Dr Mark Wenitong

Aboriginal Public Health Medical Officer, Apunipima Cape York Health Council

Dr Wenitong (Adjunct Prof QUT) is about the 6th Aboriginal Doctor (Kabi Kabi of South East Qld) to graduate in Australia and is currently the Director of Research Knowledge Translation for the Lowitja Institute and the inaugural Chair of the Queensland Health State-wide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clinical network (2021).

For the last 12 years prior to this, Mark was the Senior Public Health Medical Advisor, Senior Medical Officer, clinician, and health service policy and strategic planning advisor for Apunipima Cape York Health Council including the remote social and emotional wellbeing programs as well as the prison wellbeing program. He has been involved in the SEWB responses to major trauma and multiple fatality events in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in FNQ.

In 2013 Mark was the Aboriginal Public Health Medical Officer for the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation. (NACCHO) and acting CEO for NACCHO, Canberra.

Prior to this he was the Senior Medical Officer at Wuchopperen Health Service in Cairns.

He is also involved in national policy, as well as a number of research programs.

Mark sits on the board of GDPS (National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health Leadership Group) and was previously a member of the Queensland Mental Health Commission Advisory Board, CEQ (Remote Stores), and others.

He co-chairs the national co-design group for the national evaluation of the IAHP, and sits on the IPAG (national implementation group of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health plan) as well as the national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Genomics group.

He was a founding member and past president of the Australian Indigenous Doctors Association and previously the medical advisor to the Australian Dept of Health (OATSIHS).

His awards include:

  • National Public Health Award – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health 2020
  • Newcastle University Alumni Award 2019
  • Wuchopperen Health Service Lifetime Award
  • Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council – Hall of Fame 2010
  • AMA Federal Award – Excellence in primary health care 2011
  • Best research publication MJA 2014

Mark's current work entails high level policy, health service planning, organisational collaboration, research, as well as translating evidence to practice in primary health care including the effects of colonialism with respect to allostatic load and chronic diseases in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and cultural determinants of health.

As part of this, Mark has been instrumental in developing an evidence-based Family Centered Primary Health Care model for Cape York. He also has worked in international aid and community development as well as work in east Timor during the war. He has studied internationally at the Johns Hopkins Summer School for Indigenous Health, the Harvard Leadership in Medical education, and previously at the CDC in Atlanta during his 11 years as a pathology technician.