwood is Charles Sturt University’s new Pro Vice-Chancellor of Indigenous Engagement. Image: supplied

Charles Sturt University Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Engagement) Professor Heather Cavanagh announced the appointment of Professor Juanita Sherwood (pictured) as the University’s new Pro Vice-Chancellor of Indigenous Engagement.

Professor Cavanagh said, “I am delighted to welcome Professor Sherwood to Charles Sturt University.

“As a proud First Nations woman with Wiradjuri, Murri, Maori and Anglo-Celtic lineages, Professor Sherwood brings extensive professional experience in health, education, and research to the Indigenous engagement role.

“I look forward to working with her to enhance engagement with our communities and to developing our Indigenous research capacity.”

Professor Sherwood said she is honoured to bring her experience and knowledge back to her Country to share, grow with and learn from local communities, First Nations researchers and their non-Indigenous peers, and the Charles Sturt University community at large.

“The opportunity to work in this role is a dream come true,” Professor Sherwood said.

“It is a profound honour to be able to live on my Country and work alongside my people in building Indigenous-led research for our future generations.

“I am humbled and committed to listening to and learning from our Elders, and to building partnerships between community and Charles Sturt University in making change, healing and growing and sharing our Indigenous knowledges for a more just world.”

Professor Sherwood’s mother’s grandfather was born in Wagga Wagga and her family is connected to Country from Jerilderie through to Yass.

She has been a nurse, teacher, lecturer, and researcher for more than 35 years.

Her professional journey began in the early 1980s at St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney when it was the only hospital responding to the HIV and AIDS crisis.

Professor Sherwood was a first-hand witness of the harmful impacts of systemic discrimination on HIV and AIDS patients and their families at the time, and this shaped her path toward becoming a health advocate.

In 1988 in her role as a child and family health nurse in Redfern, she took up the fight for First Nation’s children with very high rates of ‘otitis media’ (middle ear infection).

Her work changed health and education outcomes for First Nation’s children across Australia and heralded a long-standing commitment to Indigenous health research as a social justice praxis.

Professor Sherwood is widely credited for increasing the uptake of Indigenous-centred research and decolonisation methods in Australia and recognising colonisation as the primary determinant of Indigenous health.

She is a strong proponent of cultural safety and is currently writing a book on this topic for Cengage Publications.

Professor Sherwood commenced in the role on Monday 25 May and will be based at the University in Bathurst.


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