Impact Blog

How to change a life – by decolonising the health system

October 2021

Research Graduates from Central Queensland University know the impact of their research – they know it can change lives.

Many of CQU’s graduate researchers have gained considerable industry experience, before they start their research degrees. And by building on that experience through their research, they are making a difference in their communities.

Just like psychologist, and now graduate researcher, Sam Cooms.


Sam Cooms, a Noonukul Quandamooka woman, became a psychologist with the aim of having an impact on mental health in her community.

However, becoming a mum to children with disabilities and seeing systemic problems in the health care sector shifted her priorities.

Now, these personal experiences and her Indigenous values are key to her vision to transform lives by creating a more inclusive society for people with disabilities.


Sam is part of CQU’s First Nations Research Higher Degree Academy, the first of its kind in Australia.

Her PhD research seeks to explore the lived experiences of the Quandamooka community in regards to disability. This includes traditional practices and the intersectional relationships with western programs and practices and the community’s hopes for the future in the disability sector.


Find out more about Sam’s journey to PhD research and how she’s having an impact by listening to the CQU podcast here:


If this episode raises issues for you, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

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