Health Equity Matters appoints new CEO

Health Equity Matters has named Dash Heath-Paynter as its new CEO. Photo: Supplied.

Health Equity Matters, formerly known as the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO), has announced the appointment of Dash Heath-Paynter as the peak national body’s new Chief Executive Officer.

Heath-Paynter takes on the leadership of Health Equity Matters after serving almost eight years as deputy CEO under former CEO Darryl O’Donnell.

He had already been the organisation’s acting CEO since O’Donnell’s departure in December.

During those eight years as deputy CEO, Heath-Paynter oversaw policy development, and political advocacy and engagement for Health Equality Matters.

That encompassed the national LGBTQIA+ community’s response to Mpox, including co-chairing the National Mpox Taskforce.

“We are delighted to confirm the appointment of Dash Heath-Paynter as our new chief executive,” Health Equity Matters president Mark Orr AM said in announcing the news.

“Dash brings deep, sustained experience in HIV and LGBTIQA+ health advocacy and policy.

“Dash’s skills and experience will serve our communities well as we push for the virtual elimination of HIV transmission and a more robust community-led response to the health needs of LGBTIQA+ communities.”

Heath-Paynter is a member of the Medical Services Advisory Committee PICO Advisory Sub-Committee; the Therapeutics Goods Administration’s Advertising Consultative Committee, the National HIV PrEP Guidelines Committee and the National HIV Testing Policy Expert Reference Committee.

“It is a profound honour and privilege to take on the executive leadership of the Health Equity Matters at this pivotal moment,” Heath-Paynter said, on appointment to the role in late March.

“My predecessor, Adjunct Professor Darryl O’Donnell established strong foundations for us to make monumental progress towards better health responses for LGBTIQA+ people, the virtual elimination of HIV transmission and continuing support for people living with HIV.

“We have an incredibly talented and motivated team at Health Equity Matters and we take seriously our role in protecting and promoting the partnership of researchers, clinicians, community and government that is at the centre of Australia’s HIV response.

“I look forward to working closely with the Federal Government to drive further progress for the communities we represent and serve.”

Prior to joining Health Equity Matters, Heath-Paynter worked as a senior policy analyst at Health Equity Matters’ Victorian member organisation, the Victorian AIDS Council, now known as Thorne Harbour Health.

He is also an Adjunct Senior Lecturer at the Kirby Institute at the University of NSW, holds degrees in law and arts, and is a graduate of the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government’s Executive Leadership Program.

AFAO was formed by the leaders of Australia’s state and territory community AIDS organisations in 1985 in response to the HIV epidemic.

Soon after AFAO’s establishment, the federal government began work on Australia’s first National HIV/AIDS Strategy and AFAO was authorised by its members to coordinate community input into the process and their work continues to this day.

Health Equality Matters and its member organisations are also active contributors to the global fight against HIV and support the work of regional community partners including the Asia Pacific Council of AIDS Service Organisations (APCASO) and the Asia Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health (APCOM).

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Andrew M Potts

Andrew has been covering LGBTQIA+ issues for a range of publications in Australia over two decades and was the Asia-Pacific correspondent for global LGBTQIA+ news website Gay Star News.

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia

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