• The University of Western Australia (M303), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


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Personal profile


Dr Kate Smith is the Research Lead and Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Aboriginal Medical and Dental Health (CAMDH), Medical School, University of Western Australia, on Nyoongar Country. Kate has led Aboriginal ageing well research for over 20 years, including the co-design of assessments with older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people now embedded in national health and aged care policy and practice (Kimberley Indigenous Cognitive Assessment tool and Good Spirit Good Life package), and has co-designed culturally safe models of aged care (Lungurra Ngoora integrated aged care model; Derbarl Yerrigan Health Service memory clinic).

Dr Smith is co-director of the National Good Spirit Good Life Centre for Research Excellence in Indigenous Ageing Well. She leads a project to increase to enhance the detection of cognitive impairment and dementia (KICA project); a dementia risk management program for Aboriginal people (DAMPAA); the review of the Good Spirit Good Life tool for remote regions and the Torres Strait; the development of an aged care Good Spirit Good Life education package; and is a chief investigator on the OnTrack Centre for Research Excellence in Indigenous Dementia. 

Dr Smith advocated for, co-chaired and authored the NHMRC Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Roadmap for Dementia Research and Translation. She has served on multiple Department of Health committees for national aged care reform advocating for culturally safe assessment and models of care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; is a National Advisory Group for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Aged Care (NAGATSIAC)) founding member; and is a member of the AIHW Dementia Expert Advisory Panel. Dr Smith is a member of the International Indigenous Dementia Network, and an international collaborator on the AMICA Indigenous cognitive assessment study in the US.

Dr Smith is the unit coordinator for Aboriginal Health Research and Ethics (AHEA5801) and Aboriginal Health Research Project (AHEA3300). Dr Smith has led the establishment of the CAMDH Aboriginal Ageing Well research team, and established a new support model to increase the enrolment and success of Aboriginal UWA students in postgraduate health research, in collaboration with the School of Indigenous Studies. She currently supervises 4 Aboriginal postgraduate students.



Funding overview

  • Smith K, Pestell C, Bessarab D, LoGiudice D, FLicker L, Russell S, Hyde Z, Malay R, Sagigi B, Strivens E, Darling G, Smith R, Kneebone S, Almeida O, Dudley M, Walker J, Nguyen H, Zanker J, Glance D. Strengthening and enhancing the utility of a neuropsychological tool for dementia in First Nations peoples. 2023-2027. MRFF Dementia Ageing and Aged Care Mission. $2,500,000.
  • Smith K, Bessarab D, Flicker L, Gilchrsit L, Malay R, White C. Exploring the cultural acceptability of the urban Good Spirit Good Life quality of life assessment package and adapting for remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations. 2022-2023. Poche Centre for Indigenous Health. $85,500.
  • Goldberg L, Radford K, Smith K, LoGIudice D, Poulos L, Baldock D, Canty A, Kuravilla M, Bessarab D, Cartwright J, Andersen C, Evans J. 2023-2026. Privileging the spirit, voices, and culture of Aboriginal people in dementia care: Education for non-Aboriginal healthcare providers. MRFF. $989,090.
  • Jacklin K, 2022-2028. "Addressing Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias Disparities: The American Indigenous Cognitive Assessment (AMICA)” (R01AG074231) $10,008,228.
  • LoGiudice D, Bessarab D, Smith K, Burchill L, Radford K, Withall A, Malay R, Flicker L. 2021-2026. On TRACK (Teaching, Research And Community Knowledges): CRE promoting brain health with older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence. $3,000,000.
  • K Smith, L Flicker, D Bessarab, D LoGiudice, K Cox, O Almeida, K Hill, Z Hughes, P Edgill, D Woods. 2018-2024 ‘Dementia prevention and risk Management Program for Aboriginal Australians (DAMPAA)’, NHMRC TCR into Dementia in Indigenous Australians, $2,543,423.30.
  • Bessarab D, LoGiudice D, Flicker L, Smith K, Wright M, Radford K, Ratcliffe J, Malay R, Gibson C, Thompson S. 2020-2025. Good Spirit Good Life Centre for Research Excellence: Better health and wellbeing for older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians., NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence, $2,500,000.
  • Strivens E, Russell S, Flicker L, Logiudice D, Smith K, Quigley R. 2019-2025. A framework for healthy ageing in the Torres Strait. NHMRC targeted research. $1,150,540.
  • CIF 2019-2025. Reducing dementia risk in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.  Boosting dementia research grant. $1,515145.
  • CIE Defining and predicting Healthy Ageing in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island populations (HATS), NHMRC TCR in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healthy Ageing, 2019-2024 $931,119.40.
  • Smith K, Bessarab D. National Poche Network, Good Spirit, Good Life validation in Victoria, $50,650, 2018
  • LoGiudice D, Bessarab D, Flicker L, Wenitong M, Smith K, Radford K, Striven E, Atkinson D. The “Let’s CHAT (Community Health Approaches to) Dementia in Indigenous Communities” the Targeted Research APP1150337, NHMRC Targeted call for Dementia in Indigenous people  $2,661,502.00, 2018- 2023. 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Western Australia

Award Date: 1 Jan 2009

Research expertise keywords

  • Dementia
  • Aboriginal health
  • Aged care services
  • Health services and systems
  • Quality of life and well-being
  • Healthy ageing
  • Cognitive assessment
  • Indigenous mental health


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