• The University of Western Australia (M303), 35 Stirling Highway, Bilya Marlee Room 115

    6009 Perth

    Australia

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Personal profile

Biography

Professor Pat Dudgeon is a Bardi woman from the Kimberley. Since 2009 she has been a researcher in the School of Indigenous Studies at the University of Western Australia (UWA). Her research is concerned with community engagement, consultation, and responsiveness, and draws upon multi-disciplinary approaches. Her large, national integrated projects map social phenomena and seek to implement transformative methods and practices focused on Indigenous health and wellbeing. 

Professor Dudgeon has had outstanding success in attracting Category I competitive research funding to support her work on Indigenous mental health, suicide prevention and community empowerment. Currently (2018) she is currently Chief Investigator in three government-sponsored nationally significant collaborative research projects, funded to the value of over $8 million.  Since 2013, she has generated social research funds of around $18.2 million. 

Foremost in Professor Dudgeon’s list of achievements is the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project (ATSISPEP), funded by the Australian government. This ground-breaking evaluation clearly identified the key elements for best practice suicide prevention programs and strategies, and the central importance of Indigenous leadership at all levels of delivery.

The profound national impact of ATSISPEP formed the catalyst for the Centre of Best Practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention (CBPATSISP), established at UWA. The Centre aims to reduce the causes, prevalence and impact of suicide on Indigenous individuals, families and communities and to support best practice in Indigenous suicide prevention.

For Australia’s Indigenous peoples, there are specific cultural, historical and political contributors to mental health that require a rethinking of conventional models and assumptions. Through its research, the Centre facilitates a culturally appropriate evaluation framework based on Indigenous indicators (what is important for Indigenous people and communities) including an adaptation of the ‘systems approach’ to suicide prevention, aligned with the current overarching approach to suicide prevention. This is achieved through consultation with Indigenous communities and relevant stakeholders, collaborative action research, national conferences and discussions, a clearinghouse website, and the dissemination of best practice guidance, education programs and resource materials.

As well as being a board member to the newly established Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Group (gayaadhuwi.org.au/), Professor Dudgeon is a prominent contributor to the National Torres Strait Islander Leaders in Mental Health group (http://natsilmh.org.au), the Australian Indigenous Psychologists Association (http://www.indigenouspsychology.com.au), co-chair of the National Ministerial Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Advisory Group where significant policies have been developed to improve the mental health and wellbeing of Indigenous Australians (pmc.gov.au/resource-centre/indigenous-affairs/national-strategic-framework-mental-health-social-emotional-wellbeing-2017-23). She is also a member of the National Suicide Prevention Taskforce to the Prime Minister’s advisor on national suicide prevention.

Other research achievements include as a lead researcher in the respected Poche Centre for Indigenous Health (located at one of Australia’s most prestigious universities), and as a member of the editorial boards of the Australian Aboriginal Studies Journal and the international Journal of Indigenous Wellbeing: Te Mauri Primatisiwin.  In 2017 she was guest editor of a special edition of Australian Psychologist Journal on Indigenous Psychology, and in 2016 was a guest co-editor of a special edition of Advances in Mental Health, Promotion, Prevention and Early Intervention special issue on mental health services and suicide prevention strategies for Indigenous people. 

Prior to 2009, when Professor Dudgeon joined the research community at The University of Western Australia, she held a senior educational leadership position as Head of the Centre for Aboriginal Studies at Curtin University. Despite the onerous management duties this entailed, during this 17-year period Professor Dudgeon published regularly on important Indigenous topics in a range of publications.

 

Education/Academic qualification

Doctorate of Philosophy in Psychology , Murdoch University

Award Date: 18 Jun 2008

Research expertise keywords

  • Indigenous higher education
  • Indigenous mental health and psychology
  • Indigenous women
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide prevention
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social and emotional wellbeing
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledges

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