AssDip SW (SAIT / UniSA)
Policy and administration
Professor Calma has a life long history of advocating for racial equality and elevation of the social and economic status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. He champions reconciliation, social justice, anti-discrimination, anti-racism and human rights for all. He promotes equality for all through actions and raising community awareness by being in the public arena delivering speeches and media appearances.
In 1980 he led the establishing of a post-secondary second chance education initiative in Darwin that was at the forefront of creating pathways for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to enter tertiary education.
As Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Prof Calma’s 2005 Social Justice Report to Parliament on the disparity of health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples lead to the formation of the Close the Gap campaign that has reformed health policy, delivery and accountability. Successive governments have built on the proposed reforms manifesting in the July 2020 National Agreement on Closing the Gap that targets equality of health outcomes by 2031. Professor Calma, on the invitation of Stolen Generations members, formally responded to the Government’s National Apology in February 2008. He has led the formation of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples and recently Co-Chaired the co-design process for a Voice to Government and Parliament and is currently a member of the Voice Referendum Working Group and Referendum Engagement Group. For over a decade he has been the National Coordinator Tackling Indigenous Smoking that has realise significant reductions in smoking and non take-up of smoking by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. He has influenced policy reforms in justice reinvestment, mental health, suicide prevention and social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Professor Calma’s policy influencing and advocacy is not restricted to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. As a senior diplomat for 7 years in the mid 90’s he was at the forefront of the international student movement and for the past decade he has been Deputy Chancellor and Chancellor of the University of Canberra. He is a member of high-level committees focused on health research, genomics, aged care and Indigenous cancer control.
On 30 June 2016 in Canberra The Honourable John Berry, Ambassador of the United States of American to Australia, presented Professor Calma with a US Flag that was flown over the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial in Washington DC in recognition of his “leadership in promoting equality, social tolerance and youth advancement.”
Chancellor University of Canberra
Professor Faculty Medicine and Health University of Sydney (0.4FTE)
Co-Patron Winston Churchill Fellowship Trust
Co-Chair Reconciliation Australia, Patron Poche Indigenous Health Centres
Chair, Living First Language Platform Company
Co-Chair Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation
Director Ninti Group
Member Referendum Working Group and Referendum Engagement Group
Member of Cancer Australia’s Leadership Group on Indigenous Cancer Control
The Matilda Centre for Research in Mental Health and Substance Use Covid-19 Mental Health Think Tank
Australian Genomics Independent Advisory Board (June 2021)
The Australian Medical Research Advisory Board (AMRAB) (September 2021)
Inaugural member of the Council of Elders on Aging and Aged Care (December 2021)
Order of Australia (General Division)
Fellow Academy of Science
ACT Australian of the Year 2013
Joint Inaugural University of South Australia Alumni Award
The Public Health Association of Australia’s pre-eminent Sidney Sax Public Health Medal
In June 2016 in Canberra The Honourable John Berry, Ambassador of the United States of American to Australia, presented Professor Calma with a US Flag that was flown over the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial in Washington DC
2017 Australia Post Legends Commemorative Stamp series
May 2018 Professor Calma was inducted into the ACT Honour Walk 2018
November 2020 Professor Calma was bestowed an ‘Australian Hero Tree’ (Hoop Pine tree) at the National Arboretum
1. Solutions that Work: What the Evidence of our People Tell Us: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Report Dudgeon. P.,Milroy, J, Calma, T, Luxford, Y, Ring, I, Walker, R, Cox, A, Georgatos, G, & Holland, C. (2016). Perth, Western Australia : School of Indigenous Studies, UWA
2. Embedding cultural safety in Australia’s main health care standards. Martin Laverty; Dennis R McDermott; & Tom Calma, (2017) The Medical Journal of Australia https://doi.org/10.5694/mja17.00328
3. ‘Exploring a better treatment option for scabies using a tea tree oil-based gelformulation in remote-dwelling Australian Aboriginal children—Protocol for a pilot, randomised,controlled trial’. Thomas, J, Davey, R, Peterson, G, Carson, C, Walton, S, Spelman, T, Calma, T, Dettwiller, P, Tobin, J, McMillan, F, Collis, P, Naunton, M, Kosari, S, Bartholomaeus, A, McEwen, J, Fitzpatrick, P and Baby, KE (2018), BMJ Open. - International first RCT examining TTO for scabies. http://ncis.anu.edu.au/_lib/doc/publications_calma.pdf
4. Foundation for a Smoke-Free World and healthy Indigenous futures: an oxymoron?’
Andrew Waa, Bridget Robson, Heather Gifford, Janet Smylie, Jeff Reading, Jeffrey A Henderson, Patricia Nez Henderson, Raglan Maddox, Raymond Lovett, Sandra Eades, Summer Finlay, Tom Calma, Hāpai Te Hauora Māori Public Health.
5. Talking about the ‘r’ word: a right to a health system that is free of racism, Carmen Parter, Donna Murray, Janine Mohamed, Boe Rambaldini, Tom Calma, Shawn Wilson, Donna Hartz, Josephine Gwynn and John Skinner. Public Health Research & Practice Journal March 2021; Vol. 31(1):e3112102. https://doi.org/10.17061/phrp3112102