Our Team


Our leadership philosophy is fixed in collaboration, innovation, and a commitment to excellence. They bring a unique set of skills, experiences, and perspectives, fostering an environment of collaboration.   Get to know the distinguished individuals who lead our research endeavours, pushing the boundaries of knowledge and shaping the future of Indigenous Health and Wellbeing.


Professor Dawn Bessarab

Director, Centre for Aboriginal Medical and Dental Health  

Professor Dawn Bessarab is an Aboriginal woman of Bard (West Kimberley) and Yjindjarbandi (Pilbara) descent . Professor Bessarab is the Director of The University of Western Australia's Centre for Aboriginal Medical and Dental Health.

Professor Bessarab is engaged in research looking at interventions and collaborative approaches to addressing health issues affecting Aboriginal people.

Professor Bessarab is a highly regarded and experienced researcher who graduated with her PhD in 2007.

Professor Bessarab is particularly interested in the application of Indigenous research methodologies, participatory action research and the translation of research into policy and practice.

Professor Bessarab is a Chief Investigator on a number of National Health and Medical Research Council health grants and Centre for Research Excellence. Professor Bessarab is a member of the National Indigenous Research and Knowledges Network (NIRAKN). She has published and presented both individually and collaboratively on her work Nationally and Internationally.

kate smith

Dr Kate Smith  

Research Lead, Centre for Aboriginal Medical and Dental Health  

Dr Kate Smith is a well-respected and experienced researcher in the field of Aboriginal ageing well.  Dr Smith lectures at The University of Western Australia's Centre for Aboriginal Medical and Dental Health. Prior to her research career Dr Smith was a Occupational Therapist.   

Since 2003, Dr Smith has led over 12 large scale projects on the topic of Indigenous ageing well.

In partnership with Kimberley communities, Dr Smith's research team developed the first culturally appropriate memory and thinking screening tool for older Aboriginal people.  The Kimberley Indigenous Cognitive Assessment tool or KICA, is currently used around Australia and has been adapted internationally to screen other Indigenous people, including, Canada and Brazil. 

More recently Dr Smith co-developed a quality of life assessment tool and package for older Aboriginal Australians (Good Spirit, Good Life tool).