A/Prof Gillian Gould

Meet Dr Gillian Gould Preventative Health: Helping indigenous women quit smoking

Gillian is a GP and an Associate Professor at the University of Newcastle School of Medicine and Public Health. She is working with Aboriginal Medical Services in several states to find out which techniques help Indigenous women stop smoking.

Four times the number of pregnant women in Australia’s Indigenous population smoke compared to other Australians – 47% versus 13%. This means that each year nearly half of all newborn Indigenous babies could be affected in the womb by smoking.

“Tackling smoking in pregnant women improves at least two people’s chances at a healthier life – mothers and babies – and has implications for the whole community, “ Gillian says.

The research

Currently little is known about what strategies work to help Indigenous women quit smoking, so this is the focus of Gillian’s research.

“It’s wonderful that Cure Cancer Australia has recognised the importance of preventative health and this very high priority project,” she says.   

Gillian’s research will undertake in-depth analysis of behaviour-change therapies used in the SISTAQUIT program.

“We’ll compare the number and type of behaviour-change therapies actually used by trained health providers trained in ‘our program’, to health providers using their standard approach.

“We also aim to analyse the capabilities of investigators in this area to see whether people we have trained can do what we want them to do, and help improve training of providers.”

Colour and innovation

Gillian is also collaborating on quit smoking programs in pregnancy that are not specific to Indigenous people.

“My work is spreading into the general population. It’s quite exciting,“ she says.

Gillian loves nature, walking and living by the beach. She is also passionate about creative arts – a love that she shares with many family members.

“My life is surrounded by colour and innovation, so that naturally spills over into my work,“ she says.


Gillian is funded by Cure Cancer Australia and Cancer Australia through the Priority-driven Cancer Support Scheme. Her grant is supported by The Can Too Foundation.

We need your help

Donate to fund future researchers like Gillian and let’s make this the last generation to die from cancer.