Our People

 

JILYA STAFF

Babu Sajjad

Babu Sajjad

Program Manager - Projects & Partnerships

Ervina Ng

Ervina Ng

Program Manager – Scholarships

Dr David Mander

Dr David Mander

Research Manger

Research Psychologist

Research Psychologist

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Babu Sajjad

Babu Sajjad

Program Manager – Projects & Partnerships

Babu hails from Chennai, which is in southern India famous for its coastline, temples, and spices. His mother tongue is Tamil which is considered a classical language. He is also proficient in Hindi and other south Indian languages.

Babu is a seasoned public health professional with a comprehensive background in clinical practice, project management, and economics. He is passionate about Aboriginal health and excels in designing and executing projects within the health and disability sectors that aim to enhance the well-being of participants. With over 5 years of dedicated service in the Wheatbelt region, he understands the unique challenges that exist in rural healthcare.

His extensive expertise in strategic planning and growth initiatives, his innovative approach, and adept problem-solving abilities make him an absolute asset to in the Project & Partnerships role and to our growing team.

Ervina Ng

Ervina Ng

Program Manager – Scholarships

Ervina had 16+ years of experience working in the higher education sector. In her early career, she was a university counsellor in two local universities in Singapore. After relocating to Perth, WA in 2007, she worked at University of Notre Dame Australia for more than ten years as the Manager (Student Services) overseeing the Student Counselling Centre and the Student Services team responsible for a range of support services and programs. As part of her role, she provided pastoral care and support to Indigenous students studying at Notre Dame. She was also involved as a volunteer with AIME (Australia Indigenous Mentoring Experience).

Ervina is passionate about education and mental health. Therefore, she is very excited about her role in the Jilya family where she could contribute to raising a generation of trained Indigenous psychologists to reduce the stigma around mental health and early intervention programs. Together, she believes, we can #buildanarmy for a better future for all Indigenous Australians!

In her free time, Ervina has no lack of hobbies from sewing to crocheting to reading. A perfect weekend starts with a morning coastal walk or hike, a good coffee at a local cafe, reading or listening to the Casefiles True Crime podcast in the afternoon and ends with having friends over for dinner where desserts are compulsory!

Dr. David Mander

Dr. David Mander

Research Manager

David is a fully registered Psychologist with the Psychology Board of Australia and registered as a nonpracticing Psychologist with the New Zealand Psychologists Board. He has practiced extensively in the Australian educational setting and authored several book chapters and peer reviewed journal articles investigating the mental health, social and emotional wellbeing of First Nations young people, boarding schools and sleep, regional and rural communities, adolescence and education, and translational research – turning knowledge into meaningful policy and practice. He was awarded the qualification of PhD in Community Psychology in 2012. Community Psychology looks beyond an individual focus and integrates social, cultural, economic, political, environmental, and even international influences to promote positive health and wellbeing, empowerment at individual and systemic levels. Importantly, it prioritises deep listening and learning from communities about how best to resolve complex problems, manage positive change and address risks and threats. David PhD investigated the transition experience to boarding school for male Aboriginal secondary school students from regional and remote communities across Western Australia. He has since applied this knowledge in both industry and academic roles to raise awareness within education sectors and schools, with State and Federal Governments and in wider society. David has been a Chief Investigator on several large research grants and currently holds an Adjunct Senior Research Fellow position with The University of Western Australia.

