Professor Dennis McDermott

Academic Status

College of Medicine and Public Health

place Flinders Medical Centre
GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia

Professor Dennis McDermott is currently the Pro Vice Chancellor, Indigenous, at La Trobe University in Victoria. He was the former Director of Flinders University’s two Poche Centres for Indigenous Health and Well-Being (Adelaide and Northern Territory). He maintains full Academic Status with Flinders University and continues to be involved with collaborative research projects. Dennis is a psychologist, academic and poet. A Koori man, his mother’s family are from Gadigal land (inner Sydney) with connections to Gamilaroi country (north-west NSW).

Dennis’s teaching and research interests encompass early childhood, social determinants of Indigenous health, racism, incarceration, policy, equity, Indigenous social, spiritual and emotional well-being, workforce development, Indigenous health pedagogy, and the nexus of culture and context in service delivery.

  • Master of Arts in Writing, University of Technology, Sydney
  • Bachelor of Arts, Honours (Psychology), Queensland University
  • Bachelor of Arts, University of New England
  • Bachelor of Economics, University of New England
Honours, awards and grants
  • National Senior Teaching Fellowship – Australian Government Office of Learning and Teaching (OLT), 2014
  • Poche Chair in Indigenous Health, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Flinders University, 2011
  • Medical Journal of Australia (MJA) Dr. Ross Gibson Memorial Essay Prize, 2006
  • Honorary Fellow – He Pūkenga Taiea: Te Mata o te Tau - Academy for Maori Research and Scholarship (Massey University, Oct., 2005)
  • Judge: 2005 / Chair, Judging Panel: 2006, 2007, Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards - David Unaipon Award for Unpublished Indigenous Author
  • Research Consultant: Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council of NSW (AH&MRC)
  • Short-listed: 2004 Brencorp Prize for Poetry
  • Short-listed: 2004 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards - Prize for Indigenous Writing
Research expertise
Indigenous health
Research interests

Current research support:

  • NHMRC CRE - APP1078046. Baum, Friel et al. McDermott (CID). Centre of Research Excellence on Social Determinants of Health Equity (CRESDHE): Policy research on the social determinants of health equity. 2015-2020

Recent research support:

  • Office of Learning and Teaching (OLT), National Senior Teaching and Learning Fellowship – McDermott. D. Having the hard conversations: Strengthening pedagogical effectiveness by working with student and institutional resistance to Indigenous health curriculum. 2014-18.
  • ARC Discovery – APP160100244. Baum et al. McDermott (CIE). Understanding how the policies of Australian governments can promote health through action on the social determinants of health and health equity. 2016-2018.
  • ARC Discovery – APP120101510. Baum, MacDougall, Newman, McDermott, Popay, Marmot. Theorising and understanding how policy processes affect uptake of evidence on social determinants of health and equity in Australian health policy. 2012-14.
  • NHMRC Project – APP1027561. Baum, Harris, Kickbusch, MacDougall, McDermott, Lawless. Understanding how complex policy processes influence the social determinants of health, well-being and equity: A case study of the SA Health in All Policies Initiative. 2012-16.
Supervisory interests
Aboriginal child health
Aboriginal health
Aboriginal health professional workforce
Aboriginal health services
Aboriginal social determinants of health
Australian Indigenous art and material culture
Indigenous pedagogy and pedagogies of social justice
Further information

Recent media includes:

  • Distinguished Professor Farewells Flinders, Flinders University In Touch, 25 September 2018
  • Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous Appointed, La Trobe University, 25 September 2018
  • Host of the Poche Indigenous Health Network Key Thinkers Forum on 'Outing' Unconscious Bias', 24 August 2018, on YouTube
  • Week-long guest tweeter on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health (#Seven Days) for @WePublicHealth, part of the Croakey health website, 11-17 June 2018
  • Opening keynote addtress at the Speech Pathology Australia National Conference, 28 May 2018, on YouTube1 and YouTube2
  • Presenter and panel member for the Teaching While Black Symposiums (I and II) on 'Navigating Race & Racism within Higher Education', 3 March and 27 April 2018, on Slice of LIME seminars
  • Plenary panel presenter at the 6th Rural and Remote Scientific Symposium, 'Outback in Front', 11 - 12 March, 2018, on YouTube (at 19:04 and 30:48)

Please contact for access to the 'Having the Hard Conversations' guide and video resources as developed as part of a National Senior Teaching Fellowship Activity - Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT Fellowship) undertaken by Professor Dennis McDermott in 2014 - 2015. Support for this Fellowship was provided by the Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching. The views expressed in these presentations do not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching.

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