Dr Kevin Rowley

We mourn the loss of our colleague and dear friend, Dr Kevin Rowley, Senior Research Fellow and leader in the Indigenous Health Equity Unit (formerly Onemda, VicHealth Koori Health Unit), Centre for Health Equity, who passed away on last Friday 9 September after falling ill with pneumonia following a long battle with cancer.  Our thoughts and prayers are with Kev's wife, Marion, sons Tom and Bernie, and family at this difficult time. 

Kev has been involved in research and evaluation of community-based health promotion and public health programs in Indigenous communities since 1993. His work included a major focus on community engagement, capacity building, addressing local priorities, engagement across sectors and privileging Indigenous knowledge. His connection to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community organisations across Australia were based on a strong foundation of respect and reciprocity and allowed for demonstration of his strengths in research.

Most notably, Kev, with a multidisciplinary team, investigated the aims, purpose and design of Aboriginal health promotion, demonstrating its holistic, family- and community-focussed approach, and the great breadth of outcomes sought by these community-designed and led initiatives as part of the Goulburn Murray Health Alliance, including his beloved Rumbalara Football Netball Club.

Kev’s love and commitment to his team of staff and students throughout his 10 years at Onemda means that he leaves a strong legacy of Indigenous research leadership and community advocacy. The faith that Kev had in each of us gave us courage, and his uncompromising honesty, integrity and humility will remain with us to guide us as researchers and as people. For this we remain thankful, and are proud of the continued role we can all take to follow his path, together, to improve the health and wellbeing of Australia’s First Peoples.

A memorial to Kev’s academic life and contributions to Indigenous health research will be held later in the year. We will be celebrating an extraordinary life, and a life very well-lived.

Requiesce in pace, dear Kev.