Joanna Williams

Public Health Advocate | LGBTQIA+ and sexual health

About Me

Joanna Williams is a public health advocate who uses her lived experience to create more empathy in the world.

Her career in public health started by accident, when she co-founded Highschoolers Against Homophobia at 16 so that her parents would let her go the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade. Much to her surprise, the float was nominated in 2007 and 2008 for best polticial statement in the Mardi Gras Award and Joanna somehow become enslisted to provide ACON with the voice for young LGBTQIA+ people.

After she realised that there was no space to be a young queer women in Sydney, Joanna decided to start a Master of Public Health so that maybe one day she could have a career in the thing she loved talking about most: sexual health.

While completing her Master of Public Health at the University of Melbourne, she realised the importance of putting lived experience at the centre of policy and program design and started speaking candidly about her experience of living with mental ill health/disability, being queer and surviving sexual assault. Joanna’s passion for story telling lead to her being appointed the Strategic Director at Bits and Bods, an upcoming web series that talks to teens about sex, bodies, relationships and all the awkward bits in between!

Between talking about sex and mental health, Jo uses her expeince as a public health advocate to teach the Public Health Leadership and Management subject at the Melbourns School of Population and Global Health. She also provides freelance diversity and inclusion advice to Not-For-Profits.


Bachelor of Arts (Hons), University of Sydney
Master of Public Health, University of Melbourne

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