First Nations and African Health

First Nations refers to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, First Nations peoples from other countries and Indigenous people groups. African refers to people residing in or from African countries.


First Nations and African Health addresses multiple facets of the Violet Vines Marshman Centre. This Centre directs research to priority groups such as First Nation Australians , African communities in Australia and overseas, Indigenous peoples, First Nations people from other colonised countries. The overarching purpose of VVMC is to abolish health disparities for communities living in regional, rural and remote areas. Internationally the population groups which are a focus of this centre experience possibly the lowest level of health and wellbeing outcomes in comparison to other population groups. As described in the VVMC objectives all activities of this research area will aspire for high impact, research translation and innovation for the lived experience of First Nations and African peoples.


First Nations and African people are together as a collective for this research area. This collective share similar philosophies regarding reality, community, healing, Ancestors, land and identity. These similarities are strong, in comparison to Western cultural values. These shared understandings mean that research skill sets such as facilitating a community-led focus group can be interchangeable. Perspectives and priorities for health and wellbeing can also be closely aligned. However also positioned, and highly respected, is the unique localised sovereign knowledges and intellectual property of the Communities, Tribes and Nations within this research area. Subsequently even in our differences we are similar, First Nations and African researchers are well versed in respecting localised ways of knowing, being and doing.


To undertake research and research activities focusing on improving health and wellbeing outcomes for First Nations and African people in rural areas. This research area aims to reduce long held health disparities for these priority groups, locally, nationally and internationally.

Types of research include primary and clinical research, community-based action research, multi-site studies and industry based evaluative research, including formulation of best practice frameworks.  Research activities may include methodological training specific to First Nations & African populations, continuing professional development training for organisations and professionals, curriculum development and innovative multi-media application of research findings.

Research will be undertaken by First Nations and African people, and non-First Nations or African people. However, First Nations and African standpoints, literature, processes, ethics and researchers will be prioritised.

First Nations and African Health Lead Contacts: Dr Mishel McMahon and Yangama Jokwiro

Activities and Partnerships


  • University of Melbourne
  • We Al-li Pty Ltd
  • Charles Darwin University
  • Australian National University
  • Flinders University
  • University of South Australia
  • Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency
  • La Trobe Regional Hospital
  • National Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research Limited


An app when family might not be with you, which holds your cultural identity & health information when you need it most.
IMIGO improves communication and engagement between First Nations people and Health Professionals leading to better health outcomes.



  • Bendigo Health
  • Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation Inc.
  • Murray Primary Health Network
  • La Trobe Rural Health School


  • Tana Consulting - Suzie Wyatt
  • Dr Mishel McMahon
  • Harare Therapy Support Group
  • Creative MindHealth


  • Vaka Health Foundation
  • Rotary Club
  • Better Future Foundation
  • Adavale Resources