Professor Rhonda Marriott has been awarded as a Member (AM) of the Order of Australia (General Division) in recognition of her significant service to tertiary education, to Indigenous health, and to nursing.Professor Marriott has worked tirelessly to identify ways to help Aboriginal families become healthier and more resilient over the course of her 50-year career in nursing, midwifery and academia.
Murdoch University Vice Chancellor Eeva Leinonen said the awarding of the AM to Professor Marriott was thoroughly deserved recognition of her distinguished careers in Nursing, Academia and Aboriginal health and wellbeing.
This is wonderful recognition of Rhonda’s work over more than 50 years to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal families,” Professor Leinonen said.“Since joining Murdoch in 2003 as our first Head of the School of Nursing, she has built up a strong research profile, developed high-quality courses and created new entry pathways for students.
“Her more recent appointments as Murdoch’s first Pro Vice Chancellor, Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Leadership, and as the inaugural Director of the Ngangk Yira Research Centre, provide a powerful platform for Rhonda to continue her life’s work to grow strong Aboriginal communities.
“Her contribution to Australia – and in particular to the health and welfare of Aboriginal people – is exceptional. On behalf of Murdoch University, I extend my most sincere congratulations to Rhonda.”
Professor Marriott’s research interests and expertise include culturally inclusive clinical best practice, incorporation of social and emotional wellbeing concepts into models of health care, Aboriginal maternal and early childhood, cultural competence, and capacity building the Indigenous health workforce.
“It is such a ‘warm hug’ of a feeling to know how proud my family is that I have been acknowledged.
“Importantly though, receiving this acknowledgment means some of the issues of most significance to me will now be put under the spotlight.
“In particular, Aboriginal maternal and newborn disparities, insufficient Aboriginal nurses and midwives in our health systems, and the continuing ‘blinkeredness’ that we see in society for those who struggle through no fault of their own.”
Of all her achievements and the contributions made throughout her rewarding career, two moments stand out as highlights.
Having the opportunity to be the first Indigenous Head of a University School of Nursing here at Murdoch University is a definite highlight,” said Professor Marriott.
“From its humble beginnings of just over twenty students, the School has gone on the stellar heights. I watch those continuing achievements proudly and am humbled to have been there at the beginning.
“The other achievement that stands out is establishing Ngangk Yira. In two years, the Centre has achieved incredible work and I am proud to be working with amazingly passionate staff who share and build on my vision to make a difference.”
A quiet and humble achiever, Professor Marriott said she was honoured to receive this recognition and hoped it would motivate and support others to strive to always be the best they can be.
“We all have the opportunity every day to do something of meaning. I challenge everyone to go that extra distance because while individually it may only be a small thing, cumulatively it is powerful and really does make a difference,” Professor Marriott said.