Vicki Kerrigan

PhD candidate


Master of International and Community Development, Deakin University 2016; Bachelor of Arts (Communications), Charles Sturt University, 1994


Darwin – Royal Darwin Hospital


Vicki Kerrigan believes stories have the power to inspire positive change. She has two decades of experience as a reporter and presenter at ABC Radio stations across the country. As a presenter on ABC Darwin, Vicki started to question why the mainstream media dominated by non-Indigenous storytellers (herself included) struggled to tell Aboriginal stories well. So began her research journey exploring the socio-cultural factors which affect Indigenous settler communication.

Currently working with Aboriginal leaders, the Top End Health Service (TEHS) and the NT Aboriginal Interpreter Service she is undertaking a PhD, embedded in the ‘Communicate Study’. The PhD project explores the barriers to effective communication between Aboriginal patients and hospital-based doctors in Darwin and the power of patient stories to challenge negative stereotypes. Drawing on her experience as a broadcaster, Vicki is piloting a series of cultural education podcasts which reveal the patients experience of hospital.

In addition to her PhD project, she is conducting qualitative research with the SP Plus: expanding RHD prevention project. Previously she was project manager on the Social Media to Enhance Indigenous Tobacco Control research project. She has lived in Darwin for over a decade.


  1. Tongans use social media to fight lifestyle diseases

    Tongans use social media to fight lifestyle diseases


    The training comes as new research from the Menzies School of Health looking at Australia's indigenous community has shown that using Facebook to deliver health messages can be effective.

  2. The ‘Communicate’ Study : Poster

    The ‘Communicate’ Study : Poster


    A poster presentation on a study of patient-provider intercultural communication at Royal Darwin Hospital and consequently Aboriginal patient health outcomes, measured using quantitative and qualitative data.

  3. NT News | Sharing health message on FB

    NT News | Sharing health message on FB


    NT News | Sharing health message on FB

  4. Media release | Feel-good social media posts more likely to encourage healthy behaviour

    Media release | Feel-good social media posts more likely to encourage healthy behaviour


    Positive health-related social media posts that provide new information are more likely to be shared by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to encourage healthy behaviours, a study has found.

  1. Kerrigan, V, Herdman R.M., Thomas D.P. and Hefler, M. (2019). ‘I still remember your post about buying smokes’: a case study of a remote Aboriginal community-controlled health service using Facebook for tobacco control. Australian Journal of Primary Health, 25(5), 443-448. doi: 10.1071/PY19008
  2. Hefler, M., Kerrigan, V., Henryks, J., Freeman. B,, Boot, G. and Thomas, D.P. (2019). Using Facebook to reduce smoking among Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people: a participatory grounded action study. BMC Public Health, 19. doi: 10.1186/s12889-019-6918-7 
  3. Hughes, J., Dembski, L., Kerrigan, V., Majoni, S.W., Lawton, P.D. and Cass, A. (2018). Gathering Perspectives - Finding Solutions for Chronic and End Stage Kidney Disease. Indigenous Patient Voices - 2017 Symposium Report. Asia Pacific Society of Nephrology, 23(S1), 1-13. 
  4. Hefler, M., Kerrigan, V., Henryks, J., Freeman, B., and Thomas, D.P. (2018). Social media and health information sharing among Australian Indigenous people. Health Promotion International, 34(4), 706–715. doi: 10.1093/heapro/day018 
  5. Kerrigan, V. (December, 2017). Whitefella Broadcasting: Why non Indigenous journalists struggle to tell Aboriginal stories in Australia. Paper presented at the Journalism Education and Research Association of Australia annual conference, Newcastle.