My PhD thesis, Community Control: Aboriginal self-determination and liberal democracy, emerged out of a project I undertook with the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation (VACCHO) in early 2008 to document the institutional reforms and policy developments in Aboriginal health that led to the peak body’s establishment. Working closely with the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service (VAHS), my work documents the early history of VAHS and, more broadly, the history of policy and program development within Aboriginal health since the 1960s. One of his main aims is to highlight impediments to effective policy and program development within Aboriginal health over the past four decades and thus enable the further development of knowledge that can assist in positive reforms within Aboriginal health.
Growing up in Ballarat, I developed an early interest in the underlying causes of Aboriginal ill-health, and after finishing school this interest led me to do take up work with VACCHO. It was while there that I finished a Bachelor of Arts and then an Honours degree at La Trobe University, which I completed in 2007. In 2008, I started his PhD studies at the University of Melbourne, where I was enrolled in the School of Population Health and the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies.