Open letter to parties contesting the federal election 2019

Over 120 eminent health professionals, academics and community leaders have signed our open letter to parties contesting the federal election 2019 about the health of people with intellectual disability:

We write to urge you to commit to strong action to address the physical and mental health inequalities experienced by people with intellectual disability. These inequalities are long-standing but the urgency of action has been reinforced by the recent research showing that at least 38 percent of deaths of people with intellectual disability were potentially avoidable. This is over double the rate for the general population. (Trollor 2017, Public Advocate Qld 2016)

Concerted action is needed to lift the capacity of the health system to provide accessible and appropriate health care to people with intellectual disability of all ages and in all parts of Australia.

An immediate priority is enhancement of the training and skills of the health workforce including an emphasis on preventative care and early diagnosis of health conditions by general practitioners.

We support the call of the Council for Intellectual Disability and Inclusion Australia for you to commit to funding:

  1. A program in each Primary Health Network focused on enhancing the capacity and skills of GPs and other primary health services to provide quality health care to people with intellectual disability.

  2. Development and piloting of a curriculum enhancement 

The full list of signatories is below.

Go to the Our Health Counts campaign page to take action for the health of people with intellectual disability.

Full list of signatories

Professor Michael Kidd AM
Director, WHO Collaborating Centre on Family Medicine and Primary Care
Past president, Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
Past President, World Organization of Family Doctors

Associate Professor Mark Lane FRACP
President, Royal Australasian College of Physicians

Dr Kym Jenkins
President, Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists

Professor Kevin Forsyth
President, Academy of Child and Adolescent Health
Dean, People and Resources, College of Medicine and Public Health, Flinders University 

Eimear Muir-Cochrane
President, Australian College of Mental Health Nurses
Professor of Nursing, Flinders University

Adjunct Professor John Walsh AM
Associate Commissioner on the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Disability Care and Support

Robyn Kruk AO
Former Director-General, NSW Health and Premier’s Department
Former CEO, National Mental Health Commission

Emeritus Professor Ron McCallum AO
Former Dean of Law, University of Sydney
Past Chairperson, UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Rhonda Galbally AC

Robert Strike AM
Cofounder, Self Advocacy Sydney
Lifetime Achievement Award, National Disability Awards 2009

Graeme Innes AM
Former Disability Discrimination Commissioner
Past Chair, Disability Advisory Council of Australia

Dr Peter Langkamp
President, Carers Australia

Liz Marles
Past President, Royal Australian College of General Practitioners

Professor Shitij Kapur
Dean of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences
Assistant Vice Chancellor (Health), University of Melbourne

Professor Rodney Phillips
Dean of Medicine, UNSW Sydney
Former Vice-Dean of Medical Sciences, Oxford University
Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences

Peter Brooks
Hon Professor, Centre for Health Policy, and
Former Director, the Australian Health Workforce Institute, University of Melbourne
Former Executive Dean of Health Sciences, University of Queensland

Professor Helen McCutcheon
Head, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work
University of Queensland

Leslie White AM
Emeritus Professor of Paediatrics, UNSW Sydney
Former Executive Director Sydney Children’s Hospital
Inaugural NSW Chief Paediatrician (2010-2016)
Inaugural Chair, NSW Intellectual Disability Health Network (2012-2017)

Stephen Leeder AO
Emeritus Professor, Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Sydney
Editor-in-Chief, International Journal of Epidemiology

Ian Webster AO
Emeritus Professor of Public Health and Community Medicine, UNSW

Gordon Parker AO
Scientia Professor of Psychiatry, UNSW

Eileen Baldry
Deputy Vice Chancellor Inclusion and Diversity
Professor of Criminology, UNSW

Allan Fels AO
Patron, Mental Health Victoria
Former Chair, National Mental Health Commission

Professor Fiona Stanley AC
Founding Director, Telethon Kids Institute
Australian of the Year 2003

Kirsten Deane OAM
Campaign Director, Every Australian Counts

Ross Joyce
CEO, Australian Federation of Disability Organisations

Matthew Bowden and Therese Sands
Co-CEOs, People With Disability Australia

Frank Quinlan
CEO, Mental Health Australia

David Moody
A/CEO, National Disability Services

Michael Sullivan
Past Chairperson, Council for Intellectual Disability
Australian representative, Down Syndrome International Self Advocacy Group

Scientia Professor Helen Christensen
Director and Chief Scientist, Black Dog Institute

