Our Research Advisory Council

Pindi Pindi’s work is guided by our Research Advisory Council composed of leading Aboriginal academics from Australian and international universities and research institutes.

The Role of the Research Advisory Council is to: 


Currently the Council is composed of:


Murdoch University Representative

Professor Rhonda Marriott
PhD Murdoch, RN, Midwife

Professor Marriott is Emerita Professor for the Kulbardi Aboriginal Centre at Murdoch University and Winthrop Research Professor at The University of Western Australia (UWA). Rhonda is also a Director of the Board at the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research (TICHR) and Chair of the Aboriginal Collaboration Council for Applied Research and Evaluation (ACCARE) at Telethon Institute for Child Health Research (TICHR). Rhonda is an Aboriginal Australian and has held a number of senior university positions including the Inaugural Head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery and the first Indigenous Head of a University School of Nursing in Australia.

Rhonda is a member of the Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and awarded Indigenous Nurse/Midwife of the Year at the 2008 Western Australian Nursing and Midwifery Excellence Awards.  Rhonda is also Patron of a named award sponsored by the Nursing and Midwifery Office recognising achievement and contribution in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nursing and midwifery.  While a significant portion of her scholarly activities have been allocated to innovative community based collaborations designed to foster an active participation of community partners in the University, her prime focus has been on building the capacity of Aboriginal people who are largely underrepresented in higher education as students, academic staff or researchers.


International Universities Representative

Professor Deborah J Johnson
AB (Chicago) MA (Cornell) PhD (Chicago)

Deborah is Professor of Family and Child Ecology at Michigan State University and completed her PhD at Northwestern University, Evanston, USA.  Her research focuses on status-based, race and culturally-related development, parent socialisation and parent/child relations in early and middle childhood.  Much of her work has been in the area of racial/ethnic identity development and racial socialisation. 

Over the past 10 years she has been an invited speaker and delegate at over 100 international forums focusing on areas including mental health, cultural security, racism, child development, family ecology and cultural and racial elements of development. She has also been a consultant to several US state and federal government departments and sits on several key committees advising on family and development issues.  Deborah has designed and implemented a large number of community outreach programs promoting the mental health of African-American and migrant young people and families.  These programs have focused on combating racism, poverty, children at risk, improving education outcomes and stress and trauma.


Pindi Pindi Representative

Associate Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker
Ass Dip App Sc, B App Sc, MSc, PhD

Cheryl is a Noongar woman with traditional ties to the Wadjuk, Ballardong and Yued peoples.  Cheryl was born in Subiaco, Western Australia, and has lived most of her life in Perth.  She is a dedicated wife and mother. Cheryl was educated in Australia and the United States and is currently Associate Professor, and NHMRC Research Fellow, Faculty of Health Sciences and Faculty of Arts and Education, Murdoch University, Western Australia; Honorary Research Fellow, Telethon Institute for Child Health Research; and Chief Investigator Centre for Research Excellence, Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing

Cheryl completed her PhD in 2000. The research explored the sense of self, identity and self-esteem of urban Aboriginal children in the school sport setting.  She has continued this research to further explore how urban Aboriginal children think and feel about themselves in the world they live in and how this affects their lives. As well as her PhD, Cheryl also has a Master of Science, a Bachelor of Applied Science and an Associate Diploma of Applied Science. She has written three books and contributed to a number of book chapters. Additionally she has had journal papers, reports and reviews published. Cheryl has also received numerous awards including National NAIDOC Scholar of the Year of 2001 and the Queens Trust Award for Young Australians, WA in 1992 and 1995.


Curtin University Representative

Associate Professor Simon Forrest

Simon was born and raised in Wadjuk country (Perth). He has connections to country at Goomalling (Balardong), Swan Valley (Wadjuk), Mt Magnet (Badimaya) and Leonora (Wongutha). He trained as a primary school teacher and worked in schools in Aboriginal communities and rural towns. He has worked in the public sector in senior managerial positions in education and curriculum and Indigenous Affairs policy and implementation. 

