Govt appoints new allied health chief

Exercise physiology and sports science leader Anita Hobson-Powell has been named the country’s new Chief Allied Health Officer.

The government has announced exercise physiology and sports science leader Anita Hobson-Powell as the new Chief Allied Health Officer for the Department of Health and Aged Care.

In her new role, Ms Hobson-Powell will provide pivotal leadership across health system policies, programs and reform efforts that have national interest for all allied health professions. 

Anita Hobson-Powell

Ms Hobson-Powell – who spent 17 years at the industry peak body Exercise and Sports Science Australia until last year as chief executive officer and executive officer before that – has served on the boards of Gymnastics Queensland (chair), Gymnastics Australia, the National Alliance of Self Regulating Health Professions (chair), and Allied Health Professions Australia (deputy chair).

She has a deep understanding of how preventive health can improve people’s lives and reduce demand on the health system and will provide strategic oversight of the government’s allied health agenda and provide a voice for the 300,000-strong allied health workforce, said a statement from Minister for Health and Aged Care Mark Butler.

Welcoming Ms Hobson-Powell to the role, Mr Butler said he and the government looked forward to working with her to improve the system for allied health professionals and patients.

Mark Butler

“Allied health professionals make up the second largest clinical workforce across the health system. Harnessing those dedicated health professionals that make up that critical workforce to improve health outcomes and reduce health system costs is a very important part of our efforts to strengthen Medicare,” he said.

Mr Butler also thanked the department’s first Chief Allied Health Officer, Dr Anne‑Marie Boxall, who held the post for just over three years until August last year. She ably supported the allied health sector throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and began development of a National Allied Health Workforce Strategy, he said.

In a statement, Ms Hobson-Powell has been congratulated by peak body Allied Health Professions Australia – where she was a board member for over eight years until November 2023.

“Anita has been instrumental in the allied health sector and holds a longstanding affiliation with AHPA. Anita brings deep industry experience and a strong understanding of regulation to role. We very much look forward to working with Anita in her new capacity as [Chief Allied Health Officer] and congratulate her on this appointment.”

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