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Kelli J. Owen, Australia

ANZDATA level 4
South Australian Medical Health Research Institute

Kelli Owen is a Kaurna, Narungga & Ngarrindjeri sovereign woman who holds a Bachelor of Education (Edith Cowan University) and a Masters of Indigenous Languages Education (University of Sydney). She is the National Community Engagement Coordinator for the National Indigenous Kidney Transplantation Taskforce (NIKTT), a member of NIKTT Operations Committee, Project officer with SA Health overseeing the Kanggawodli renal project with CNARTS (Central Northern Adelaide Renal & Transplantation Service), is a CI and member of AKction (Aboriginal Kidney Care Improving Outcomes Now) with the University of Adelaide, a newly appointment member of Organ Transplant Authority (OTA) advisory committee and is leading the SAHMRI (South Australian Health Medical Research Institute) project COMPASS (Connecting Our Mob Patient navigators As Sustainable Supports).

One of Kelli’s current projects is coordinating the interstate patient navigator project across four sites to streamline the kidney model of care and journey across states. She is collaborating with renal teams to adapt health education resources to increase health literacy to meet the needs of her people. In her current role, she yarns up with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities across Australia, focusing on their kidney journeys, local issues, and culturally appropriate solutions to increase equity and access to kidney transplantation. Kelli is familiar with Indigenous Governance and Data Sovereignty methods, harnessing the voices of Indigenous people to raise awareness of equity issues and health system barriers to address. Kelli prides herself as an information sharer, helping to grow kidney care knowledge to assist her people to make informed decisions. Kelli’s passion to share knowledge and to bridge knowledge systems of understanding to design innovative models of kidney care is a vital skill Kelli brings to the projects to ensure its success.

Kelli is a mother of 5 and Mutha (nanna) of four. Kelli has lived with CKD knowing ESKD would eventuate. Her lived experience of the journey, from diagnosis, pre-dialysis, Peritoneal Dialysis, Haemodialysis, transplant workup and assessment, transplantation leading to her current situation of post-transplant care management makes her an invaluable contributor. The challenges Kelli has experienced living in a regional town in South Australia has instilled her with an appreciation of the difficulties faced by rural and remote patients accessing essential health services. Issues pertaining to accessing treatment, transport, health language used, knowledge translation, genuine informed consent, medications, allied services and feeling culturally safe in hospital settings are areas she passionately advocates for.


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