Kim Oates AM
Emeritus Professor, University of Sydney
Former CEO of Children’s Hospital at Westmead

Professor John Prins
Head, Melbourne Medical School
University of Melbourne

Emeritus Professor John Daly
Former Dean of Health, University of Technology Sydney
Former Head, WHO UTS Collaborating Centre for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Development

Alison Jones
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Health and Communities) and
Executive Dean, Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health, University of Wollongong

Professor Iain Graham
Dean of Health, Southern Cross University

Emeritus Professor Bruce Tonge
Former Director, Monash University Centre for Developmental Psychiatry and Psychology

Laurie Harkin AM
Emeritus Commissioner, Disability Services Commission, Victoria

Steve Kinmond,
Former Community and Disability Services Commissioner and Deputy Ombudsman NSW

Roger West AM
Former President, Guardianship Tribunal NSW
Former Community Services Commissioner NSW

Mary Burgess
Public Advocate Queensland

Professor Malcolm Hopwood
Past President, RANZCP
President of the Asian Federation of Psychiatric Associations

Maria Tomasic
Past President, RANZCP

Laura Hogan
President, Australasian Society for Intellectual Disability

Dr Linda Goddard
President, Professional Association of Nurses in Developmental Disabilities Australia (PANDDA)

Kevin Stone
Parent advocate, President Inclusion Australia and CEO, VALID

Catia Malaquias
Human Rights Award – Community Individual 2018
National Disability Award for Community Excellence 2017

Ann Sherry AO
Chair, UNICEF Australia

Emeritus Professor John Taplin
Former Pro Vice-Chancellor International, University of Adelaide

Claire Robbs
CEO, Life Without Barriers

Jo Toohey
CEO, The Benevolent Society

Professor Christine Bigby
Director, Living with Disability Research Centre and
Chair, Academic Board, La Trobe University

Emeritus Professor Errol Cocks
School of Occupational Therapy, Social Work & Speech Pathology
Curtin University

Professor Karen Fisher
Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW

Professor Bruce Bonyhady AM
Executive Chair and Director, Melbourne Disability Institute, University of Melbourne

Professor Gwynnyth Llewellyn
Co-Director, NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Disability and Health, University of Sydney
Head, WHO Collaborating Centre for Health Workforce Development in Rehabilitation and Long Term Care

Professor Anne Kavanagh
Co-Director, NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Disability and Health, University of Melbourne

Professor Richard Madden
Director, National Centre for Classification in Health, University of Sydney

Professor Carla Treloar
Director, Centre for Social Research in Health, UNSW

Professor Richard Bruggemann
College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Flinders University
Former CEO, Intellectual Disability Services Council, SA

Trevor Parmenter AM
Professor Emeritus, Sydney Medical School
Past President, International Association for the Study of Intellectual Disability

Monique Crowden
Self advocate and President, Speak Out Tasmania

Shu Hua Chan
Chairperson, Council for Intellectual Disability

Dell Stagg OAM
Parent advocate and President, SACID

Margaret Ward PSM
Parent advocate and past Deputy Chair, Disability Advisory Council of Australia

Harry McConnell
Director Institute for the Clinical Advancement of Neuroplasticity and
Clinical Sub Dean and Professor of Neuropsychiatry and Neurodisability,
Griffith University

Stewart Einfeld
Emeritus Professor, Brain & Mind Centre
University of Sydney

Joanna Quilty
CEO, NCOSS

Morrie O'Connor
Co-ordinator, Community Living Association
Chair, ASID Queensland Division

Professor Nick Lennox
Past President, Australian Association of Developmental Disability Medicine
Former Director, Queensland Centre on Intellectual and Developmental Disability

Dr Helen Beange AM
Founder, Developmental Disability Health Unit

Adj Associate Professor Bob Davis
Director Clinical Services, Centre for Developmental Disability Health, Melbourne
Minister for Health General Practitioner Award 2014

Keith McVilly
Professor of Disability and Inclusion, University of Melbourne

Roger Stancliffe
Professor of Intellectual Disability, Centre for Disability Research and Policy, University of Sydney
Past Editor, Journal of Intellectual & Developmental Disability

Teresa Iacono
Professor of Rural and Regional Allied Health, La Trobe University

Jeanette Moss AM
Parent advocate and former Chair, Council for Intellectual Disability

Belinda Epstein-Frisch AM
Family advocate

Jeremy Ward
Parent advocate and first CEO, Queensland Advocacy Incorporated

Phil Foreman AM
Emeritus Professor and former Dean of Education, University of Newcastle

Emeritus Professor Robert Conway
Former Dean of Education, Flinders University
Former Director, Special Education Centre, University of Newcastle

Iva Strnadová
Professor of Special Education and Disability Studies and Academic Lead Research, Disability Innovation Institute, UNSW

Professor Michael Arthur-Kelly
School of Education University of Newcastle

Donna Best
Self-advocate and Convenor, Brisbane Hot Topics Group

Janene Cootes AM
Executive Officer, Intellectual Disability Rights Service

Andrew Richardson
CEO, House With No Steps

Danielle Newport
CEO, Activ

Gordon Trewern
CEO, Nulsen Disability Services

Andrew Cashin
Professor of Nursing, Southern Cross University

Rob Moodie
Professor of Public Health, University of Melbourne

Professor Angus Buchanan
Head of School of Occupational Therapy, Social Work and Speech Pathology,
Curtin University

Eric Emerson
Emeritus Professor of Disability and Health Research, Lancaster University
Honorary Professor, Centre for Disability Research and Policy, University of Sydney

Professor W Ted Brown
President, Fragile X Association of Australia Inc
Former Director, New York State Institute for Basic Research (IBR) in Developmental Disabilities

Professor Julian Trollor
Chair, Intellectual Disability Mental Health and
Head, Department of Developmental Disability Neuropsychiatry, School of Psychiatry, UNSW Sydney

Jacqueline Small
Developmental Paediatrician
President, Australian Association of Developmental Disability Medicine

Michelle O’Flynn
Director, Queensland Advocacy Incorporated

Paige Armstrong
CEO, Queenslanders with Disability Network

Eric Greentree
President, Parent to Parent Queensland

Mal Cronstedt AFSM
Chair, Developmental Disability WA

Fiona McKenzie
Past Chairperson, Council for Intellectual Disability
Ambassador 2009, Don’t DIS My ABILTY

Leisa Hart
CEO, Disability Services Australia

Rachel Green
CEO, Independent Community Living Association Australia

Jaqui Mills
Parent advocate and finalist in Western Australian of the Year awards 2018

Alan Robinson
Parent advocate

Gail Mulcair
CEO, Speech Pathology Australia

Jon Isaacs
Chair. Ability Options

Margaret Bowen
CEO, The Disability Trust

Professor Bronwyn Hemsley,
Head of Speech Pathology, University of Technology Sydney

Professor Susan Balandin
Chair in Disability and Inclusion, Deakin University

Professor Jill Wilson AO
Director of Research, School of Midwifery, Nursing and Social Work, University of Queensland

Professor Patricia O’Brien
Director, Centre for Disability Studies, Sydney Medical School
Former Director, National Institute for Intellectual Disability, Trinity College, Dublin

Associate Professor Jennifer Smith-Merry
Director, Centre for Disability Research and Policy
University of Sydney

Associate Professor Sally Robinson
Centre for Children and Young People, Southern Cross University

Honorary Professor Kelley Johnson
Social Policy Research Centre UNSW and
School of Health and Social Development, Deakin University

Professor Leanne Dowse
Chair, Intellectual Disability Behaviour Support, UNSW

Angus Graham OAM
Chairman, Down Syndrome Australia

Paul O’Dea
Self-advocate and Director, (Queensland Division Representative) ASID

Robert Allen
Parent advocate and Chair, Speak Out Tasmania

Glenn Foard
CEO, Melba Support Services

Marina Re
CEO, Identity WA

Dr Rhonda Faragher
Deputy Head, School of Education and
Director, Down Syndrome Research Program, University of Queensland

Dr Jane Tracy
Director, Centre for Developmental Disability Health Victoria

Associate Professor David Harley
Director, Queensland Centre for Intellectual and Developmental Disability

Cecile Sullivan Elder
CEO, Family Advocacy NSW

Michael Bleasedale
CEO, ADACAS Advocacy

Adj Associate Professor Leanne Raven FAICD
Parent Advocate; Director, Port Phillip Specialist School Foundation
Past Chairman, Eastern Melbourne Medicare Local Founding Director, Eastern Melbourne PHN

Endorsements as at 25 March 2019

Contact Jim Simpson, Senior Advocate, Council for Intellectual Disability
02 92111611 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

First published 1 April 2018


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