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Professor Sue Kildea and Assoc Prof Yvette Roe

Molly Wardaguga Research Centre

Leaders in First Nations maternal, newborn and child health



SKildea and YRoe presentation
Assoc. Prof. Yvette Roe (left), Prof. Sue Kildea (right)

Directors' message

The Molly Wardaguga Research Centre was a strategic investment by Charles Darwin University in 2019. Established in honour of Burarra Elder and midwife who worked extensively to improve health outcomes, with a vision of returning birthing services to Indigenous communities and Indigenous control. Centre co-directors, Professors Kildea and Roe, are leaders in health services research in midwifery, culturally responsive models of care and Indigenous health.

The vision of the Centre is to support women’s cultural and birthing aspirations, especially in remote locations through research and use this to dismantle the barriers imposed by westernised approaches to birthing and maternal healthcare.

To respond to our First Nations industry partners aspirations, we have assembled a multidisciplinary team of experts across Australia to address inequities in the first 2,000 days (pregnancy to age five), including Indigenous methodology and knowledge holders, midwifery, nursing, inter-cultural communication, participatory action research, community development and investment, digital media, public health, health economist, biostatistician, sociology, anthropology, biostatistics, epidemiology, neonatology, implementation science, medicine, health services and translational research.

Working side-by-side with communities, we undertake joint funding applications, lobbying and membership on research, steering and participatory action research committees. Local employment, training and education are all key goals for program implementation and conducting research.

CDU’s Molly Wardaguga Research Centre is part of a global movement for ‘Birthing on Country. and we see this as a call to action for ‘Black Lives Matter’. Our intention for urgent and immediate change to address systemic racism and catalyse generational change for the First Nations people.

- Co-directors, Professor Sue Kildea and Associate Professor Yvette Roe

Watch the CDU professorial lecture on the centre

About the Centre

The Molly Wardaguga Research Centre was established in April 2019 and is dedicated to the late Molly Wardaguga, Burarra Elder, Aboriginal Midwife, Senior Aboriginal Health Worker and founding member of the Malabam (now Malal’a) Health Board in Maningrida, Arnhem Land.

Molly was an important contributor to the Australian discourse regarding the importance of Birthing on Country. Her work and mentoring in Aboriginal health and research; and maternal and infant health, in particular, has galvanised many advocates to improve maternity services for Indigenous Australians. Read Molly’s story.

Molly's vision to support women’s cultural and birthing aspirations, especially those living in remote locations, will endure through the Molly Wardaguga Research Centre which is an initiative of Charles Darwin University.

Support the Molly Wardaguga Research Centre

Molly Wardaguga
Molly Wardaguga, Burarra Elder from Maningrida, Arnhem Land
MWRC launch
Molly Wardaguga Research Centre

Video: 4 minutes, 3 seconds 

 Video: 45 minutes, 52 seconds


  • Birthing on Country conference to be held in October, co-hosted by the Molly Wardaguga Research Centre, will be a celebration of the long history of First Nations maternity care, and a look to the future of on-country birthing.

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    Molly Wardaguga Research Centre secures $5 million to support First Nations maternal health

    Charles Darwin University’s (CDU) Molly Wardaguga Research Centre has welcomed $5 million in this year’s budget for the Birthing On Country project to support First Nations mothers and their babies in remote communities for the next five years.

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