From pediatric palliative care and humanitarian dental work to psychological support for First Australians, the 2018 Alumni Award Finalists showcase the rich diversity of Griffith’s Health alumni.
Outstanding Alumnus Award Finalist
Graduating with a Bachelor of Nursing in 1995, Gabrielle Quilliam is an international thought leader in paediatric palliative care and, with her husband, cofounded the only children’s hospice in Queensland – Hummingbird House. She is a certified midwife, and has worked both locally and overseas. Overseas, she worked for a humanitarian NGO (Medair) as part of a mobile medical response team in South Sudan and Angola. Back in Brisbane, she continued midwifery for a while, and then went on to become a foster parent caring for children with complex needs.
She is a Non-Executive Director of Health Consumers Queensland and a Non-Executive Director of the international charity Butterfly Children’s Hospice. Gabrielle has received a Premier’s Award for her community service and was 2017 Queensland State finalist for the Australian of the Year Awards.
Outstanding Young Alumnus Award Finalist
Ajitha Naidu Sugnanam graduated with a Bachelor of Oral Health in Dental Science in 2008 and a Graduate Diploma of Dentistry in 2010.
On graduating from Griffith, Ajitha joined the Royal Australian Air Force where she currently serves as Squadron Leader (one of only a handful of dentists Australia wide who hold this position). She strives daily for excellence in her chosen profession of dentistry, but also instigates and self-funds humanitarian work that changes people’s lives nationally and internationally.
From 2011 – 2013 she volunteered in Vietnam, India and Cambodia, where in conjunction with NGOs, she assessed and treated hundreds of children. She generously passes on her dental knowledge in various teaching capacities, including a humanitarian mission to Nepal in 2014, where she taught dental procedures to medical Interns. In addition, she returns to India annually on self-funded expeditions, to continue to maximise exposure in remote areas of India to basic health care.
“Griffith was a great place to gain a comprehensive training in dentistry,”says Ajitha. “We had some very inspiring lecturers teaching us and also a great exposure to the possibilities of a defence force career; something I had not seriously considered before.”
Outstanding First Peoples Alumnus Award Finalist
One of less than 20 male Aboriginal Registered Psychologists nationally, and a strong Gamilaroi man, Clinton Schultz founded Marumali Consultations to provide culturally responsive wellbeing support services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
A Bachelor of Psychological Science 2007 and Bachelor of Psychological Science with Honours 2008 graduate, Clinton consults around organisational cultural responsiveness, and on the Queensland Child Deaths Case Review Panel. He also provides key guidance on supporting Indigenous children.
In 2016 Clinton founded ‘Clinto’s Kupmurri’ food van to provide education about healthy, native focused foods and assist in creating understanding and appreciation of culture, wellness and nutrition. He also created ‘Sobah’ Australia’s first non-alcoholic Aboriginal owned craft beers and the aligned social venture ‘Sobah Initiative’ to provide funding and rehabilitation programs that are culturally responsive and founded on Indigenist principles of holistic wellbeing.
Outstanding International Alumni Finalist
Shirley (Poh Ching) Tay is the Director of Nursing at Mount Alvernia Hospital in Singapore, where she is part of the hospital Executive Team, dedicated to building affordable and safe healthcare. Ms Tay is also involved in the hospital’s outreach programs that care for the underprivileged in Singapore and Cambodia.
Graduating from Griffith with a Bachelor of Nursing in 2006, Shirley has 38 years’ nursing experience across medical clinics, private and restructured government hospitals, clinical quality, clinical informatics, healthcare management, operating theatres, ambulatory services, team building, collaborative partnerships and work process improvements. “I am honoured to receive the award,” says Shirley. “I will continue to help nurses grow to the best of my capacity and at the same time ensure they enjoy the work along their journey.”
Awards Night Gala
In a first for Griffith, the university will recognise four remarkable alumni for their outstanding achievements with the finalists in each academic area to be considered.
In the race for the Outstanding Alumni award, the already-known finalists in the Outstanding Alumni groups will be joined by Barry Thomas (GBS), Professor Paul Simshauser (GBS), Professor Phillip Di Bella (GBS) and Dr Jay Gambetta (Science) who join the field for the overall Outstanding Alumnus Award.
Overall and group winners will be celebrated at a gala dinner on Friday, September 7 2018 in Brisbane.