Kelli Owen

Kelli Owen

Adelaide Nursing School

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences


Kelli Owen is a Kaurna, Narungga & Ngarrindjeri woman who holds a Bachelor of Education (Edith Cowan University) and a Masters of Indigenous Languages Education (University of Sydney). She is the National Community Engagement Coordinator for the National Indigenous Kidney Transplantation Taskforce (NIKTT), a member of NIKTT Operations Committee, co-chairs the Community Engagement Working Group, Project officer with SA Health overseeing the Kanggawodli renal project with CNARTS (Central Northern Adelaide Renal & Transplantation Service) and is a CI and member of AKction (Aboriginal Kidney Care Improving Outcomes Now) with the University of Adelaide.

One of Kelli’s current projects is adapting health education resources and increasing health literacy to meet the needs of her people. In her current role, she yarns up with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities across Australia, focusing on their kidney journeys, local issues and culturally appropriate solutions to increase equity and access to kidney transplantation. Kelli is familiar with Indigenous Governance methods, harnessing the voices of Indigenous people to raise awareness of equity issues and health system barriers to address. Kelli prides herself as an information sharer, helping to grow kidney care knowledge assist her people to make informed decisions. Kelli’s passion to share knowledge and to bridge knowledge systems of understanding to co-design innovative models of kidney care is a vital skill Kelli brings to the project to ensure its success.

Kelli is a mother of 5 and Mutha (nanna) of two boys. Kelli has lived with CKD knowing ESKD would eventuate. Her lived experience of the journey, from diagnosis, pre-dialysis, Peritoneal Dialysis, Haemodialysis, transplant workup and assessment, transplantation leading to her current situation of post-transplant care management makes her an invaluable contributor to the study. The challenges Kelli has experienced living in a regional town in South Australia has instilled her with an appreciation of the difficulties faced by rural and remote patients accessing essential health services. Issues pertaining to accessing treatment, transport, medications, allied services and feeling culturally safe in hospital settings are areas she passionately advocates for.

My Research Interest

Aboriginal Health Research, Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Kidney Health, Indigenous Governance, Data Sovereignty, Decolonising practices in health care settings, knowledge translation into action, translational approaches, Cultural safety, Cultural Bias in the Health systems, Indigenous methodologies, participatory action research, Pregnancy & CKD, Peer navigation through the kidney journey and community engagement and protocols.

Research Groups:

  • AKction 1 & 2 (Aboriginal Kidney Care Together Improving Outcomes Now)
  • NIKTT – National Indigenous Kidney Transplantation Taskforce: Equity & Access
  • Kanggawodli (Caring House) – On site dialysis and wrap around service in a medical hostel with CNARTS (CAHLN & NAHLN partnered)
  • The Kidney Mum’s Project: Advancing pregnancy planning and care for women with kidney disease
  • Maximising Oral Health Outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples with Chronic Kidney Disease through Culturally Secure Partnerships.

Kelli's work with the AKction Project Teams was featured in a recent Croakey Health Media article, Holding that space: game-changing kidney project has ‘research activism at its core’

  • Awards and Achievements

    Date Type Title Institution Name Country Amount
    2018 Scholarship Steglick Indigenous Women’s Scholarship The University of Sydney Australia $6,000
    2003 Scholarship Indigenous Scholarship Western Australia Department of Education Australia $24,000
    2003 Scholarship Eveline Rosina Henty Scholarship Edith Cowen University Australia $2,000
    2003 Scholarship Kurongkurl Katitjin Scholarship Edith Cowan University Australia $2,000
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    University of Sydney Australia Master of Indigenous Languages Education
    Edith Cowan University Australia Bachelor Of Education
  • Certifications

    Date Title Institution name Country
    Certificate III & IV in Textile Art Nungalinya College Australia
  • Research Interests

  • Guest lecturer, EDU1ISE, Identity, Policy & Equitable Practice: Indigenous Studies, LaTrobe University, 2021
  • Guest lecturer, AMED 3003 Diagnostics & Biomarkers, University of Sydney, 2020
  • Guest lecturer with Dr Kim O’Donnell, PHCA 9504 First Nations Health & Wellbeing, Flinders University, 2020
  • Aboriginal Education Teacher – Murray Bridge North School, Flinders View, Pt Augusta, 2011 - 2019
  • Preposition, Year 1, 2, 4, 5 Teacher at various schools throughout Western Australia – 2003 – 2011
  • Lecturer of Aboriginal Art Appreciation and NOW (New Opportunities for Women), Geraldton, Mingenew TAFE, 1999 - 2003
  • Lecturer of Textile Art, Dubbo, Walgett, Lightening Ridge TAFE, 1998 - 1999
  • Lecturer of Textile Art, Broome TAFE, 1997 - 1998
  • Teacher for the last 25 years in WA, NT, NSW, SA, as per employment
  • Committee Memberships

    Date Role Committee Institution Country
    2021 - ongoing Member Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Working Group Australia and New Zealand Dialysis and Transplant Registry (ANZDATA) Australia
    2020 - ongoing Member Australian and New Zealand Clinical Guidelines Writing Group for Guideline for the Management of Chronic Kidney Disease in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and Maori Kidney Health Australia Australia
    2020 - ongoing Member South Australian Representative First Nations and Métis Organ Donation and Transplantation Network Canada
    2020 - ongoing Member NIKTT, Indigenous Reference Group, Leading a Transplant Response Change with the Executive Transplantation Meeting Royal Adelaide Hospital Australia
    2020 - ongoing Member Community of Practice Working Group South Australian Health Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) Australia
    2019 - ongoing Co-Chair Operations Committee - Community Engagement Working Group NIKTT - National Indigenous Kidney Transplant Taskforce Australia
  • Presentation

    Date Topic Presented at Institution Country
    2022 - ongoing Panel: Dr Chan, C. Ting & K. Owen Grand Round Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital Australia
    2021 - 2021 Consumer Engagement in Indigenous Transplantation Research TSANZ, Annual Scientific Meeting Transplant Society of Australia & New Zealand Australia
    2021 - ongoing Driving Change Grand Round Royal Adelaide Hospital Australia
    2020 - ongoing Engagement of First Nations peoples with Chronic Health AMED 3003 Diagnostics & Biomarkers Sydney University
    2020 - ongoing Changing the World from a consumer’s perspective. Consumers Views on engagement amongst Fist Nations Peoples,. Beat CKD Conference Beat CKD Australia
    2020 - ongoing Kidney Health Report Release Indigenous Health Info Net Australia
    2020 - ongoing National Indigenous Kidney Transplantation Taskforce – NIKTT, who & What is NIKTT? Health Translations SA Australia
    2019 - ongoing My Journey - Presentation TSANZ, Indigenous Kidney Transplantation Symposium Transplant Society Australia & New Zealand Australia

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