Dr Kim O'Donnell

Research Fellow

College of Medicine and Public Health

place Bedford Park (2.27)
GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia

Kim is a Barkindji/Malyangapa woman from far Western NSW, and Research Fellow, Indigenous Health, College of Medicine and Public Health at Flinders University. 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. 

Prior to joining Flinders University, 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 also co-led Health Policy and Systems research of The Lowitja Institute and currently chairs the Mutawintji Local Aboriginal Land Council in Western NSW. 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.

Areas of Interest

Social determinants of Aboriginal health and wellbeing, health service research, governance of country/language repatriation and going bush to reconnect with family, community and country. for as long as she can.


•Certificate of Facilitation, Aboriginal Women’s Civic Leadership Program (2017) Onkaparinga City Council SA

•Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health First Aid Training (2017), NSW

•Doctor of Public Health, Flinders University (2015)

•Implementing Board Member Responsibilities Training (2015), NSW Aboriginal Land Council 

•Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (2014), Treson Business College, Adelaide 

•Graduate Certificate in Indigenous Research and Leadership, Melbourne University (2013) 

•Professional Certificate in Indigenous Research Training and Practice, Melbourne University (2010)

•Master of Primary Health Care, Flinders University, Adelaide (2006)

•Diploma of Teaching, Charles Sturt University, Bathurst, New South Wales (1985)