Professor Pat Dudgeon

Pat Dudgeon

Professor Pat Dudgeon is from the Bardi people of the Kimberley in Western Australia. She was the first Aboriginal psychologist to graduate in Australia and has made outstanding contributions to Indigenous psychology and higher education.

Pat was inaugural Chair of the Australian Indigenous Psychologist's Association. 

Pat is a Commissioner Australian National Mental Health Commission

Research Professor and Project Leader, ARC Discovery Indigenous Grant,
The School of Indigenous Studies. University of Western Australia.

Chief Investigator on NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing and Honorary Research Fellow, Telethon Institute for Child Health Research. University of Western Australia.



Professor Pat Dudgeon, BAppSc. GDip (Psych). PhD. FAPS.


Pat was the Head of the Centre for Aboriginal Studies at Curtin University for 19 years, leading the field in providing culturally appropriate education. As well as leadership in Indigenous higher education, she has had significant involvement in psychology and Indigenous issues for many years. Pat is considered one of the 'founding' people in Indigenous psychology.

She is actively involved with the Aboriginal community, having an ongoing commitment to social justice for Indigenous people. Pat has participated in numerous state and national committees, councils, task groups and community service activities. Of significance, she was a member of the Parole Board of Western Australia for several years. Pat Dudgeon has always worked in ways that empower and develop other Indigenous people.

Current Projects

Chief Investigator. 2012-2015 ARC (Indigenous Discovery) Cultural Continuity and Change: Indigenous Solutions to Mental Health Issues. The School of Indigenous Studies, University of Western Australia.

This Project is to develop Aboriginal understandings for improved social and emotional wellbeing in the Aboriginal communities of Broome and Perth. Concepts of cultural continuity and social and emotional wellbeing will be compared and validated by the Aboriginal communities of Perth and Broome through a series of focus groups and community meetings. Indigenous mental health statistics are of grave concern and different approaches that encompass locally derived Aboriginal knowledges and how these can be actioned are essential. The outcomes of this research will inform programs, services and policy to better meet the mental health needs of Indigenous people.

Chief Investigator. 2010-2014 NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence Grant. Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing: From Marginalised to Empowered:Transformative Methods for Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing. Telethon Institute of Child Health Research, Perth Western Australia.


Editorial revision of Working Together book. Pat Dudgeon, Helen Milroy and Roz Walker.

The first edition of Working Together Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health and Wellbeing Principals and Practice has been distributed. The widespread and ongoing dissemination of the book has been and continues to be a key strategy to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander specific initiatives of the COAG mental health reform. Since it was published in July 2010, over 47,000 hard copies of the book have been distributed to a broad range of target audiences. The feedback and evaluation since its introduction confirms that Working Together is an important and effective resource for a range of relevant health, allied health practitioners and educators; other professionals who have front line involvement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people experiencing mental health issues; and, agencies supporting and working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait peoples in mental health and wellbeing. Formal evaluations have been undertaken and the second edition has been completed and is ready for publication.


Research Node Leader. National Indigenous Research and Knowledges Network (NIRAKN). The Queensland University of Technology.

This is a national, multidisciplinary network of Indigenous researchers from various universities. It is a multidisciplinary hub and spokes model network of Indigenous researchers at various stages of their career from over 20 collaborating universities, including AIATSIS. The aim of the network is to establish a coterie of skilled, qualified Indigenous researchers, creating pathways from undergraduate to postgraduate studies to establish a regenerative pipeline of new researchers, across institutions and fields of critical research importance. The network will provide a platform for new Indigenous multi-disciplinary research and the establishment of a critical mass of multi-disciplinary, qualified Indigenous researchers to meet the compelling research needs of our communities.  Commenced 2013.


Project Leader. Community Consultation and Developing an Innovative, Culturally Responsive Leadership, Empowerment and Healing Program for Aboriginal People Living in the Kimberley Region Western Australia. Intially funded by the commonwealth, this project is now in development and delivery stages and is now funded by the state government through the Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services Council. Completed with publication of Hear Our Voices and has been extended to the national project below.


Project Leader. The National Empowerment Project: A commonwealth grant to roll out the project nationally has been awarded to UWA. Eights sites will undertake consultations and develop local empowerment, healing and leadership programs.  She is currently the project leader of this national project. This year, a further grant was made available to continue the Project and include new sites. 


Current Committee Memberships

Commissioner: National Mental Health Commission.

Co Chair with Dr Tom Calma: Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Advisory Group reporting to Minister for Mental Health.

Deputy Chair and Founding Chair/Member: Australian Indigenous Psychologist Association (AIPA).

Co Chair: Australian Psychological Society, Reconciliation Action Plan.

Member: Australian Psychological Society Training Institute.

Board Director: Derbarl Yerrigan Health Services, Perth.

Board Director: Marr Mooditj Aboriginal Health Training, Perth.

Member: Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Management Committee, Headspace National Youth Mental Health Foundation Ltd.

Consultant: Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet.


A list of Pat's most recent publications can be found at: