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Centre of Excellence in Intellectual Disability Health launches in Sydney

There was some good news for our community this month with the official launch of the National Centre of Excellence in Intellectual Disability Health on Friday 13 October.

Fiona MacKenzie, OAM, Chair, CID

Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care, Ged Kearney formally launched the Centre at an event at the University of New South Wales which was hosted by Fiona MacKenzie OAM, Chair of the Council for Intellectual Disability (CID).

The Centre is a commitment from the National Roadmap to Health for improving the health of people with intellectual disability, which aims to address significant health inequalities faced by people with intellectual disability.

Minister Kearney formally opened the Centre, noting ‘there are 450,000 Australians who have an intellectual disability, and they deserve access to excellent, tailored and empathetic healthcare that fits their needs, the lived experience and skills of people with a disability will be central to the success of this Centre.’

The Centre of Excellence will be a catalyst to ensure people with an intellectual disability have better access to quality, timely and comprehensive health care. It will also help give health care professionals the knowledge, skills and right attitudes to work with people with an intellectual disability.

Catherine McAlpine and Jim Simpson, Senior Advocate, CID

Inclusion Australia CEO, Catherine McAlpine was proud to be at the launch in Sydney. Catherine is part of the Roadmap Implementation Governance Group who oversee and provide advice on the implementation of the initiative.

“This is a historic day for people with an intellectual disability and their families.” Catherine shared. “It’s wonderful to be here together with CID, Down Syndrome Australia, 3DN and other organisations that have worked so hard to campaign for the Roadmap and the Centre of Excellence. I especially want to acknowledge the work of Jim Simpson, Senior Advocate at CID and Dr Nick Lennox who have been working towards this moment for many years.”

Catherine added “I also want to congratulate all the members of the successful consortium that will run the Centre. We look forward to working with you to improve health outcomes for people with a intellectual disability.”

The launch also featured, Rhys Nagas, Board member of First Peoples Disability Network Australia. Rhys shared the challenges he has faced in the healthcare system that have led him to feeling “like I was nothing”.

“The Centre of Excellence will be kinder.” Rhys added.

Naomi Lake, Health Ambassador for Down Syndrome Australia shared her role educating health professionals and being part of the intellectual disability Health Roadmap Governance Group. ‘What makes me different, makes me, me. It is really important that people with an intellectual disability are involved in their own healthcare.’

Reflecting on the launch, Jim Simpson said ‘We at CID are delighted to be part of delivering on the Centre’s potential to make big differences in the lives of people with intellectual disability.’

Fiona Mackenzie closed the launch noting, ‘the Centre will give us a voice!’

Naomi Lake, Health Ambassador, Down Syndrome Australia

You can view an Easy Read Guide to the Centre here: The National Centre for Excellence in Intellectual Disability Health Launch – Council for Intellectual Disability (

You can watch a video of the launch here: