About us

Ngarruwan Ngadju was established at the University of Wollongong in 2019. The Centre sits within the Australian Health Services Research Institute (AHSRI).

Our team of academic and professional staff is committed to working collaboratively on research which addresses the needs and priorities of First Peoples communities. We have a key focus on building our networks and partnerships, advancing Indigenous health and wellbeing scholarship and research methodologies.

Our team

Professor Kathleen Clapham leads the Ngarruwan Ngadju research program. Kathleen is an Aboriginal Australian; a descendent of the Murrawarri people of north-western NSW.

Kathleen holds a BA (first class honours) and PhD in Anthropology from the University of Sydney. She is an Honorary Professorial Fellowship in the Injury Division of The George Institute for Global Health.

Within the broad area Indigenous health research Kathleen has a strong research interest in improving the safety, health and wellbeing of Indigenous children and young people, research targeting the social and cultural determinants of health, and health services research aimed at improving the health of Indigenous people across the life span. Community based participatory action research projects which she leads involve with Indigenous people in urban, regional and remote communities, collaborations with research, government and non-government organisations.

Kathleen has been chief investigator on 12 NHMRC and ARC funded studies and has led or contributed to government funded health services research, with grants totalling more than $17.5 million. Based at the University of Wollongong she has developed strong collaborative partnerships with Aboriginal community organisations across south eastern NSW. She currently leads an ARC research project focused on developing a place based model for community led solutions to complex health and social issues. She also leads a collaboration addressing Aboriginal community research and evaluation capacity building.

She is guided by a strong commitment to social justice, health equity and Indigenous human rights. She brings specific expertise and skills in Indigenous research methodologies, qualitative research methods, ethnography, and evaluation of community interventions. She employs a critical Indigenous research methodological approaches in which community engagement, sustainable partnership, research benefit to Aboriginal communities and capacity building are crucial components.

Through her work, Kathleen has achieved tangible benefits to Aboriginal people through undertaking research which will have impacts in terms of reduced harm, social and health improvements, and capacity development. She has specific skills and expertise in community engagement and translation research.

View Kathleen Clapham's UOW Scholar profile

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Associate Professor Marlene Longbottom is a Yuin woman, from Roseby Park mission (Jerrinja) and is the inaugural Aboriginal Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the Ngarruwan Ngadju First Peoples Health & Wellbeing Research Centre, based within the Australian Health Services Research Institute at the University of Wollongong. Her research experience spans over a decade where she has co-designed, implemented community-based research and evaluation projects. Associate Professor Longbottom has extensive working experience in the health and human services sector with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in urban, regional and remote communities, in additional to conducting research that is of benefit and priority driven by the community. Dr Longbottom’s approach to research is emancipative, it unapologetically centers Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities through a social justice lens, that is informed by critical Indigenous Feminism, Indigenous Research Methodologies, critical theory, Critical Race Theory, Black Feminism and Intersectionality. Associate Professor Longbottom’s focus is to ensure those often considered to be on the margins are centered. Their stories and voices told and heard through the research she conducts. 

Her Postdoctoral work, is a cross national study between Australia and United States, that is seeking to understand the service system responses to violence and trauma experienced by Aboriginal Australians in NSW and Native Hawaiians in Hawai’i, United States. She is currently the International Visiting Scholar based within the Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work at the University of Hawai’i, Manoa.

For an early career researcher Associate Professor Longbottom’s track record includes publishing in international and national journals, her work is recognised internationally having been invited to universities in the United States, while also being part of multiple nationally competitive grants totalling over $5 million. Marlene has and is also leading her own research, on an international comparative study with her Postdoctoral work and is currently an Investigator on an Australian Research Council grant developing a Place Based Model for Community led Solutions. Her work in systems approaches and responses to community  Co-Lead of a New South Wales focused grant - Systemic entrapment: Factors associated with First Nations People and multigenerational contact with systems through a Human Rights Perspective.

View Associate Professor Marlene Longbottom's UOW Scholar profile

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Joanna is a researcher with Ngarruwan Ngadju having joined Prof Clapham’s team at AHSRI in 2016. Joanna holds a BA and Masters from the Australian National University and specialises in applied anthropology and interpretive approaches to policy and public administration practice. Most recently Joanna worked as project manager for the ARC funded project ‘Re-Focussing Qualitative Research’ which investigates qualitative methods used in Aboriginal health services research, and the contribution of this to health policy and planning. Joanna is also PhD candidate within the Faculty of Business and Law and has recently conducted ethnographic research into the relationship between research and evidence and Indigenous policy making. Her current role is as project manager for the ARC funded project ‘A place-based model for Aboriginal community-led solutions to complex health and social issues’ and she is leading research that explores place-based approaches to government policy and service delivery. Joanna has previous experience working within the Australian Public Service within Indigenous policy contexts and has a range of skills in qualitative inquiry.

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Ms Darcelle Douglas is an Indigenous Associate Research Fellow who is currently enrolled in a PhD in Nursing (Thesis domain: Dementia and Indigenous Australians) at the University of Wollongong. Darcelle has a longstanding interest in aged care, particularly dementia from an Indigenous perspective, and has an interest in using her knowledge of diverse art mediums to engage people with dementia. Darcelle has experience as an Indigenous Link Worker with the Illawarra Aboriginal Medical Service in partnership with Alzheimer’s Australia NSW (Dementia Australia).

