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To Be Born Upon a Pandanus Mat

Yothuw gayatha dhäwal’ guyaŋa’ nharaw: Redesigning maternity services for Yolŋu mothers and babies living on Elcho Island Northern Territory (NT), using Birthing on Country principles and the RISE translational Framework, to reduce preterm birth and improve health outcomes: A prospective, non-randomised, intervention trial

Painting  & Photograph by: Pat Josse


To Be Born Upon a Pandanus Mat

Yothuw gayatha dhäwal’ guyaŋa’ nharaw

The study builds on the Caring for Mum on Country project and aims to establish and evaluate Australia’s ‘Birthing on Country’ very remote, demonstration site in Galiwin’ku, Elcho Island, Arnhem Land. We will redesign the health service to increase continuity and quality of maternity care as Yolŋu women move through services in Galiwin’ku, Nhulunbuy and Darwin. We will facilitate early medical and allied health referral for women with complex needs and chronic conditions and enable Yolŋu to use Indigenous knowledges across the first 1,000 days by providing djäkamirr (Indigenous doula) support to women during pregnancy, childbirth and until baby turns 2-years old. Improving midwifery care and support through clinical and cultural supervision and greater integration of care and services across the jurisdiction is a key strategy. We will increase Yolŋu engagement, governance, and control as we develop community reproductive health data reports to facilitate reproductive health literacy. The clinical efficacy, acceptability, cost-effectiveness, and cost-benefit of the very remote ‘Birthing on Country’ will be systematically evaluated. 

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We are currently offering a generous PhD scholarship to a passionate student.

Scholarship Package

Commencing in 2023, the successful applicant will be paid an annual stipend of $40,000 - over $10,000 more

than a standard Research Training Program (RTP) stipend! 3 - 3.5 years + tuition waiver for candidature period.


Prospective applicants should be an Australian citizen or permanent resident, meet the entry requirements for

PhD as defined by CDU admission guidelines & graduated with high distinction or top 5-10% or achieved a GPA of more than 85%. 

To lodge an expression of interest please contact by email or mobile 0477 786 243



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Department of Health NT

Commonwealth Department of Health

Project Supporter


The Pandanus Childbirth Mat, Photograph P.Josse

Research Team

Chief Investigators

Prof Yvette Roe

Prof Sue Kildea

A/Prof Elaine Ḻäwurrpa Maypilama

Ms Rosemary Gundjarraŋbuy

A/Prof Anne Lowell

A/Prof Yu Gao

Dr Christine Connors

Dr Sarah Ireland

A/Prof Suzanne Moore

Partner Investigators

Dept of Health NT

Dr Christine Connors

Adjunct Prof Michelle (Mish) Hill

Adjunct Prof Belinda Jennings

Ms Theresa Clasquin

Ms Mary-Clare Arkcoll

Dr Kiarna Brown

Miwatj Health Aboriginal Corporation

Ms Laura Hinds

Dr Lou Sanderson

Dr Brownyn Rossingh

Ms Djaparri Mununggurritj

Australian Red Cross

Ms Nancy Rarrkminy Gondarra


Yalu Aboriginal Corporation

Ms Dorothy Yuŋgirrŋa Bukulatjpi

Ms Anahita Tonkin


Ms Amanda Quinn

Australian Doula College

Ms Renee Adair

Commonwealth Department of Health

Mr Ben Mudaliar

Ms Claire Clack

Ms Tais Topal Silva

Ms Micaela Williams

Dr Wendy Page

Pandanus Mat.jpg
Artist: Dorothy Marrawungu
Gapuwiyak Culture & Arts
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