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Australian Story: Dr Mark Wenitong, reggae musician and Indigenous health leader

Date posted: 2 May 2016

Dr Mark Wenitong describes himself, first and foremost, as a musician. He certainly plays a mean guitar in his reggae band. But he is also the father of multi-award winning musicians who have played to packed stadiums, Shakaya, Local Knowledge and The Last Kinection.

At the same time, Mark is a leader in Indigenous health who says his greatest role model was his mother Lealon, who in the 1950s and '60s fought against the odds to become a pioneering Indigenous Health Worker.

Eight years ago the family was plunged into crisis when a car crash nearly claimed the life of Mark's daughter Naomi — one half of chart-topping duo Shakaya. Now Mark's son, Joel, who was at the wheel on that night, is following his father's footsteps from music into medicine — and 'doing something practical to help our mob,' Mark said.

Today, Mark is heavily involved in preventative health and is concerned about the growing ice problem in Far North Queensland.

He is working with the Gindaja Indigenous Residential Rehabilitation Centre that is treating both Indigenous and white ice addicts.

He remains focused on his community's health needs and inspiring the next generation of young Aboriginal students to be doctors.

Source: ABC News

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Last updated: 2 May 2016
 
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Australia's National Research Centre on AOD Workforce Development National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre National Drug Research Institute