Darcelle has completed a Bachelor of Public Health (Distinction) and a Bachelor of Bachelor of Medical and Health Science Honours (First Class). Her honours thesis involved the development, implementation and evaluation of an innovative approach, using dance, in order to explore the different facets of wellbeing amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Darcelle has previously worked on multiple projects including Global Challenges – Caring for Community and the Re-Focus project, and is currently working on the Aboriginal Healthy Hearts and Ironbark research projects.

Bio coming soon

Bronte is a Wiradjuri and Murrawarri women from Western NSW, and has recently graduated with a Bachelor of Health Science (Indigenous health) at the University of Wollongong. She is working alongside the Ngarruwan Ngadju team as a research assistant, researching into how Indigenous organisations have responded to COVID-19.

Fiona joined the team at AHSRI in February 2020. Fiona is a Dunghutti woman. Fiona is enrolled as a PhD candidate in psychology at the University of Wollongong.

Prior to joining the Institute Fiona completed a Bachelor of Psychological Science (Hons). Fiona has also worked within community and has 7 years’ experience. She has volunteered and worked within multiple settings including alongside the police in forensic settings, in social community settings and within out of home care services.

Fiona’s PhD will be focused on researching Indigenous community organisations (ACCHOs). Fiona is particularly interested in health psychology with aspirations to become a clinical psychologist and researcher. 

Georgia Stewart is a Ngiyampaa woman and is currently enrolled in a Master of Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of Wollongong. Georgia completed a Bachelor of Nutrition Science (Distinction) through UOW and has been working with Ngarruwan Ngadju as a Research Assistant since February 2020.

Prior to transitioning into a career in health, Georgia had extensive experience working within various administrative roles across the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), and the then NSW Department of Education and Training.

Georgia is interested in public health nutrition, specifically early childhood, and hopes to utilise her skills and learnings in these areas. 

Bio coming soon


Professor Helen Hasan has expertise in Information systems (IS), Knowledge Management and Human Computer Interaction. Helen manages a Usability Laboratory (ATUL) and the Social Innovation Network who’s ‘Grey’ and ‘Green’ Themes dominate her current interests.

Helen Hasan's UOW Scholar profile

Peter is a Wulli Wulli/Wakka Wakka man from Queensland. He has worked in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health for over 12 years in government and universities. He recently completed his PhD examining alcohol use and related harms among Indigenous and non-Indigenous university students. Peter has a Bachelor of Health Science, Master of Public Health and Grad Dip Public Health and Tropical Medicine.

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Kate Senior is a medical anthropologist with extensive experience working with remote Aboriginal communities, with an emphasis on understanding the way that people live and conceptualise health and well-being and the barriers they face when accessing health services. Recently Kate's research has focused on the health and well-being of Indigenous adolescents, and in 2012, Kate was awarded an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship to explore young people's lived experiences of the social determinants of health. Kate's work has also explored young people's understanding of sexual health and relationships.

Kate Senior's UOW Scholar profile

A/Prof Kelly is an Associate Professor based in the School of Psychology, University of Wollongong. He is a registered Clinical Psychologist and has been awarded membership of the Australian Psychological Society (APS) College of Clinical Psychologists. He has extensive clinical and research experience working with individuals diagnosed with severe mental illness and substance abuse problems.

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Patricia is a National Health and Medical Research Council Early Career Fellow in the School of Public Health and Community Medicine, where she co-leads the Child and Adolescent Health theme. She is also an Honorary Research Fellow at The George Institute for Global Health. 

Patricia's research centres on strengthening health pathways for people who are disproportionately impacted by injury, violence and trauma with a focus on integrating trauma-informed care in health settings. Aligned with national priorities and recommendations for addressing trauma and violence, her research is informed by people’s preference to seek support in health settings and responds to services and peak bodies who have described a lack of coordination between sectors, and the need for enhanced workforce support to deliver optimal care. Patricia is leading a review of family and intimate partner homicide cases in NSW from the National Coronial Information System to understand the trajectories of violent deaths and opportunities for health system intervention. 

Committed to research translation and uptake, Patricia was awarded the 2017 Sax Institute Research Action Award in recognition of research that has significant impact on policy and practice. She has co-authored reports, including government and NGO commissioned reports, multiple submissions to parliamentary enquiries and shared her research in media and social journalism outlets including Sydney Morning Herald and Croakey.

Valerie Harwood is a Professor of Sociology and Anthropology of Education and an Australian Research Council Future Fellow. Valerie’s research is centred on a social and cultural analysis of participation in educational futures. This work involves learning about collaborative approaches and in-depth fieldwork on educational justice with young people, families and communities.

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Profile coming soon. 

Contact us

Ngarruwan Ngadju
Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health
Building 41
Wollongong Campus
University of Wollongong
Wollongong NSW 2522

Phone: (+61) 02 4221 4208
Fax: (+61) 02 4221 4679
Email: ngarruwan-ngadju@uow.edu.au

Visiting us

Exterior shot of Building 41 on UOW Wollongong Campus