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Dr John Curotta AM – farewell to an outreach legend

7th September 2022

“I would like to express my utmost appreciation to Dr Curotta AM for his contribution to the ear health of our Aboriginal communities,” says Werin Aboriginal Corporation CEO Fay Adamson. 

“He has changed the lives of many young children and helped to improve their educational outcomes by improving their hearing, which in turn improves speech. Our staff, Board of Directors and myself are extremely grateful for the services provided, which are the only service available in our area,” she says. 

Dr John Curotta AM, who retired in 2022, provided ENT outreach services for more than 20 years

Dr Curotta began working as an outreach practitioner in 2004 when he opened an outreach service in Mt Druitt Aboriginal Medical Service (AMS) to provide pathways to medical care for local Aboriginal children. Through RDN, he extended outreach clinics to Bega, Kempsey, Port Macquarie and Batemans Bay, and generously shared with RDN his thoughts about outreach program design and implementation. 

For Dr Curotta, engaging with Aboriginal children, their families, carers and the health workers around them and expanding the outreach clinics were a highlight of his career. He was recognised with an Order of Australia Award for his ‘significant service to medicine as an ear, nose and throat surgeon, and to Indigenous health’ in 2020.

He called the award ‘an enormous honour’, stating, “It reflects, I think, society's interest in Aboriginal needs and health and recognition in Australia… My incredibly small part in that is seen as important, but I think everyone's input is incredibly important.” 

Dr Curotta has maintained his commitment to outreach services beyond retirement by putting in place a succession plan that has already secured replacement ENT practitioners in some of the outreach locations he served.  

“We can’t thank Dr Curotta enough,” says RDN’s Program Manager – Outreach Services Naomi Freuden. “His dedication to Aboriginal health is legendary, and his succession plan is a model for all to follow. We wish him a truly happy retirement.” 

Dr Curotta’s other achievements include being Director of the Department of Ear Nose and Throat Surgery at both Westmead Hospital and at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead and President of the Australian Society of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery. 

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