Supporting doctoral pathways for Indigenous people in health

Evaluating the initiatives of the Melbourne Poche Centre for Indigenous Health


This project evaluated the programs we run to support academic pathways through higher education for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples.

By listening to the stories of our first cohort of PhD students, and those who have completed the PhD Familiarisation program, we heard about:

  • how Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people experienced their academic journey,
  • what support systems were accessed and why,
  • challenges in the university environment, and
  • what improvements could further support them and future cohorts.

The project also explored the experience of supervisors of Indigenous students and the ways in which they can be better supported in their role; and heard from post-doctoral fellowships about possible career progressions following the completion of a PhD. From this research, we hope to better understand how completing a PhD can support our students’ career trajectory and what a culturally safe university environment looks like.

Key people

Shawana Andrews and Odette Mazel, with David Gallant, Associate Lecturer, Department of Social Work.


Preliminary findings were reported at the Ngar-wu Wanyarra Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health Conference in October, and the team is now analysing data for publication.