BA, MA, PhD
Stephen Bell is an associate professor at the UQ Poche Centre for Indigenous Health and the School of Public Health at the University of Queensland. He is an applied health and social researcher with 19 years’ experience of qualitative, ethnographic and participatory research on sexual, reproductive and maternal health, HIV and other infectious diseases. He is currently working with remote, regional and urban Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across Australia, as well as with marginalised communities in Asia and the Pacific (Indonesia and Papua New Guinea), and has undertaken previous work in low income countries in Africa (Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe) and Asia (India and Nepal). Stephen:
works in partnership with communities, community organisations and government institutions to build understandings of people’s everyday experiences of health, structures of oppression that maintain health inequalities, and community action that effects change
is committed to prioritising community expertise and leadership to strengthen health programs, services, polices and outcomes
has expertise in the use of interpretive approaches to access and amplify excluded voices, knowledges, worldviews and priorities
is skilled in the use of innovative community-based methods to develop emic (insider) insight and privilege the generation and interpretation of data by community members
is committed to the mentoring and training doctoral and early career researchers in rigorous qualitative research
Qualifications: BA Hons, MA, PhD
Developing youth-centred health promotion strategies to prevent and mitigate the adverse health impacts of adolescent pregnancy in Papua New Guinea (NHMRC Project Grant, APP1144424, CIA)
Talking story: learning from Aboriginal young people about sexual health (NSW Health Prevention Research Support Program, Round 5, 2017-2021, CIA)
Fostering Aboriginal young people’s sexual well-being by building on strengths (ARC Discovery Grant, LP170100190, CIB)
Understanding the socio-cultural dimensions of tuberculosis in Papua New Guinea: Knowledge to optimise public health solutions (NHMRC Project Grant, APP1142715, CI)
New strategies to increase testing and treatment for endemic sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in remote Aboriginal communities (NHMRC Project Grant, APP1060478, CI)
Young people's experiences of pregnancy in Papua New Guinea. Adolescent pregnancy is a major public health concern in PNG, the Asia-Pacific region, and other low and middle income countries, with severe health and socio-economic outcomes for young women. This three-year NHMRC Project Grant will examine the experiences of early pregnancy among young female and male Papua New Guineans (15-24 years). Using qualitative research and working in partnership with young people, project outcomes will include the design of youth health services and community-outreach programs to curb the ongoing harm associated with adolescent pregnancy. Collaborative study with the Sexual & Reproductive Health Unit, Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research.
Understanding the socio-cultural dimensions of tuberculosis in Papua New Guinea. PNG has among the highest TB incidence rates in the world, with rates in particular areas considerably higher. This three-year NHMRC-funded qualitative study will examine the socio-cultural contexts of TB control programs. The project outcome will be better contextualised solutions to improve the effectiveness of TB control programs and therefore the spread of TB and its drug resistant forms. Collaborative study with the Sexual & Reproductive Health Unit, Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research.
Talking story: learning from Aboriginal young people about sexual health, NSW, Australia. We are conducting youth-centred, youth-led qualitative research across NSW - in partnership with NSW Health, Aboriginal Community-Controlled Health Services and other community-based partners - that aligns with NSW Health priorities with a focus on the prevention of HIV, viral hepatitis and STIs. In addition to community-based research projects, this study includes the development of a qualitative research skills among Indigenous youth, and training and capacity building in youth-focussed qualitative research for Aboriginal Health Workers in NSW Health staff.
Understanding global biomedical technologies in local realities: the case of couples with mixed HIV status in Papua New Guinea. It is frequently assumed that, if given equitable access, biomedical technologies designed to treat and prevent disease will have uniform or predictable effects irrespective of the local context in which they are used or consumed. During this three year ARC-funded longitudinal anthropological study, we will work with people in heterosexual, same sex and polygamous relationships, in rural and urban settings, to explore the promises, limits and applications of HIV-related biomedical technologies, examine the effects of these technologies in people's lives, and understand how use of these technologies is influenced by local socio-sexual, religious and cultural practices and meanings. Collaborative study with the Sexual & Reproductive Health Unit, Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research.
The MOST (More Options for STI testing) Study, Central Australia. Many remote Aboriginal communities continue to experience the impacts of curable STIs that occur at rates among the highest in the world, and are looking for innovative yet pragmatic solutions. Based in the Northern Territory, the NHMRC-funded MOST study is a trial of two strategies for increasing the number of young people being tested and treated for sexually transmitted chlamydia, gonorrhoea and trichomonas in remote Aboriginal communities. The trial will follow a period of community-based qualitative formative research, and will be accompanied by community-designed health promotion about the availability and benefits of STI testing. Collaborative study with Central Australian Aboriginal Congress.
STRIVEplus: Refinement and translation of an intervention designed to improve sexual health service delivery in remote communities. This is a long-term NHMRC-funded observational study of quality improvement in government and Aboriginal Community-Controlled Health Services in the Northern Territory. Drawing on quantitative and qualitative monitoring research, this study aims to determine the long-term sustainability of changes in sexual health service delivery brought about by the implementation of a quality improvement program.
Peer research in health and social development. This project problematises the uncritical application of peer research and illustrates the potential of good quality peer research practice to aid understanding and make a difference both programmatically and on the ground. Through a mix of good practice case studies – drawn from a range of international settings involving diverse population groups – we hope to help ensure that the applied use of peer research can facilitate and lead to an in-depth understanding of real world pressing problems in health and social development.
Monitoring and evaluation in health and social development - interpretive and ethnographic perspectives. Drawing on primary research from a wide range of developing and developed country settings, this edited collection illustrates the value of interpretive and ethnographic approaches in program and service design, monitoring and evaluation. New approaches are needed to monitor and evaluate health and social development initiatives. The growing emphasis on results-based programming has resulted in evaluation being conducted in order to demonstrate accountability and success, rather than how change takes place, what works and why. The tendency to monitor and evaluate using log frames and their variants closes policy makers’ and practitioners’ eyes to the sometimes unanticipated means by which change takes place. Through a focus on individual and community perspectives, and locally-grounded explanations, the methods explored in this book offer a potentially richer way of assessing the relationships between intent, action and change in health and social development in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas.