Dr Michelle Kennedy (Bovill)

Dr Michelle Kennedy (Bovill)

What are your research interests?

  • Aboriginal Health
  • Social determinants of health
  • Closing the Gap
  • Smoking cessation
  • Maternal Health
  • Aboriginal research ethics

Why did you get into research?

As an Aboriginal woman, I have been personally affected by the early death of my family and community. The Closing the Gap targets are not being met and new generations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are being born into a society where they will not live an equal life to other Australians. I conduct research in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to improve our lives and the future for generations.

What would be the ultimate goal for your research?

Close the Gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians. Particularly in the area of infant and maternal health.

I also want my research to engage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in the research space as equal partners, encouraging greater participation in research. This participation will result in more meaningful, ethical and empowering research being conducted.


Michelle Bovill is a Wiradjuri woman from New South Wales. Michelle is an active member of both Worimi and Awabakal Aboriginal communities with links to her traditional country of Mudgee.\

Michelle has a BA (hons) and Masters in Social Sciences. In 2016 Bovill commenced her PhD in Aboriginal Health, supported by a National Heart Foundation Scholarship, and was pivotal in the culturally appropriate development and implementation of a pilot intervention (ICAN QUIT in Pregnancy) for smoking cessation during pregnancy in 6 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) in NSW, Qld and SA. Michelle undertook all consultations and reporting with ACCHS' for the ICAN QUIT in Pregnancy trial and supported the successful and appropriate implementation, reporting and engagement processes throughout the study implementation.

Bovill brings her 14 years of experience working with Aboriginal communities and Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing to the health research space to deliver health research that is appropriate, engaging and meaningful for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Michelle is also a seasonal academic at the Wollotuka Institute (University of Newcastle) teaching in Professional Practice and Aboriginal Health. Bovill submitted her PhD thesis in Aboriginal Health “Culturally responsive approaches for the empowerment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in smoking cessation care” in December 2018.  

Michelle was awarded an NHMRC Early Career Fellowship commencing 2019 and will conduct Aboriginal community led research in partnership with Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services addressing non-pharmacological approaches to smoking cessation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander pregnant women.

Michelle has also been invited to collaborate on other research addressing Aboriginal maternal health and Aboriginal Social and Emotional Wellbeing.

Specialised/Technical Skills

  • Indigenous research methodologies
  • Indigenous research ethics
  • Indigenous research study design
  • Indigenous qualitative research
  • Indigenous health promotion


  • HCRA
  • Public Health Association of Australia


ABC Newcastle interview with Kia Handley - 9 July 2019