Dr Mishel McMahon
Emerging Leader 2019 - 2020
Dr Mishel McMahon is a Yorta Yorta woman who grew up in a family of 9 in rural Victoria.
Mishel worked at the Bendigo & District Aboriginal Co-operative, DjaDja Wurrung Corporation and Indigenous Student Services at La Trobe University while she studied. Progressing from her degree, to honours and then completing PhD in 2018 she became a part of the Bendigo Aboriginal Community being a member of the Bendigo Executive NAIDOC Committee and facilitator of the Bendigo Sorry Day Sunset Ceremony.
When Mishel began her PhD her study aimed to reveal, position and emancipate First Nations Australian discourses on childrearing as an alternate but equal body of knowledge to Western childhood development theories. From her study she developed a ‘knowledge transition diagram’ demonstrating the pathway Western knowledges take to be strongly positioned in education and practice. Understanding this process but using methods in line with Indigenist relational research protocols her study revealed principles of Indigenous childrearing for nursing, education and social work degrees, and for Victorian health agencies.
Mishel believes she needs to take her research methodology and findings to the next level and disseminate her study through articles, book manuscripts, training workshops and short films.
At the start of 2019 an opportunity came to work full-time at La Trobe University Shepparton, in the Social Work Department and Indigenous Student Services. As a Yorta Yorta woman she grabbed the chance to work on Country with her community.
Mishel’s qualifications include:
- La Trobe University – PhD Doctor of Philosophy: To reveal, position and emancipate Indigenous discourses on child rearing as alternate but equal discourses; strengthening and legitimising Indigenous perspectives within the Western education and child welfare sector.
- La Trobe University – Bachelor of Social Work/ Bachelor of Human Services.
- La Trobe University – Social Work & Social Policy, Honours H1: ‘How would Social Work evolve and progress if it was informed by Indigenous knowledges’?
In March 2019, Mishel won the inaugural Aboriginal Researcher Award at the Victorian Premier’s Awards for Health and Medical Research. Her research was chosen to be showcased in the inaugural La Trobe SHE College Research & Engagement Report (2018-2019).
As part of her Emerging Leader project Mishel created and developed the First Nations Health and Healing App IMIGO which has now been officially launched on Android and Apple mobiles in June 2022. The IMIGO App improves communication and engagement between First Nations people and Health Professionals leading to better health outcomes. IMIGO is a First Nations mobile app available for everyone.
Mishel is currently the Aboriginal Rural Health Coordinator at La Trobe Rural Health School, La Trobe University Bendigo.