As Chief Operating Officer, Rob is responsible for managing efficient and effective operations for KAMS. This means he oversees many different areas in the organisation, including HR, Kimberly Renal Services (KRS), remote clinics, corporate services, IT, and mental health. For Rob, his role is to support all these teams so they can work as effectively as possible.
Having worked in Indigenous affairs for more than 25 years, Rob has an interesting and varied career background. After representing Indigenous issues in roles in government, universities and the oil and gas sector, he joined KAMS in 2015.
“I have the opportunity to use my skills and experience to make a difference in the lives of Aboriginal people in the Kimberley. The healthcare industry is a rewarding place to work. KAMS offers face-to-face services for clients and can really support them at an individual level. KAMS is also responsible for advocating and improving Aboriginal health outcomes across the region as a whole. It’s great to have that balance and see the positive impact, on a patient-centred, personal level, and at a leadership and advocacy level.
He first joined KAMS as Deputy CEO. After four years in this role, he moved into the role as COO, in a restructure that allowed him to focus on day-to-day operations, while KAMS’ CEO Vicki could take a more strategic outlook for the organisation. This balanced and focused the workload at the leadership level, allowing the leadership team to continue to position KAMS externally more strategically, and partner with other organisations and government agencies, while still maintaining a strong focus on internal operations.
“Previously, I was involved in strategic projects. So it’s exciting for me to get involved and work on an operational level. We have an incredible executive leadership team and dedicated staff throughout the whole of the organisation. We have approximately 280 employees within KAMS, across the Kimberley.
“Our people work really hard and are committed to improving health outcomes for Aboriginal people. It’s great to work with likeminded, dedicated people. It’s also satisfying to see the work KAMS does supports people and the community in a direct way. It’s immediate, and that’s rewarding.”
KAMS has a strong Aboriginal leadership board, comprised of people across the Kimberley.
“With our head office in Broome, five remote clinics, four renal healthcare centres, we have a wide footprint. We auspice Headspace youth mental healthcare clinic in Broome, are involved in forums and champion other initiatives and research.”
Interestingly, there are seven Aboriginal community-controlled health services who are member organisations of KAMS.
Check out our article about Kimberly Renal Services (KRS).
“We support these member organisation to be strong and effective within their region. We’re one big network! And it’s wide, with more than 500 employees across all organisations. It’s really an exciting area to work in.”
KAMS’ broad reach means employees have a diverse range of opportunities to move into different areas in the organisation. In fact, Rob has recently had the opportunity to get involved in KAMS’ Aboriginal suicide prevention trial.
“I had the opportunity to get involved, even though I had to build my knowledge in that area. It’s a complex issue, but it’s one our organisation should be providing leadership on. The healthcare sector is really looking at the way we deliver mental healthcare services. We’re broadening our scope of wellbeing to include social and emotional wellbeing, not just physical. This helps us support people the best way possible, throughout their entire life journey, not just in their physical health.”
Working for KAMS, people also have the opportunity to work with skilled and experienced peers.
“KAMS has a strong reputation, which means we can attract really skilled and experienced team members. This creates an environment where you can learn a lot from colleagues, and the opportunity to grow and develop in your role.”
Looking to the future, Rob is excited about the number of expansion opportunities for KAMS, including:
- The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) – “We’re venturing into the NDIS space, ensuring Aboriginal people in the Kimberley receive adequate access. Traditionally, this has been something communities in the region have missed out on.”
- A new model of care – “We’re also working on a new, evidence-based model of care for Aboriginal community-controlled health services in the Kimberley, so we can work together in a more unified way and meet the needs of communities. We’re also expanding our service delivery across clinics to a more integrated model, including social and emotional wellbeing.”
- Strategic work – “We’re doing more strategic work, including through the Close the Gap refresh, and are looking at ways we can ensure the region will benefit from the new targets and a clean implementation framework.”
- The Kimberley Aboriginal Health Research Alliance – “We established this alliance to work with research institutes to drive the development of Aboriginal health research in the Kimberley. We ensure this research has a direct benefit to communities through the delivery of health services.”
“These are some of the interesting exciting projects coming up that we’ve only just started. There’s always new and exciting work to be done.”
Outside of work, Rob enjoys gardening and loves the outdoors, going fishing, camping and visiting the beach.
“Living in the tropics, everything is green and lush, so I’m a big gardener. Broome has an amazing landscape, with great beaches and waterfalls. So, if you love the outdoor lifestyle, the Kimberley is a great place to be.”