JILYA BOARD

Dr Tracy Westerman AM

Dr Tracy Westerman AM

Director

Dr Samantha Cooms

Dr Samantha Cooms

Devon Cuimara

Devon Cuimara

Dr Tracy Westerman AM - Director

Dr Tracy Westerman AM - Director

Tracy is a proud Nyamal woman from the Pilbara region of Western Australia

Dr Tracy Westerman is a trailblazer in Aboriginal mental health, having been named the 2018 Australian of the Year (WA); Inducted into the 2018 WA Women’s Hall of Fame and awarded the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award, Curtin University amongst many other accolades. She holds a Post Grad Dip (Psychology), and was the first Aboriginal person in Australia to complete a combined Master’s and PhD in Clinical Psychology. Despite having to undertake her university subjects mostly by distance education, she is a recognized leader in Aboriginal mental health, cultural competence and suicide prevention, achieving national and international recognition. Dr Westerman is a widely sought-after keynote speaker having delivered to 80+ national conferences and internationally in Canada (2003); the USA (2004), Auckland (2006 & 2007) and Wellington (2009). In 2005 the Canadian government sent a delegation to Australia to explore Dr Westerman’s work, resulting in recommendations that the same approaches be adopted for Canadian Aboriginal people (Nunuvut Taskforce, 2006). She was recognized by Canadian Health, 2009 for her substantial contribution to Aboriginal youth mental health & her work has been cited in numerous reports. She has developed seven unique psychometric tests enabling the identification of Aboriginal people at suicide and mental health risk. Having trained 25,000+ clinicians in these tools makes her arguably the most in-demand trainer in Australia. It also means these clinicians have been able to reach many thousands more Aboriginal people at risk. Her most notable awards include:

  • 2022 APS Almetrics Award for largest reach for published paper on “Culture Bound Syndromes in Aboriginal  Australian Populations”
  • 2020 Telstra Business Award, Small Business
  • WA Australian of the Year 2018 & Finalist in the Australian of the Year
  • Curtin University Lifetime Achievement Award 2018
  • Inducted into the WA Women’s Hall of Fame 2018
  • 40 under 40 Business Leaders Strategic Alliance Award (2009)
  • Suicide Prevention Australia Award for Emerging Researcher (2006)
  • NAIDOC National Scholar of the Year (2002)
  • Mark Liveris Award, Curtin University, Health Sciences for best Presentation of PhD (2002)
Dr Samantha Cooms

Dr Samantha Cooms

Dr Samantha Cooms is a Noonuccal woman who is a lecturer in the business school at the University of Queensland. Samantha has a Bachelor of Psychology with honours majoring in Indigenous studies and a Graduate Certificate in Indigenous Research and Leadership.

Her PhD is in business and sought to decolonise knowledges in the disability sector by incorporating Quandamooka ways of knowing, being and doing in relation to disability and care provision. Samantha’s work focuses on decolonising and Indigenising hegemonic knowledges with a special interest in equity, diversity, inclusion, and sustainability.

Devon Cuimara

Devon Cuimara

Devon Cuimara is the founder and CEO of Aboriginal Males Healing Centre. Born into a lineage where three consecutive generations have grappled with violence, Devon recognises the prevalence of this issue within his family.

In his familial context, aggressive behaviour has been an unfortunate norm, deeply ingrained through upbringing. He confronts this cycle of abuse head-on, a battle that has encompassed instances of sexual abuse as well.

He founded the Aboriginal Males Healing Centre in response to a failed attempt to rehabilitate through mainstream services and to provide a service that offers an avenue to facilitate the removal of women and children from potentially harmful environments and communities, while also promoting lasting behavioural transformation in First Nations men who are either using or are susceptible to using violence. Devon’s dedication underscores the necessity for greater accountability and responsibility among First Nations men towards women and children.

“I don’t smoke, I don’t use drugs. It’s not our way. We weren’t born like that. I learnt it – So If I could learn it, I could un-learn it.”

Devon’s ancestral roots trace back to the First Nation People of the Southwest of Western Australia through his maternal grandfather’s lineage. His matrilineal kin groups are the Manitjimat (white cockatoo) and the Wardongmat (crow). The term ‘mat’ signifies family, stock, and leg. Devon’s broader moort (family) connections encompass the Wadjuk, Balardong, Wilman, and Pibilman mob, with their emblematic totem being the frog. His ngank (mother’s) lineage extends from the Northwest.

Today, Devon stands as a guest on Nyiyaparli Parna (Land) in WA’s Pilbara region, representing the Martu yirna (Aboriginal men) who seek to address issues of violence. He has yuwajula (permission) granted by yatilykata (elders) from pitjikala and manyjilyjarra, martu (Aboriginal people), where he undertakes the important task of fostering healing and well-being within yirna.

In the realm of black masculinity, Devon highlights its crucial role in shaping identity, self-determination, and political empowerment. With a steadfast commitment to healing and transformation, Devon stands as a testament to overcoming generational challenges, shaping a brighter future for black communities.

JILYA PATRON

Above: Our patron Kim Beazley with Adjunct Professor Tracy Westerman

A message from our patron Kim Beazley: