About Us


Based in Cairns, Queensland, the Centre for Indigenous Health Equity Research was officially launched in August 2017.
The Centre is directed by Professor Roxanne Bainbridge and deputy director A/Prof Janya McCalman and is complemented by a team of researchers, research assistants, and Masters & PhD students.

Founded on the basis of an NHMRC funded five-year adolescents resilience project, the work of CIHER has expanded to include projects related not only to adolescent mental health but also transition to community control of primary health care services, workforce development, cultural competence, institutional racism, service integration and research impact.

Professor Roxanne Bainbridge

Professor Roxanne Bainbridge

Professor Roxanne Bainbridge is from the Gungarri/Kunja nations of South Western Queensland. She is a Professorial Research Fellow in Indigenous Health and Director of the Centre for Indigenous Health Equity Research at CQUniversity Australia where she is responsible for the Centre’s strategic and operational leadership. She is also a global Atlantic Fellow for Social Equity; and Associate Editor for the Health Promotion Journal of Australia.

Roxanne holds a National Health and Medical Research Council Career Development Fellowship that focusses on mental health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adolescents. Her discipline is medical anthropology, and, her methodological expertise is in community-driven, high-impact applied research conducted in participatory action-oriented research approaches and systems sciences. She uses her research expertise to contribute to raising the health and prosperity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait nations in Australia.

Roxanne is a strong advocate for Aboriginal community-controlled health and committed to improving the integrity and quality of research to maximise its impact and benefit to society. Her specific proficiencies are in research impact assessment and evaluation; integrated quality improvement; grounded theory; evidence reviews; and auto/ethnographic approaches.


CIHER comprises five key integrated areas of research strength:

  1. The social and cultural determinants of Indigenous health across the lifespan;
  2. The social, health and economic impacts of Indigenous health programs and services;
  3. Research capacity strengthening;
  4. Reviews for synthesis of evidence of equity in Indigenous health; and
  5. Research translation, implementation and advocacy for change

Exemplar collaborative projects include:

  • Supporting the resilience of students from Cape York transitioning to boarding schools with Education Queensland;
  • Developing family-centred models of care for Apunipima Cape York Health Council; and
  • Defining a model of youth health by mentoring young people to opportunities for education, training and employment with Gurriny Yealamucka Health Service, the Queensland Department of Education and Training and The Streets Movement.

Smarter policy and practice decisions informed by CIHER research include:

  • Organisational change processes in community controlled health organisations and education services;
  • Resilience initiatives for Indigenous adolescents;
  • Models of family-centred maternal and child health;
  • Binge drinking prevention;
  • Homelessness;
  • Gambling; and
  • Men’s health.


The Centre’s researchers currently collaborate extensively both nationally and internationally across disciplines, Indigenous research institutions & networks, communities, services and government departments.


  • Public Health
  • Epidemiology
  • Medical Anthropology
  • Health Promotion
  • Education
  • Health Economics
  • Social Work
  • Psychology
  • Psychiatry

Research Institutions/Groups:

  • Lowitja Institute
  • International School on Research Impact Assessment
  • Berghofer Queensland Institute of Medical Research
  • National Indigenous Research and Knowledges Network
  • Menzies School of Health Research
  • Latrobe University
  • University of Queensland
  • University of Melbourne
  • Queensland University of Technology
  • Griffith University
  • University of Newcastle
  • University of the Sunshine Coast
  • University of Western Australia
  • Dalhousie University (Canada)
  • University of Victoria (Canada)
  • Massey University (NZ)
  • Anton Breinl Centre for Health Systems Strengthening
  • National Health and Medical Research Council
  • Australian Research Council


  • Cape York and Palm Island communities
  • Yarrabah
  • Cairns
  • Toowoomba
  • Townsville
  • Dalby
  • Brisbane/Inala
  • Sunshine Coast
  • Grafton
  • Casino


  • Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council
  • Gurriny Yealamucka Aboriginal Health Service
  • Apunipima Cape York Health Council
  • Yarrabah State School, Chancellor Park College
  • Gindaja Treatment and Healing Centre
  • Queensland Department of Education - Transition Support Service
  • N/QLD Primary Health Network
  • Headspace
  • Orygen Youth Health
  • Inala Indigenous Health Service
  • Bulgarr Ngaru Medical Aboriginal Corporation

There are clear links for increased professional development of staff at CQUniversity and beyond. This is part of the Centre’s strategic intent and will be achieved by contributing to the inclusive research culture at CQUniversity by engaging staff; providing opportunities for collaboration and consultancy; development of course provision; research CoP; and knowledge sharing opportunities.

Research Facilities

We also developed a national research impact tool adopted by the Lowitja Institute to measure research benefit. With better support, CIHER will strengthen research impact through improved decision making on Indigenous priority issues in the communities we serve.

The Centre is located at the CQUniversity Cairns Campus on level 2 in the Cairns CBD. Our research hub facilitates staff offices, open plan staff spaces and hot desks for visiting researchers and/or students, with a communal kitchen space and meeting space available to Centre staff and students. As well, from the Centre hub, as capacity develops we are working to develop spokes in Brisbane, Bundaberg, Rockhampton and beyond.