Home' Navy News : February 2nd 2012 Contents ADVISING DEFENCE FORCE PERSONNEL FOR OVER 29 YEARS
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February 2, 2012
THE FIRST woman in RAN
history to attain the rank of rear
admiral, RADM Robyn Walker,
will lead Joint Health Command
for the next three years after she
was promoted late last year.
RADM Walker's promotion
follows her many achievements as
Director General of Navy Health
and Director General Health
Capability, including responsibility
for the $270m revamp of the ADF's
health capability and her previous
roles in supporting the health of
Defence personnel deployed to Iraq,
Solomon Islands and East Timor.
RADM Walker said she was
honoured and humbled by her new
"Navy and Defence have pro-
vided me with every opportunity to
learn and develop as an individual.
If you take the opportunities that
are provided and work hard, your
efforts will be noticed and reward-
ed," RADM Walker said.
"I don't believe I was promoted
because I'm female. I believe I
was promoted because I'm the best
person for the job. I don't think
any woman in Defence would want
to be promoted or awarded if she
hadn't earned it."
An active advocate for women
in leadership roles, RADM Walker
was named Telstra ACT Business
Woman of the Year last September
and said the ADF's decision to lift
gender restrictions was a positive
"Navy women have already
been serving on the frontline as
commanding officers of warships
and boarding parties for many
years. It's appropriate for a woman
to serve in a combat role as long
as she meets the competency that
needs to be met.
"Any organisation that builds
up and encourages its women to
seek leadership positions should
be applauded. The more diverse
an organisation is, the better the
outcome and there's evidence to
Joint Health Command will con-
tinue to carry on with the initiatives
of its former commander, MAJGEN
Paul Alexander, as well as confront
a number of new challenges during
RADM Walker's three-year tenure.
RADM Walker said Joint Health
Command's biggest challenge
would be adhering to the Strategic
Reform Program without compro-
mising on healthcare service quality
or member entitlements.
"I'm looking forward to the
challenges I will face during the
next three years and will tackle
them with as much commitment
and enthusiasm as I can," she said.
"We will be focusing on a num-
ber of healthcare areas including
ensuring that the healthcare provid-
ed to Defence personnel overseas
on operations is equal to the care
they would receive in Australia.
"Part of that will involve mak-
ing sure our healthcare practitioners
such as medics, doctors, physi-
otherapists, nurses and dentists are
well trained and maintain their skill
sets for operating both in theatre
and here in Australia."
Walker appointed top doc
A DISTINGUISHED CAREER
Robyn Walker qualified as a
medical practitioner in 1982
and worked in Queensland's
public health system until
1990. In 1991, she joined the
RAN as a direct entry medical
In January 1996, LCDR
Walker became OC of the
Submarine and Underwater
Medicine Unit and remained
there until her promotion to
commander in July 2000. On
promotion, CMDR Walker
was posted to Maritime
Headquarters as the Deputy
Fleet Medical Officer.
CMDR Walker posted to
the Defence Health Service
Branch in Canberra as Director
of Preventative Health in
July 2001 and was promoted
to captain in January 2003.
The following year CAPT
Walker took up the position of
Chief Staff Officer Health at
Headquarters Joint Operations
Command. In this position
she was responsible for co-
ordinating healthcare to ADF
operations in Iraq, Solomon
Islands, East Timor and the
2004 Banda Aceh tsunami
On promotion, CDRE
Walker assumed the position
of Director General Strategic
Health Policy and Plans in
the Defence Health Services
Division in July 2005. CDRE
Walker was posted to the
position of Director General
Garrison Health Support
within Joint Health Command
in August 2008 and then
to Director General Health
Capability in February 2010.
For her exceptional service
as an ADF medical officer,
CDRE Walker was appointed
as a member in the Military
Division of The Order of
Australia on January 26, 2010.
She was also named as
the ACT Telstra White Pages
Community and Government
Business Woman and overall
Telstra ACT Business Woman
of the Year last September.
CDRE Walker was promot-
ed to rear admiral by the Chief
of Navy, VADM Ray Griggs,
and assumed the position of
Commander Joint Health and
Surgeon General ADF on
December 22, 2011.
RADM Walker is a qualified
medical practitioner and spe-
cialist medical administrator.
She has a Diploma in Diving
and Hyperbaric Medicine and
is a Graduate of the Australian
Institute of Company Directors.
Additionally, RADM Walker
is the author of a number of
scientific publications relating
to diving medicine and the co-
author of a major international
diving medicine textbook.
LEADING LADY: RADM Robyn Walker is the RAN's first female rear admiral after her promotion and appointment as Joint Health Commander late
Photo: POIS Ollie Garside
first female rear
admiral about the
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