The Organ and Tissue Authority (OTA) welcomes the appointment of Dr Helen Szoke AO as the next Chair of its Advisory Board.
Dr Szoke brings a wealth of experience to the OTA from her career spanning the health, education, community, and international development sectors.
A strong advocate for human rights, Dr Szoke has extensive experience in management and advocacy roles, including in her previous role as Chief Executive Officer of Oxfam until 2019.
Her contributions in this space were recognised with an Order of Australia in 2018, for "distinguished service to social justice through roles with human rights, anti-discrimination and equal opportunity organisations, to health sector policy development, and to the disadvantaged".
“I am humbled to be appointed to this important role and for the opportunity to use my experience and expertise to support the OTA’s national organ and tissue donation program,” Dr Szoke said.
“Organ and tissue donation saves lives. With more than 1,800 Australians on the organ transplant waitlist, it is critical that the OTA continues to raise awareness about the life-changing impact of donation and the importance of registering as an organ and tissue donor.
“It takes just three taps on your Medicare App to register, or only one minute to register online at donatelife.gov.au.”
“Dr Szoke’s extensive leadership experience in the health policy and advocacy spaces will be invaluable to the Board and the OTA,” Lucinda Barry AM, OTA CEO said.
“I expect that the Board will leverage the incredible breadth and depth of Dr Szoke’s career to provide counsel and advice to the OTA as we strive to return donation and transplant rates to pre-COVID levels and then grow further, giving more people a second chance at life.
“I look forward to working alongside Dr Szoke and the continuing impact the Advisory Board delivers to support OTA achieving its purpose to improve opportunities for transplantation through increased organ and tissue donation.”
Dr Szoke replaces outgoing Advisory Board Chair Dr Mal Washer, who has served in the role for the previous six years.
“I would like to take this opportunity to recognise the enormous contributions of outgoing Chair Dr Mal Washer to our organisation,” Barry said.
“Mal has continuously brought rich knowledge and expertise in supporting the OTA over the past six years, including supporting us through the challenging three years of the pandemic which had a significant impact on the national program.
“It has been a privilege to work alongside him, and I cannot thank him enough for his support and guidance in this role.”
Dr Szoke, who commenced as Chair on 1 July 2023 for a period of 4 years, joins existing OTA Board members - Deputy Chair Professor Carol Pollock AO, Mr Oren Klemich, Ms Margaret Kruger, Ms Shelly Park and Mr Nicholas Brown.
Find out more about the OTA Advisory Board and its members here.
It only takes a minute to register as an organ and tissue donor. Register today at www.donatelife.gov.au or with 3 taps in your Medicare app.