Professor M. Joan Winch A.M.
Marr Mooditj Founder
B; App Sc.; MPH&TM; Hon LLD; PHD; Citizen of Year 1986; Sasakawa Health Prize; State & National Aboriginal of Year 1988; Ghandi, King, Ikedia Peace Award (USA); Soka Uni. Medal (Japan); John Curtin Medal; Fellow Curtin Uni.
Joan Winch (Heath) was born in Perth, Western Australia, on 9 June 1935, and grew up in the Fremantle area. Her mother was taken from Martu country in 1906 and her father's family was from Menang country; she had two brothers.
The innovative and internationally acclaimed education programs that she has established focus on preventative and holistic medicine and community participation, integrating Indigenous practices and values. Joan began her nursing career at 17 years and eventually became a triple certified nurse. She graduated from Curtin University with a Bachelor of Applied Science in 1989, and after studied ophthalmology under Professor Fred Hollows at the University of New South Wales.
Joan went on to achieve a Masters in Public Health and Tropical Medicine at James Cook University.
Joan made history when she became the first Aboriginal woman on the Premier’s Women’s Advisory Council in Western Australia. She is also the State Director for Aboriginal Hostels Australia.
Following a Curtin / State Government Award grant , Joan wrote up the history of Marr Mooditj College in 2011 to receive her PhD qualification.
Along the way Professor Winch achieved a range of state, national, and international awards including the Sasakawa Health Prize for Primary Health Care from World Health Organization (1987); the Australian Medal (1989); the Ghandi, King, Ikeda Peace Award from Morehouse College in the USA (2004); Soka University (Japan) Medal (2005); and more recently the John Curtin Medal (2008) for her contribution to society with community field work. Joan has published many papers and has been a keynote speaker at conferences in Australia and participated in national and international panels including the World Health Advisory Council in Geneva.