Simon is Western Australia’s longest serving Aboriginal academic having taught undergraduate and postgraduate students since 1983 at Edith Cowan University (ECU), University of Western Australia, Curtin University and Michigan State University. He was the Inaugural Head of KurongKurl Katijin School of Indigenous Australian Studies at ECU and is now the Director of the Centre for Aboriginal Studies at Curtin University.

His services are widely sought after particularly as a presenter in the areas of Aboriginal Education, History and Politics, Cultural Awareness and Competency and Cultural Consultancy. In 2005 he was awarded National Scholar of the Year at the National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) Awards.


The University of Western Australia Representative

Associate Professor Juli Coffin
DipEd, MA, PhD

Juli is an Aboriginal woman from the Pilbara region in Western Australia with a background in education, health and preservation of Aboriginal languages. 

She is an Associate Professor in Aboriginal Health and completed her PhD in the area of intra-racial racism and bullying. Juli has worked at the Combined University Centre for Rural Health (CUCRH), in Geraldton, Western Australia, for twelve years, running many research projects and building research capacity among her own people and others around her. Juli has published in the areas of childhood nutrition, sexual health, cultural security, tobacco, bullying and racism. Her work over the last four years has concentrated on what bullying looks and feels like for Aboriginal children, youth, parents and community.  Recognition of the importance around this issue and community engagement has been the key outcomes from this work, along with practical based resources for schools and communities.  

Juli was integral to the formulation of the National Indigenous Staff Network and was Chair of this group for over six years.  She was also Chairperson of the Catholic Education Aboriginal Committee.  She sits on numerous State and National boards (including the Geraldton Diocese’s Yamaji News) and has recently moved to take up the position of Regional Tobacco Coordinator with the Geraldton Aboriginal Medical Service.


Notre Dame University Representative

Associate Professor Clive Walley

Head of Indigenous Health Curriculum, School of Medicine. He has experience in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and education and other related issues over the past twenty years. His academic career spans over 13 years along with many years experience working in Aboriginal health and health promotion in Western Australia. He has worked with the Department of Health WA, Derbarl Yerrigan Health Service and Co-ordinator/Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Aboriginal Studies at Curtin University. Associate Professor Walley brings with him an extensive knowledge of networks between Indigenous and non-Indigenous academics, health professionals, community leaders and Elders to assist with the delivery of teaching and learning at the University of Notre Dame and maintenance of cultural protocols in seeking their consultation and advice on the continuance of Indigenous cultural ways.


Edith Cowan University Representative

Associate Professor Noel Nannup

Noel Nannup is a Nyungar/Injabarndi man, born 1948 in Geraldton and is a highly respected Noongar elder. He is currently Associate Professor, Cultural Ambassador and Elder-in-Residence at Kurongkurl Katitjin, Centre for Indigenous Australian Education and Research. Noel has won numerous awards including an Honorary Doctorate from Murdoch University in Education; finalist for WA Citizen of the Year (Culture and the Arts) was awarded in recognition of his contribution to higher education for Aboriginal People. 

Noel has worked as a heritage consultant, story teller, cultural guide, cultural instructor and mentor and a published author and narrator of several books, CDs and Maps. Noel worked for the Department of Parks and Wildlife (previously CALM) for many years until 2004 as the Department’s Senior Aboriginal Heritage Officer and was instrumental in developing a number of award-winning initiatives. In 1996 he established and ran the Department of Environment (DEC) Indigenous Heritage Unit.

Noel is a member of numerous boards and groups including the Founder of the Statewide Cultural Corridors program, member of the WA Indigenous Tour Operators Committee, Bringing Them Home Committee, Friends of the Environment, Reconciliation Australia, Perth Region Natural Resource Management group, Nulla Marmun Mort Boodja Men’s Group, Swan River Trust, Rottnest Island Authority and the Kooya WAFL mentoring program.