Associate Professor Maree Toombs is the Associate Dean (Indigenous Engagement) for the Faculty of Medicine. From her experience teaching Indigenous students, Maree observed a pattern in young Indigenous Australians disengaging from education and has worked ever since to understand and help bridge the gap. Maree’s expertise is in the mental health of Indigenous Australians and exploring the interface between Indigenous and Western research methodologies. Maree is heavily involved in NHMRC projects focusing on mental health, suicide prevention and other chronic disease accumulating in over $11 million in research funding. Maree has dedicated her career to serving the community and, as such, is guided by the community in which areas are important for research. Her publications have been used to influence policy in Australia and the United Kingdom. With 20 years’ experience in teaching and developing curriculum with an Indigenous perspective both in education and health, Maree has improved the way people culturally work with Indigenous Australians in urban, rural and remote areas.
Maree is a member of Australian Medical Council as well as an advisory board member for St Vincent’s Hospital and current chair of the Carbal Medical Service (Toowoomba and Warwick). Maree’s current projects include: The Mob Van, a mobile caravan which aims to provide primary health care to Aboriginal communities around Toowoomba; and I-ASIST, a culturally-tailored training established to address the increasing rates of suicide among Indigenous people living in rural and remote areas.
As a recipient of a Churchill Fellowship, and a published author Maree’s research has also focused on improving retention rates for Indigenous students at Universities in Canada. Working closely with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Unit and Poche Centre for Indigenous Health, Maree will assist the Faculty of Medicine in implementing their Reconciliation Action Plan as well as ensuring the continued support of Indigenous students at UQ.