Researcher biography

Dr Penny Haora (Ngāti Pūkenga, Ngāti Māhanga) is a Research Fellow in the UQ Poche Centre for Indigenous Health.

Penny researches innovations and system transformation for better maternity care with a focus on First Nations families. She uses qualitative, mixed methods, community-based participatory, and realist approaches. As a First Nations Maori researcher, Penny is learning Kaupapa Maori and Indigenist research approaches and works to see the revaluing of Indigenous knowledges and science. The overall aim of her research is to support healthy families through better births. She does this by conducting and facilitating research that places the lived experiences of mums and bubs, families and community front and centre.

Penny aims for her work to incentivise action to address entrenched inequities in maternity care, such as care quality/safety (including cultural safety) and access. She has worked in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community organisations, internationally with remote communities and in post-conflict settings with local and international non-government organisations, and within diverse organisational contexts.

Penny is leading projects with a view to better understanding and evaluating First Nations-led maternity and family care and wellbeing. From 2019 to 2022, she managed the Building on Our Strengths (BOOSt) project based on the beautiful Lands of the Yuin Nation (NSW) embedded with Waminda South Coast Aboriginal Women’s Health and Wellbeing Organisation. Penny completed a Doctor of Philosophy in 2013 enrolled at the ANU working on a project based in Thailand. Her Master of Public Health research was undertaken in Rasuwa District, Nepal, and she has around six years of experience working in research/evaluation/management and clinical roles in Thailand, Nepal, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Bangladesh, and Papua New Guinea.

Penny is available to supervise PhD students, Honours and Master of Public Health projects.