Events Calendar

Apr 25

Better Together Event

Better Together Dialogue: Unlocking Cultural Healing

Better Together Dialogue
"Unlocking Cultural Healing: Australian Aboriginal Youth Health, Constitutional Recognition, and Treaty Aspirations"

Date: Thursday, April 25
Time: 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. EDT
For in-person event, lunch will be served at 12:30 p.m.
Location: Zoom and Minot Conference Room (Room 506), Countway Library, 10 Shattuck Street, Boston, MA 02115

Register for this dialogue.

Amidst a turbulent history, marked by the arrival of the English in the late 1700s, Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people faced annihilation as introduced diseases and massacres decimated the population to less than 100,000 individuals. Despite this dark past, Aboriginal people today, now number almost 1 million. However, recent disappointment arose from the failure of a 2023 referendum vote to amend the Australian constitution to recognise First Nations people and also establish an Indigenous Voice to Parliament. With one modern treaty and several other regional treaties being negotiated the health of Aboriginal youth emerges as a crucial barometer of intergenerational well-being for both individuals and communities. Globally, indigenous people are promoting culture as the pathway to future health. What does this mean for Australia and how can it be integrated into existing health care frameworks to respond to the needs of Aboriginal youth, their families and communities.


Sandra Eades,  AO FASSA FAHMS FTSE, is a Mineng Noongar woman. Noongar means ‘a person of the south-west of Western Australia,’ or the name for the ‘original inhabitants of the south-west of Western Australia’ who collectively are one of the largest Aboriginal cultural blocks in Australia. Noongar are made up of fourteen different language groups (which may be spelt in different ways): Amangu, Yued/Yuat, Whadjuk/Wajuk, Binjareb/Pinjarup, Wardandi, Balardong/Ballardong, Nyakinyaki, Wilman, Ganeang, Bibulmun/Piblemen, Mineng, Goreng and Wudjari and Njunga. Each of these language groups correlates with different geographic areas with ecological distinctions. Noongar have ownership of our own kaartdijin (knowledge) and culture.

Professor Eades is an esteemed Aboriginal health leader. She is Deputy Dean Indigenous in the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences and the Rowden White Chair in Indigenous Health Equity at the University of Melbourne in Australia. Sandra graduated in 1990 as one of a handful of Australia’s first Aboriginal people to be trained in medicine. She went on to be the first Indigenous Australian to complete a medical degree and be awarded a PhD in medicine. She has led major reform to Australia’s funding of Aboriginal health research, conceiving a process to write Australia’s first national roadmap for Aboriginal health research. In 2002 she successfully presented a case for the National Health and Medical Research Council (“NHMRC”), Australia's leading expert body for health and medical research, to make Aboriginal health research a priority, embed Aboriginal people in the structure and committees of the NHMRC and commit at least 5% of national health funding to Aboriginal health. These changes were also maintained for the Medical Research Future Fund (“MRFF”), a research fund set up by the Australian Government, in 2015.

Professor Eades is trained in medicine, epidemiology and Public Health and has 188 peer reviewed publications. She is a co-author of the Indigenous Medicine book to be published in 2024 as part of the highly successful book series on First Knowledges in Australia. She leads several major research programs, including the establishment of the Next Generation Youth Health study involving 1200 Aboriginal youth. Her early research guided the integration of maternal and child health into comprehensive national Aboriginal primary health care programs. Sandra sits on the Boards of the Burnet Institute for Medical Research in Melbourne, the Derbarl Yerrigan Aboriginal Health Service in Perth, Western Australia and is the Chief Medical Advisor First Nations Health, to the Heart Foundation of Australia.

This event is co-sponsored by the Office for Diversity Inclusion and Community Partnership (DICP), Center for the History of Medicine at Countway Library, the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, and the  Harvard University Native American Program (HUNAP).