Researcher biography

Steve Bell is a Principal Research Fellow in the UQ Poche Centre for Indigenous Health. With interdisciplinary training in human geography, anthropology, development studies and public health, he has over 20 years' experience of community-based qualitative, participatory and ethnographic research, with a focus on the health and wellbeing of marginalised peoples, health inequity and injustice, and the socio-structural determinants of health.

He is currently working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in urban, regional and remote settings across Australia, and excluded communities in Asia and the Pacific (Indonesia and Papua New Guinea). Based in academic, research consultancy and non-governmental organisations, he has undertaken previous research and evaluation work in countries in Africa (Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe) and Asia (India and Nepal).

Steve works in partnership with communities, community organisations and government institutions to build understandings of people's everyday experiences of health and wellbeing, societal structures that produce health inequalities, and community action that effects change. He specialises in the use of community-based methods and interpretive approaches to access and amplify excluded voices, knowledges and experiences, and is committed to prioritising community expertise and leadership to strengthen health programs, services, polices and outcomes. He has published two edited collections in these areas: 'Peer research in health and social development: international perspectives on participatory research' (2021), and 'Monitoring and evaluation in health and social development: interpretive and ethnographic perspectives' (2016). He is Joint Editor, Sexual Health journal and Member of the International Editorial Advisory Board for Culture, Health & Sexuality.

Current research

Current research projects include a focus on:

  • Aboriginal men's perspectives on health in South East Queensland
  • Transforming access, relational care, and primary health care in an urban Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population through patient-centred medical homes
  • Using peer research approaches to understand Aboriginal young people's sexual well-being
  • Aboriginal youth-led rapid qualitative assessments of COVID-19 needs and experiences
  • Young women's and men's experiences of pregnancy in Papua New Guinea
  • Socio-cultural dimensions of tuberculosis, diagnosis, prevention and care in Papua New Guinea
  • Socialising biomedical approaches to HIV testing, treatment and care among key populations in PNG, Indonesia and Uganda
  • Indigenous-led birthing on Country programs

PhD supervision

Steve has a keen interest in mentoring and training community, doctoral and early career researchers in rigorous qualitative health and social research. Please do reach out for a chat if you're interested in undertaking qualitative PhD research on any of the research interests listed below!

Recent PhD supervision experience includes:

  • 'HIV prevention among men who have sex with men and female sex workers in Uganda', by Lydia Nakiganda, due to submit in 2023 (In progress; Associate Advisor).
  • 'Drug use practices and changing HIV risk environments: the lived experiences of people who use drugs in Jakarta, Indonesia' by Dr Anindita Sudewo (successfully completed, 2022; Principal Advisor)
  • 'Navigating the social dynamics of HIV care: A qualitative study in urban Indonesia in the era of scaled-up testing and treatment', by Dr Elan Lazuardi, now a Lecturer in Anthropology at Universitas Gadjah Mada in Yogyakarta, Indonesia (Successfully completed, 2020; Principal Advisor)
  • 'Socio-ecological factors influencing access to and use of HIV testing, treatment and care services in fishing communities around Lake Victoria in Uganda', by Dr Christopher Tumwine, now a Lecturer in Medical Sociology at Kabale University in Kabale, Uganda (Successfully completed, 2019; Principal Advisor)