First Nations Traditional Medicines

Dr Alana Gall

Alana is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Southern Cross University (SCU), where she leads a program of research dedicated to Australian First Nations Traditional Medicines. Being an Aboriginal woman herself, a Truwulway woman from the northeast coast of Lutruwita (Tasmania), she has spent over a decade devoted to doing public health research to close the health gap for First Nations peoples. First Nations peoples in Australia are the oldest continuing culture on earth – that means they hold over 65,000 years of knowledge about this country and its incredible flora and fauna. We have one of the most uniquely biodiverse ecosystems on the planet, and if we harness the knowledges of First Nations peoples, all human and planetary health will benefit.  

Traditional Medicines. First Nations People

Advocating for the respectful inclusion of traditional and complementary medicines in the Australian health sector is an important part of meeting First Nations holistic health and wellbeing needs.” 

Advocating for Indigenous Health and Knowledge Sovereignty 

Alana has significant influence in public health nationally and internationally, owing to her roles as the Vice President-Elect (Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander) of the Public Health Association of Australia and the Vice Chair of the Indigenous Working Group for the World Federation of Public Health Associations. She is also renowned for her research and policy work on Indigenous Traditional Medicines both nationally and internationally. For example, she serves as the Indigenous Medicines representative on the Traditional, Complementary, and Integrative Healthcare Coordination Council, and she has been called upon several times by the World Health Organization for her expertise in Indigenous Traditional Medicines globally. This influence, coupled with her expertise and her own Aboriginal heritage, positions her as a key figure in driving significant changes to Australian health policies and laws, thereby setting gold standards for best practices within this field nationally. 

In order to harness First Nations peoples’ knowledges, we first need to ensure that those knowledges are protected and respected. For this reason, Alana is part of the Civil Society Coalition delegation and the Indigenous Caucus at the upcoming World Intellectual Property Organization Diplomatic Conference, where the first International Legal Instrument for Intellectual Property associated with genetic resources and traditional knowledge will be finalised. The essential knowledge Alana gains here, will feed directly into the development of Australia’s first best-practice model for research and development with Australian native plants. This Australian-first model will be co-developed with First Nations communities, Australia’s leading First Nations scientists, key First Nations national health bodies, government, regulatory agencies and multiple different types of research and development groups. This ensures that First Nations communities are positioned at the very core of the work Alana does, ensuring they benefit from their knowledge, and puts an end to biopiracy and misappropriation.  

Alana’s work will revolutionise how research and development are conducted in Australia, which will see all Australian’s benefitting from the rich and deep knowledges of Australia’s First Nations peoples – the oldest continuing culture on earth. 

Donate to the Centre to help us support Alana’s mission to harness these knowledges for the benefit of all human and planetary health. 

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