The UWA Aboriginal Ageing Well Research team conduct health and wellbeing research for older Aboriginal Australians, at the School of Medicine, University of WA. This team is led by Dr Kate Smith. This is a multi-centre collaboration with the Centre for Aboriginal Medical and Dental Health (Director Prof Dawn Bessarab) and WA Centre for Healthy Ageing (Director Prof Leon Flicker), with partners Uni Melbourne (Assoc Prof Dina LoGiudice), James Cook University (Dr Edward Strivens), and Aboriginal health services (including Derbarl Yerrigan, Moorditj Koort, GRAMS and KAMS), aged care services and Aboriginal communities.


Dementia prevention and risk Management Program for Aboriginal Australians (DAMPAA)

Dementia is highly prevalent in older Aboriginal people (3-5 times that of non-Aboriginal people). The DAMPAA project (Dementia prevention and risk Management Program for Aboriginal Australians) aims to produce a Aboriginal Health Practitioner (AHP) coordinated program to reduce cognitive decline in Aboriginal people aged 45 years and over who are at risk of dementia. It is being evaluated through a randomised controlled trial at three WA Aboriginal community controlled health services and targets key dementia risk factors (including physical inactivity, falls, head injury, cardiovascular factors) for Aboriginal people. We are looking for participants to be involved in this study. This project runs from 2018-2023.

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Good Spirit Good Life (GSGL)

Previously there was no existing quality of life assessment for older Indigenous people in Australia or internationally. The Good Spirit Good Life Project was funded to develop such a tool. This involved identifying what quality of life means to older Aboriginal people, and developing and validating the Good Spirit Good Life package of resources (assessment tool, framework and instruction booklet). This package was developed for use by health and aged care services to identify and enhance the quality of life of older Aboriginal Australians, and to evaluate the success of strategies. It was developed with Aboriginal elders and service providers in Perth and Melbourne. The Good Spirit Good Life package will be launched at UWA end of April 2020, and will be freely available on this site at that time.

The GSGL package can be freely downloaded in the members section of this site.


We would appreciate it if you would credit the UWA Centre for Aboriginal Medical and Dental Health when you use this tool. Any updates to the GSGL package will be made on this site.


Kimberley Indigenous Cognitive Assessment (KICA)

The Kimberley Indigenous Cognitive Assessment was developed and validated by the Aboriginal Ageing Well Team in partnership with Aboriginal communities and services in response to the need for a cognitive screening tool for dementia in older Indigenous Australians (45 years plus).  The KICA tool comprises of a number of sections, including a valid cognitive assessment, depression scale, and carer report. The KICA tool is now widely used across Australia (urban/regional, Torres Strait Islander, and original remote version available), is incorporated into health and aged care practice, and has been adapted for use with other Indigenous peoples internationally in collaboration with the Aboriginal Ageing Well team.


The KICA can be freely downloaded in the members section of this site.


We would appreciate it if you would credit the UWA WA Centre for Health & Ageing when you use this tool. Any updates to the KICA will be made on this site.


Healthy Ageing in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Populations (HATS)

Defining and predicting Healthy Ageing in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Populations (HATS) project aim is to deliver a framework of healthy ageing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations. We will do this using a community-directed care approach that will take into account the importance of Inner Spirit and connection to community, family and Country.  The framework will be used to directly inform policy, practice and the implementation of enabling and preventative strategies to address the still present gap in average life expectancy and high burden of disease within this population. The project will ensure culturally safe decision making throughout the duration of the program via extensive consultation and collaboration with community councils and elders.

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Other Research Collaborations

We collaborate on research projects with the International Indigenous Dementia Research Network with researchers from Canada, Australia, Brazil, USA and NZ. We also coordinate the WA sites and staff for four other Aboriginal Ageing projects with collaborating institutions:

  • Let’s CHAT (Community Health Approaches To) Dementia in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities: A national project partnership between the University of Melbourne, UWA, James Cook University, Neuroscience Research Australia and 12 Aboriginal Community-controlled Health Services to develop and implement a best-practice model of care for cognitive impairment and dementia in Indigenous primary care.

  • Dementia Risk Reduction project: A James Cook University study to reduce dementia risk in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. This project will use a Participatory Action Research approach to enable communities to identify and prioritise dementia risk reduction strategies/potential risk and protective factors. Using a Continuous Quality Improvement Framework, primary health care centres will address modifiable dementia risk factors identified to change practice and systems through the development of culturally appropriate interventions.   

  • HART: A framework for Healthy Ageing in the Torres Strait: A James Cook University project developing a healthy ageing framework for Torres Strait Islander communities.