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2023 Lifetime Achievement Awards

We awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award to four recipients in 2023. The awards were presented on 22 November at the Leading Reform Summit 2023. 

Stephen Kelly 

In honour of distinguished service, significant contribution and leadership in the alcohol and other drugs sector and lived experience in Queensland. 

Stephen Kelly standing with Commissioner Ivan Frkovic receiving the award

Citation: For over 20 years, Stephen Kelly has volunteered and been a passionate leader, ground-breaker and respected elder within the alcohol and other drug lived and living experience community and movement. Over the last two decades he has worked with incorporated associations and community-based organisations that focus on community health and development, harm reduction, drug addiction treatment and counselling. 

Stephen was one of the founding members of QuIVAA (Queensland Injectors Voice for Advocacy and Action) in 1987 and also served as Executive Director and Secretary  toQuIHN (Queensland Injectors Health Network) since its inception in 2004. He is also a former Executive Director/Co-Chair and Secretary of Hepatitis Queensland. 

Stephen has been a guiding member of the alcohol and other drugs peer workforce, advocating for systemic change and real improvement in the way alcohol and other drugs services are delivered in Queensland, as well as elevating the voice of lived experience across the system. 

Gabrielle Vilic 

In honour of distinguished service, significant contribution and leadership in mental health and lived experience in Queensland. 

Gabrielle Vilic standing with Commissioner Ivan Frkovic receiving the award

Citation: Gabrielle Vilic is a leading light in the lived experience movement, who has worked with courage, compassion and tenacity to pave the way for the development of the lived experience (peer) workforce in Queensland, and more broadly in Australia.  

Over the last 30 years Gabrielle has worked in lived/living experience roles across the non-government and government sectors, championing the voices of those with lived/living experience. 

Her experience has included roles at Mental Illness Education, Mental Health Association, SANE, and Queensland Health via Gold Coast Mental Health Services and Metro South Addiction and Mental Health Service. 

Most recently, she led the development of the largest lived experience workforce in a public mental health service in Australia and was Executive Sponsor of the Recovery College and Person-Centred Care and Consumer feedback at MSAMHS. 

Gabrielle has simultaneously dedicated her time to state-wide reform advisory groups and community groups. She has served as Chair of the State-wide Lived Experience Workforce Group, is the Deputy Chair of the Queensland Mental Health and Drug Advisory Council and continues to advocate for consumer participation and consumer rights. 

Dr Jacinta Powell 

In honour of distinguished service, significant contribution and leadership in mental health in Queensland. 

Dr Jacinta Powell standing with Commissioner Ivan Frkovic receiving the award

Citation: Dr Jacinta Powell’s extensive career within the healthcare system, spanning over 30 years, underlines her strong commitment to improving the healthcare system through the provision of person-centered care.  

Inspired by the belief that mental health is about the person with the illness, that everyone’s story is unique, and that understanding the individual's experiences and background is crucial in providing effective and compassionate care, Jacinta shifted her career aspirations from surgery to psychiatry. 

Jacinta worked at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital Mental Health Service after gaining her fellowship in psychiatry in 1994, establishing and growing the eating disorders service from one dedicated bed in 1996, to a funded state-wide specialist service with five dedicated inpatient beds in 2001. 

In recent years, she has transitioned from providing individual patient care to effecting broader change and achieving better outcomes for the larger population as a healthcare administrator, while continuing to emphasise the importance of holistic care. 

Norm Wotherspoon 

In honour of distinguished service, significant contribution and leadership in mental health in and lived experience in Queensland. 

Photo of Norm Wotherspoon
Image credit: Moreton Daily, Dominika Lis

Citation: Norm is a quiet achiever who has fulfilled many volunteer roles in the mental health sector since the 1970s.  

He has worked tirelessly to elevate the voice of veterans, consumers and their families in the mental health system, and made valuable contributions to advancing lived experience in reform. 

Norm began his career as a youth worker, counsellor, community worker and TAFE teacher and after retiring in 2008, continued as a volunteer in the mental health sector and served on several committees and forums, including as the lived experience representative on the National Mental Health Consumer Carer Forum, the Queensland Director of Lived Experience Australia, and President of the Vietnam Veterans’ Association of Australia Caboolture Sub-Branch Inc. 

Beyond this Norm has volunteered his time to work closely with a number of private hospitals including serving as Chairperson of Belmont Private Hospital’s Consumer and Carer Committee, to strengthen the voice of consumers and carers, and to educate the wider community in mental health and hospital planning, improvement activities and decisions. He has also made significant contributions to the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide to support better mental health and wellbeing outcomes for veterans.