New ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill brings 15 years of community health experience to the role and an insider’s understanding of the organisation’s strategic plan.
As ACON’s operations director, a post he held for three years, Parkhill played an integral part in developing the wide-ranging strategic plan, which will see it grow as a GLBTI health service.
“I very much see that strategic plan as an output of my work. It’s a robust and strong blueprint for us moving forward over the next three years,” he told Sydney Star Observer.
“Having said that though, you never know what’s over the horizon so we need to remain flexible in our responses to HIV and broader health and wellbeing issues.
“HIV is still our primary health issue, which is reflected in the [strategic plan’s] first two goals. We’ve achieved a stabilisation of HIV rates in NSW over the last decade, but we need to look at ways so we can move beyond, to a decrease.
“We need to connect to the community with research and with partner organisations, to get our heads around what sort of programs we need to put in place.
“HIV is still very much the focus of the organisation — it’s who we are, it’s our history, it’s our legacy.
“But there are lots of opportunities for us in the broader health and welfare arena, to build up our health programs for lesbians and for bisexual people and transgender people.”
Parkhill, who is currently ACON’s community health director, will take up the position on Thursday.
He previously worked for more than a decade in the government sector, developing policy for NSW Health and the NSW Cabinet Office.
“I’m absolutely thrilled and honoured to be doing this role and to be stepping into what are some very big shoes, but I feel like I’ve been working towards this role,”  Parkhill said.
“Of course, there’s a certain level of nervousness around it. It’s a big responsibility, it’s an amazing organisation with a strong legacy, and that’s not a responsibility to be taken lightly.”

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