Russell was diagnosed with myelofibrosis in 1992, leading to a BMT at the Royal Adelaide in 1993. He has ongoing cGvHD, and as a result can no longer work full time, instead participating actively in the healthcare consumer movement. His employment background had been in Aboriginal community development, particularly focussing on employment, education and training programs.
Russell lives in Canberra and participates in many community and consumer healthcare activities in the ACT. He is currently Vice President of Health Care Consumers Association after ten years as President, and Vice Chair of the ACT Branch of the Public Health Association of Australia. He served previously as Vice Chair of the ACT Health Council, and sits on advisory committee for the Health Directorate, including the Safety and Quality Steering Committee, the Blood Transfusion Committee and the Outpatient Service Steering Committee.
At the national level, Russell sits on the Board of the Australian Commission for Safety and Quality in Health Care and on the Australian Government’s Medical Services Advisory Committee as well as the Executive Committee of the Australian Health Care Reform Alliance. He has previously been on Boards of numerous other national organisations including the National Blood Authority, the Australian Cancer Council, the Consumers Health Forum of Australia and the Australian General Practice Network.
Russell’s current interests include the implementation of better connected healthcare through the personally controlled electronic health record, enhancing patient safety through implementation of the national safety and quality framework and psycho-social research which highlights the need for healthcare services to focus on patient wellbeing and relationship centred care.