Professor Karen Adams
Professor Karen Adams is the Director of Gukwonderuk, the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences’ Indigenous engagement unit at Monash University.
Professor Adams is ignited by the question: “how do you know if it’s working?” fuelled by work in the early years of her career in community education within Aboriginal Community Controlled organisations.
This question led her to complete a Master of Applied Epidemiology, followed by a PhD which focused on social network analysis and child health. Today, along with her team, Professor Adams’ research aims to increase the number of Indigenous Health professionals across the sector, and to educate healthcare workers to respectfully engage with Indigenous patients.
Professor Adams speaks of her research as a life-long learning journey and asserts that the path forward needs to be a staunchly anti-racist approach, involving increasing the capacity of Indigenous students and a robust Indigenous healthcare workforce. Professor Adams stresses that “healthcare learning and teaching needs to include what Indigenous health service consumers want. The voice of the consumer must be present during the education and training stage.”
A founding Member of Muliyan, Professor Adams also convenes an Indigenous Health Graduate Research Circle. The Circle is comprised of a growing number of Indigenous and non-Indigenous PhD students researching in the Indigenous health space. Students’ research has an educational and social and emotional wellbeing focus including areas, such as: lateral violence; men’s groups; young urban peoples’ connection to culture and the relationship between land-based practices and social and emotional wellbeing.