Michael Wright is a Yuat Nyoongar man from the Moora and New Norcia area of Western Australia, north of Perth. He has worked as a hospital-based social worker and as a mental health service manager and completed a Masters of Applied Epidemiology from the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health at the Australian National University in 2004. In 2010, Michael completed his PhD (Curtin University) which explored Aboriginal families’ access to mental health services and, in the same year, secured a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) post-doctoral fellowship to conduct applied research investigating the barriers Aboriginal families faced in accessing those services. Through several large research projects—focused on changing service delivery and their responsiveness—he has worked in partnership with Nyoongar (Aboriginal) Elders, community members (including young people) and service staff to address the disconnect between Nyoongar peoples and mental health services in the Metropolitan Perth. These projects have been located on Wadjuk boodja, one of fourteen regions that cover the lower South West of Western Australia.
Associate Professor Wright’s process for engaging with Nyoongar peoples to co-design health services has been cited in the WA Mental Health Alcohol and Other Drug Services Plan 2015–2025 as a best practice in working with Aboriginal people; by the Western Australian Association for Mental Health; and, the Centre for Best Practice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention. Michael has also held positions as the Head of Aboriginal Health Research at KARDU, Telethon Kids Institute, and was a member of the Mental Health Advisory Council Member (Ministerial appointment).
Most recently Associate Professor Wright received funding for a five year Medical Research Future Fund (Million Minds Mission) project which will see Elders, youth and service providers come together to build relationships, evaluate current services, develop new service models and evaluate changes to practice. This project will involve services in six regional Western Australian centres and is grounded in Aboriginal ways of being, knowing and doing.
Michael is an Associate Professor at Curtin University in the Faculty of Health Sciences. Associate Professor Wright’s experience, understandings, and expertise are highly regarded and recognised in the Aboriginal community, with Government and non-Government agencies, and policy-makers.