Kim O'Donnell

Dr Kim O'Donnell

Aboriginal Health Care Senior Researcher

Adelaide Nursing School

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

Kim is a Barkindji/Malyangapa woman from far Western NSW, and a Senior Researcher, Aboriginal Health Care Research, Adelaide Nursing School at the University of Adelaide. Kim is a Public Health researcher with extensive understanding and experience working with Australia’s First Peoples in education, health, and governance.

Kim’s Doctor of Public Health thesis explored the funding relationship between staff within Aboriginal community-controlled health organisations and government, focusing on understanding of their accountability to each other, and the extent to which funding contracts provide the basis for partnership. A mutual lack of trust was found, coexisting with goodwill on both sides. Distrust is perpetuated when there is a lack of agreed understanding about purpose and function of Aboriginal community-controlled health organisations– arising from history, effects of colonisation, systemic racism and commonwealth bureaucratic restrictions.

A new approach focused on the building of respectful relationships is crucial and needs to be reflected in the contractual agreements for improved health outcomes of Australia’s First Peoples.

Kim worked as Senior Project Researcher of the Indigenous Researcher and Capacity Building Network project at the South Australian Health & Medical Research Institute. This project explored building a national approach to supporting and growing the next generation of Indigenous researchers working in Aboriginal health across each of the 9 Centres and their partners that make up the Australian Health Research Alliance. The aim is to effect translation of research into practice, offering timely consistent and quality interventions through a collaborative, Indigenous led and consensus driven approach. Kim’s role was pivotal to establishing this network as a coordination point for the activities occurring.

Kim also worked on the RECOGNISE campaign as a National Field Leader to raise awareness around the principles of constitutional reform. She co-led Health Policy and Systems research of The Lowitja Institute and chaired the Mutawintji Local Land Council board from 2016-2019 in Western NSW. She also co facilitated the gazettal of an additional 56,954 hectares of land 160 kilometres north-east of Broken Hill, known as Nuntherungie Station, to the Mutawintji State Conservation Area in September 2019.

Kim is passionate about the development of equitable partnerships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and corporate organisations to improve the health and wellbeing of Australia’s First Peoples.

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  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2019 Research Academic Level B Flinders University
    2019 Research Academic Level B University of Adelaide
    2018 - 2019 Senior Project Officer South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI)
    2016 - 2017 Aboriginal &Torres Strait Islander National Field Leader Reconciliation Australia - RECOGNISE Campaign
    2016 - 2016 Research Fellow (casual) - Wardliparingga Aboriginal Health Research South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI)
    2016 - 2016 Research Fellow (casual) Flinders University
    2015 - 2016 Team Leader - Aboriginal Programs Cancer Council SA
    2013 - 2015 Research Educator Aboriginal Health Council of SA Inc
    2013 - 2014 Community Leader Program 3: Health Systems and Policy Lowitja Institute
    2011 - 2014 Postdoctoral study (Doctor of Public Health) Flinders University
    2007 - 2013 Research Associate Health Care Management Flinders University
    2005 - 2007 Research Associate Aboriginal Health Research Unit Flinders University
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    2015 Flinders University Australia Doctorate of Public Health
    2006 Flinders University Australia Master of Primary Health Care
    1985 Charles Sturt University Australia Diploma of Teaching
  • Certifications

    Date Title Institution name Country
    2017 ATSI Mental Health First Aid Training Mental Health First Australia Australia
    2017 Aboriginal Women’s Civic Leadership Program Onkaparinga City Council Australia
    2015 Board Member Responsibilities Training NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) Australia
    2014 Certificate IV in Training and Assessment Treson Business College Australia
    2013 Indigenous Research and Leadership University of Melbourne Australia
    2010 Indigenous Research Training and Practice University of Melbourne Australia
  • Research Interests

  • Board Memberships

    Date Role Board name Institution name Country
    2015 - 2019 Chair Mutawintji Local Aboriginal Land Council Mutawintji Local Aboriginal Land Council NSW Australia
  • Committee Memberships

    Date Role Committee Institution Country
    2018 - ongoing Chair Neporendi Aboriginal Forum Incorporation Neporendi Aboriginal Forum Incorporation SA Australia
  • Community Engagement

    Date Title Engagement Type Institution Country
    2017 - ongoing Far West Local Health District Aboriginal Staff Network Public Community Engagement Far West Local Health District Australia
    2013 - 2014 Health System Coalition Project Public Community Engagement Lowitja Institute Australia
  • Consulting/Advisories

    Date Institution Department Organisation Type Country
    2016 - 2017 Margins International Research Group Margins International Research Group Scientific research Australia
    2013 - 2015 Aboriginal Health Research Ethics Aboriginal Health Research Ethics Committee SA Health services and related Australia
    2013 - 2015 Lowitja Institute Health Lowitja Institute Health Policy & Systems Health services and related Australia
  • Event Participation

    Date Event Name Event Type Institution Country
    2019 - ongoing Onkaparinga City Council: Women of Courage Leadership Program Workshop Onkaparinga City Council Australia
    2017 - ongoing Aboriginal Women’s Civic Leadership Program Workshop Onkaparinga City Council, Adelaide Australia
    2016 - ongoing RECOGNISE Campaign Workshop Reconciliation Australia Australia
    2016 - ongoing Action Research Workshop Workshop Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) Australia
    2012 - 2014 Program 3 Research Co Leader: Enabling Policy and Systems Workshop Lowitja Institute Australia
  • Position: Aboriginal Health Care Senior Researcher
  • Phone: 83131101
  • Email:
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Adelaide Health and Medical Sciences, floor 4
  • Org Unit: Nursing

Connect With Me
External Profiles